VITAMIN C In Your Skincare Routine: Brightening, Hyperpigmentation & Clear Skin
Hey guys, it’s Felicia, and Rowena! So welcome back to our third series of A, B and C’s of skincare. (*both singing*) A, B, C, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3! In our previous episodes, we’ve covered vitamin A, otherwise known as retinol or retinoids, vitamin B3 known as niacinamide, and today, you guessed it! We’re on that vitamin C! So vitamin C is one of those cult favorite ingredients, but has made a name for itself in the skincare world to be a little hard to work with because of its, unstable nature.
Maybe like that unstable, sensitive friend that you might have. But when you probably figure out how to, use or incorporate it into your skincare routine. It can completely, brighten, lighten and protect your entire face and skin from premature signs of aging.
So, today we’re going to explore what is vitamin C. How does it help with restrain collagen, increasing brightness and more? What are the different types of vitamin C and its derivatives? The best ways to incorporate it into our skincare routines.
Skincare ingredients that work best with vitamin C. Debunking a popular myth. And, of course, product recommendations for your specific skin type. 🙂 So, let’s jump into what is vitamin C. So when we think of vitamin C, most often We just think of like oranges or any kind of citrus fruits.
(Grapefruit my favorite!) *laughs* As well as an ingredient in our favorite serums or moisturizers But let’s explore it a little more because there are so many, different forms that they actually appear in.
First of all, vitamin C in its purest form is also known as Ascorbic or L-Ascorbic acid. It’s a naturally occurring nutrient in our bodies. And we need it to function normally to repair itself and restore tissue in our bodies.
Vitamin C also helps our body produce protein, and it’s recommended to help fight colds when we feel a little under the weather. Felicia: When it’s sniffles time. 🙂 Vitamin C is water soluble which means that our body, doesn’t actually produce or store it, but when we consume it, it’s completely absorbed in the small intestine during digestion.
And it also helps to absorb other nutrients that we consume in the body. So you’ll find a lot of vitamin C in fermented foods, in raw fruits and veggies, like citrus fruits, spinach, yellow peppers, strawberries, brussel sprouts, black currants, kiwi, guava.
Rowena: I’m hungry 😀 So, there’s a lot of things but when we apply vitamin C to our skin topically in you know, our skin care products, that’s when things start to get a little interesting! So, first of all, What is vitamin C even good for? Vitamin C is well known for its ability to brighten the skin tone, even out skin texture and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
It’s also known as the MVP of protecting the skin against free radicals and UV ray damage, from the sun because of its high levels of antioxidants. On top of that, it’s involved in helping the skin produce collagen and, Elastin in the dermis layer of the skin, which are two of the most important factors, for maintaining bouncy, soft and youthful looking skin.
But even with all the studies and raving reviews that you see everywhere about vitamin C, many dermatologists acknowledge that vitamin C helps with radiant skin, but other ones, such as Dr. Dray, argue that there’s a lack of evidence to actually determine whether the amount of Vitamin C, used to formulate the serums is able to be completely absorbed into the skin and, whether or not it actually shows promising results because of its unstable nature.
How does vitamin C work in our skin? Collagen and elastin both lie in the dermis layer as proteins that give structure to our skin. While elastin keeps the skin firm, bouncy and retain its shape, collagen acts as the glue that binds the cells together.
And what vitamin C does is interact with the amino acids, within the collagen cells and adds hydrogen and also oxygen to boost the collagen production. So, it’s kind of like a booster shot to the skin system to regenerate and, you know, give that healthy glow, healthy skin.
So, it’s just like instead of the downward spiral of skincare, it’s an upward! Yay! So, now that we know how vitamin C works, let’s dive into the many different types of vitamin C we can use for our skin.
As we said before vitamin C actually comes in pure and derivative forms, and depending on different products, you’ll see different types. So, let’s first take a look at vitamin C and it’s purest form.
Felicia: *whispers* Pure! Purest! So it’s also known as Ascorbic Acid or L-Ascorbic Acid. So these two terms are kind of interchangeable and it just refers to the strongest and purest form of vitamin C.
This means that it’s the only form that your body can actually recognize and utilize right away. Kind of like with vitamin A, how there’s retinoic acid and if you use retinol, it has to turn into a retinoic acid, you know, it’s like a two-step.
So this is PURE. Because it’s super concentrated and potent, it means that it works almost immediately to bring all the benefits, we mentioned of lightening, brightening, boosting collagen, fending off free radicals, etc into the skin.
But the downside of Ascorbic Acid and L- Ascorbic Acid is that they’re very, unstable ingredients unlike our retinol and niacinamide buddies. What unstable means is that the ingredient itself is very sensitive, it can change very easily depending on temperature, light, air in the environment.
This means it’s much more likely to oxidize, change in color and turn in consistency. Basically, go bad quickly compared to things like vitamin A, retinols and niacinamide, which is super stable. This is part of the reason why you’ll hear that vitamin C is hard to use.
What are the vitamin C derivatives and how do they work? Because of its instability that we said before no one wants to deal with unstable things. Formulators and scientists behind a lot of different skincare brands have developed more stable forms of vitamin C known as derivatives.
So this just means that because it isn’t the pure form, it won’t go bad as easily when formulated with other ingredients in the product. But it also won’t cause things like inflammation when used in your skincare routine because we have so many different products.
And this inflammation can be a result of using the pure ascorbic form of vitamin C. When derivatives are absorbed into the skin the body breaks down the derivative into ascorbic acid Which can then act to function just like the actual antioxidant.
And with that being said, it’s once again less irritating to those of you with sensitive skin, or for those of you who haven’t used any sort of vitamin C. Derivatives can also come in oil and water-soluble forms.
Now that we know this, there are actually a lot of different vitamin C Derivatives used in popular skincare products. Let’s look at three common examples and where we can find them. So one of the many forms of vitamin C Derivatives includes the Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, otherwise known as THD, just for sanity’s sake.
And this is known to be the gold standard form of vitamin c derivative, because THD is known for its skin brightening and hyperpigmentation lightening properties. It also has fatty acid components that make it oil-soluble and it helps to penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin It’s also oxygen stable which means when the ingredients in the product are exposed to air, it won’t go bad THD is found in many oil serums as well as moisturizers and often gives the product a creamy texture with Moisturizing properties for the skin.
So it works really well with people who have dry skin or for spot treatments to target hyperpigmentation or melasma, But also with most other skin types. So you can find this derivative in products like the Biossance Squalane and Vitamin C Rose Oil.
This contains THD as well as sugar cane squalane to hydrate the skin, rose extract that also helps to soothe and even out skin tone. There’s also the Supergoop Antioxidant- Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 This is a mist that contains a bunch of citrus extracts and oils as well as the THD derivative.
And one that we’ve both tried is the Sunday Riley CEO Cream with 5% THD ascorbate. This moisturizer is powerful at fighting the first visible signs of aging and restoring vital skin radiance. Felicia: It’s definitely rich and a little bit greasy but not really greasy.
(Rowena: It’s not like overwhelmingly so where you can’t handle for oily skin.) Yeah, so it like helps with hydration and gives you the antioxidant protection to the skin. Another derivative is Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or MAP.
This is a water-soluble and stable form of ascorbic acid. MAP is known to increase hydration levels as well as brighten and sooth an even skin tone. The texture for this ingredient resembles a cream and it’s good for moisturizers, although it does come in serum form as well because vitamin C is actually very popular in serum form.
And some examples of this derivative comes in The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate Solution 10% but also contains Omega-6 and 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin A and E. It’s also high in linoleic acid so it should work really well for those with oily or clogged pores.
And after researching this I’m definitely gonna try this one because your girl has clogged pores and has oily skin. There’s also the Osea Vitamin C serum. Although it is further down the list in the ingredients because I guess it’s a hyaluronic serum mainly aimed for hydration and moisture, and in terms of brightening it also contains a small amount of turmeric extract.
And another derivative you’ll most often seen a lot of products is a Ascorbyl Glucoside. This is also a water-soluble derivative, and it’s recommended to pair Ascorbyl Glucoside with vitamin B or niacinamide for the best results.
And examples where you’ll see this derivative is The Ordinary again because they just seem to have every ingredient, and derivative under the sun. The Ordinary has an Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%, Skin Inc.
Supplement Bar Vitamin C Serum, First Aid Beauty Hello Fab, Ginger and Turmeric Vitamin C Jelly Mask, which is something that I just put on two days ago. Rowena: And how was it? Felicia: It was good! It’s a very pleasing mask and the texture is very light very much like jelly and it is slightly brightening because it also has turmeric.
Now those are just three examples of vitamin C derivatives where many products fall under but there are actually quite a lot more. Like the one we see in Tatcha’s most recent Violet – C, The one in that beautiful purple-orange sunset dusk packaging.
So that one is a brightening serum which contains 20% Bis-Glyceryl Ascorbate, which is another vitamin C derivative and this acts like vitamin C to brighten and protect with high levels of antioxidants, but Tatcha also includes 10% AHA from fruit extracts to gently exfoliate and reveal new skin so that it’s also naturally brighter.
And the OleHenriksen contains ascorbic acid as well as another vitamin C derivative called 3 – O ethyl ascorbic acid which helps brighten the skin through reducing melanin production. And this derivative also works to stabilize that ascorbic acid which we know is rather unstable.
Yeah, so that one melanin just is in control with producing hyperpigmentation, dark spots, you know sunspots and things like that. So how to use vitamin C in your skincare routine? Good news is vitamin C is not as intimidating to use as vitamin A aka retinols, Because the majority of us can experience its benefit, so it’s not like you have to be of a certain age or specific skin type to use.
Because we all want to look bright and sparkly, right? like Edward Cullen? So if you are a newbie to using vitamin C products in general, you’re going to want to start off, kind of like with a chemical exfoliant, right? You want to start with the lowest percentage or concentration of products with ascorbic or l-ascorbic acid to avoid irritation.
If you’re still a little hesitant because you don’t know if your skin will like it, start off trying a product that contains one of the derivatives we mentioned before as it’s much less irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.
And vitamin C boosters, like we mentioned, are also a great option because then you can just concoct and mix to your own desire. Then once you know what your skin reacts well with and you see subtle changes, then you can start working your way up the percentage level, and perhaps consider going for a product that contains 10 to 15 or even 20% of ascorbic acid, but keep in mind these levels are pretty potent.
So now, are you wondering, “Does it work better during the day or the night?” The answer is both!! But we would recommend using it during the day with a sunscreen because of the Antioxidant properties and the ability to fight off free radicals, and prevent sun damage from UV rays during the day.
So it’s essentially an armour on your skin during the day. But if you do prefer it at night, or there’s vitamin C products that are designed to use at night, this is also fine, because the skin and the body during the night time is in recovery and repair mode.
So if you have a serum with a high concentration of L-ascorbic acid given that it’s tolerable to your skin, of course. This is a great opportunity to help the skin replenish and rejuvenate itself while you catch some sleep.
(*sleep gesture*) While the day allows the vitamin C serum to act as a shield, the night allows the serum to reverse the damage of your skin from the day’s work. This brings us on to what other ingredients does it work well with.
Like with other ingredients, vitamin C actually works well with niacinamide, Vitamin E, Ferulic acid which is a plant-based antioxidant. And Ferulic acid is actually highly recommended for bringing out all of the goodness of vitamin C like delivering more antioxidants to the skin and speeding up vitamin C’s effects on the skin.
And vitamin E works really well with vitamin C, which is why you will see them paired together very often in products. (Felicia: They’re best friends! Rowena: Yay!) And if you choose to incorporate niacinamide, it shouldn’t be a major problem, unless of course you are using pure vitamin c serum with a really high concentration of like 20%.
Then your skin will most likely become irritated, because it is also so high in terms of pure vitamin C but keep in mind that everyone’s skin tolerates up to you know a differing degree of percentage.
So definitely do your research, do your patch test, and stop as soon as you see any sort of irritation. Felicia: Now… products! What you love! What we like to buy!! Rowena: Yay! Felicia: I have only used a few because back in the day actually reacted negatively towards vitamin C and it was only recently that I started like slowly incorporating it again.
Because I have very tanned skin, so it’s not like going to brighten. Rowena: Or like remove freckles for me. Felicia: Yeah, I won’t remove freckles… Rowena: You don’t have them to begin with. Felicia: Yeah, well, I kind of do but you don’t see [them like you do on you].
So one that I want to mention is the Paula’s Choice vitamin C15 Booster So this one has 15% L-ascorbic acid as well as vitamin E, Ferulic acid and peptides What I love about these boosters because they have a whole range.
.. I like that you can kind of customize it into what you want to boost. So you can like add it into your serum make it like a hyaluronic vitamin C’s concoction. Rowerna: Niacinamide… Felicia: Yeah! Or you can add it into your moisturizer.
So like depending on which step of the routine you feel comfortable with, you can you know decide on that yourself. But then you can also decide on the amount. It can be like one drop, which is tiny a little bit, or Three drops if you feel comfortable.
Rowena: (*mimics squeezing dropper*) Or like the whole tube… Felicia: Yeah… I’ve never tried that. That would be a little bit scary Another product that we’ve both tried. (to Rowena) Probably you can talk about this, is the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum Rowena: It’s great for a dry mature skin and has 15% l-ascorbic acid, 1.
5% Ferulic acid, 1% vitamin E. I think like when I used it consistently every single morning like a year ago, it worked beautifully. Felicia: Really? Rowena: Yeah, and then I stopped for a few months and I went back to it to finish because I was like Oh, Is vitamin C, it’ll go bad, I need to finish it.
That also worked really well. But then when I went back to it, maybe a few months ago, it didn’t really do much, so I stopped using it. When you first used it, was it already that orangey color? I don’t know if it was formulated that way.
.. I think in the very beginning it’s like a light oil. It’s kind of like a light oil texture. And then as you use it, you can start seeing little specks of more oranjey things in there. Felicia: Okay.
Rowena: And then at the end which will show you guys in the b-roll, if it goes bad, it’s just straight like Dark brown orange. Felicia: Yeah, and actually just to mention the ingredients of this one.
You always see vitamin C, and E, and ferulic acid. And we’re gonna explain why these ingredients actually work really well with Vitamin C If you guys are into CosRX, they also have a Triple C Lightning Liquid, which is good once again for dull skin and also hyperpigmentation, and any skin types who can tolerate a 20% of ascorbic acid.
Rowena: I feel like I want to try. Felicia: Yeah! And the good thing about CosRX is that they’re super affordable. As well as the pure ascorbic acid, it has 72% of black chokeberry and this ingredient helps to stabilize the high concentration of pure ascorbic acid.
That bottle is black, and vitamin C because it’s so unstable, which means air heat, light, anything will affect its stability, right? So the fact that it’s in this black bottle is definitely to help the longevity of it.
So another one that we have is the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum. And this one is completely it’s clear and watery and it’s great for sensitive and combination skin types. It’s also a really good vitamin C product for those of you who are starting out because it does have a lower percentage of L-ascorbic acid As well as really calming ingredients like centella asiatica extract, which is one of those like just soothing calming, reducing redness, as well as usual fruit extract.
Felicia: This one, I’ve also tried but also not long enough that like see results. I think with vitamin C. I’m very not dedicated to keeping it going. Rowena: I think it’s just a reflection also of our generations’ impatience, and how we want immediate results.
But another really popular and more like high level of ascorbic acid product is the Timeless 20% vitamin C and E, ferulic acid serum that you can get on Amazon. Super inexpensive and it’s great for mature skin as well as just any skin that tolerates 20% This product is also much lower on the pH level because vitamin C products normally range around the 3 pH level, This one is 2.
4, which means that 1: It’s very unstable, it’ll probably only last you up to three months before it starts to like decompose in the way that vitamin C does. But it can also be quite irritating, because of the low pH level, because it’s so acidic, and because of the high levels of ascorbic acid.
So just keep that in mind, if you are like a vitamin C lover guru, then this is also a good one. As well as that, Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% with the HA Spheres 2%. So this has 23% ascorbic acid powder.
It’s also got sodium hyaluronate. And the consistency is like a kind of heavy serum formula, because of the fact that they add powder vitamin C. But it also absorbs quite quickly. So that’s also an inexpensive option.
When will I see results after using Vitamin C in my routine? So results definitely vary from person to person. Vitamin C generally takes around two weeks or a month of daily use to see brightening benefits and about three months to see the benefits including tone improvement and collagen production.
Felicia: I would prefer using niacinamide. Because it is so much more stable, easier to use, it almost gives the same benefits, you know. It produces collagen, it helps even skin tone. It also helps minimize pores because it helps to control oil.
So all those things actually help me much better than vitamin C, and so like vitamin C is kind of just an add-on. So with like the ABCs you kind of just like pick and choose which one according to your own kind of needs We always hear vitamin C is not compatible with niacinamide.
So what’s the truth and the myth about this vitamin C pairing? The myth is vitamin C and niacinamide are a dangerous combination to use for our skin because the effects of both are going to cancel each other out, and also create nicotinic acid aka Niacin, which can cause redness and tingling to the skin.
Actually the combination of vitamin C and niacinamide is perfectly safe. It’s like a sinergy, because they both boost each other’s ability to brighten and protect the skin, and also fend off from free radicals and harmful UV rays.
These claims are actually made back in the day and we’re talking like nineteen sixties of when skincare researchers and product developers were working with very Unstable forms of vitamin C and the pure forms in an isolated and a controlled environment so basically the form of ascorbic acid they were dealing with was nowhere near close to what we have today in the products that we see today which are actually designed and formulated to be used in conjunction with other ingredients.
Of course, just test it out on your own skin. See if there’s any tingling, redness and if it is a high level of pure ascorbic acid, then maybe skip out niacinamide. Very easy. Just use one at day one at night.
So that was our comprehensive round up of vitamin C. This concludes our ABC’s of vitamins, which is actually pretty exciting because these are the most probably well researched ingredients, would you call it? Or nutrients? That we can ingest but also apply topically, and they kind of work in different ways.
Felicia: Let us know if vitamin C works for you guys… Rowena: And how you use it. And when do you see the most benefits? Felicia: Yeah, and like what age range you felt like it was most useful. Because we’re also curious.
Ya know? But don’t go anywhere because we also have the most hyped products playlist, helping you guys figure out which ones are actually worth it. Our basic skincare… If you have any questions, we’ve probably made a video about it.
So make sure you check that out! It will be here on the screen soon. Rowena: And there’s a lot more to come so stay tuned and don’t go anywhere. Felicia: (*sings) Don’t go anywhereeee… Rowena: You can just go home and wash your face.
Felicia: They’re probably at home anyway~ Rowena: And, we’ll see you next week. Bye!!!