To Vitamin C or not to Vitamin C?
Updated: Jun 27
By now most people have heard of the benefits of vitamin C or at least know that it’s a common skin care ingredient that’s getting a lot of attention, but should you be using it and what does it actually do?
Vitamin C is a natural skin component that has been found in both the dermis and epidermis.
The level of this antioxidant found in the skin can be affected by excessive exposure to UV light and external aggressors such a smoke or pollution.
Vitamin C in the skin is normally transported through the blood stream and therefor eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables containing vitamin C is important for skin health. Having said that it’s important to note that we can also boost the levels of Vitamin C through topical application.
With that being said there’s challenges that we face relying on absorption through skin as an effective delivery method. Like all topicals, the biggest obstacle is the skin’s stratum corneum (the outer protective layer of the epidermis). I have mentioned in previous blogs posts, but will mention again that if skin is not properly cared for through cleansing and exfoliation the stratum corner can thicken with dead cells and will not only create or aid in other skin issues like acne, dryness, dull skin, aging it will prevent topicals like Vitamin C from being properly being absorbed into skin. The best way to prevent this, is a proper cleansing protocol tailored to your skin type that will aid in cellular turnover and reduction of the dead skin cell sitting on top of the skin blocking topicals from absorbing. Proper cleansing also clears away excess sebum—another major contributor to poor skin health.
The other consideration when choosing a Vitamin C serum is the packaging and delivery system. This is a tricky and often overlooked aspect, but is actually very important. Vitamin C is unstable—like really unstable—Heat, light, air, water all lead to the oxidization of the ingredient—leaving it ineffective by the time its reaches your skin. So, those bottles of Vitamin C that are being opened and shut, exposing it to light and air, or that Vitamin C that’s combined with water in your daily hydrator may be effective for for a short period of time, but will very quickly become ineffective. The tricky part is creating a delivery system without water because Vitamin C actually needs water to become active—so how does that work you ask? Well the ever wise Dr. Obagi has found a way, but using a virtually waterless deliver system with micro-encapsulated Vitamin C in a silicone containing medium. To make things even better he has packaged it in an opaque tube with an airless pump to protect against air and light. This means that you are receiving full strength Vitamin C applied directly to the skin that remains inactive until it binds to the water in your own skin. The water in you skin activates the Vitamin C, while the silicone medium creates a semi-occlusive film on the skin allowing for maximum penetration and absorption of the highly active vitamin directly into the tissue.
Okay so that was a lot of talk about the process, but what does Vitamin C actually do for your skin?
Well it does lots! Lets take a look at some of the benefits:
It helps prevent sun damage When you skin is exposed to sunlight the harmful components of the sun-UV rays are absorbed into the skin and breakdown collagen and create inflammation. While the breakdown of collagen and lead to premature aging the inflammation from the sun can create melasma, sunspots or pigmentation, and even skin cancer. Although Vitamin C cannot be used in place of sunscreen as doesn’t protect skin from the suns harmful rays in the same way sunscreen does, it has been found to neutralize free radicals and reduces inflammation, minimizing some of these harmful effects.
Vitamin C keeps skin strong and firm as it activates fibroblasts to form new collagen and more collagen means slower aging and healthier, plumper looking skin!
It can aid in the skins healing process, skin injuries such as burns or cuts require Vitamin C to repair this damage. Ensuring that you are getting adequate vitamin c delivery may not speed this process but will allow the healing process to take place with a delay in healing.
Vitamin C can brighten skin and even out tone, The L-ascorbic acid form of Vitamin C has also been shown to interrupt the overproduction of pigment, called melanin. This means that over time it can help lighten brown spots, aka hyper-pigmentation. Although Vitamin C is less effective than some other skin-lightening ingredients, like hydroquinone, it’s can act as an alternative for skin that cannot tolerate hydroquinone.
I just want to note that although I love Vitamin C and think its benefits are amazing, it may not be right for everyone. As Vitamin C is sensitive to air light and water it is often developed using silicones or oil as part of the delivery system. This in combination with the activity stimulated by the vitamin can sometimes be found to exacerbate acne in some people. I also want to mention that not all Vitamin C products are created the same will not all work as effectively as one another.
At Skin Worthy, we value educating our patients on their skin concerns, if you are looking to add Vitamin C to your routine or would like to learn more, we encourage you to come in for a complimentary consultation. We will discuss your goals, assess your skin and decide the best plan of action for your specific needs.
call Skin Worthy 647-350-7546 to book your consultation today!
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