Vitamin C Benefits For The Skin — All You Need To Know About Vitamin C

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No doubt, Vitamin C still stands as the holy grail of skin-care ingredients.
Vitamin C is one powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, brightens the complexion and improves overall skin texture. Infact, it is one of the most popular antioxidants in the skincare beauty industry.


Keep reading to know more about vitamin C benefits for the skin and why it is indeed the holy grail of skin-care ingredients.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C popularly known as L-ascorbic acid and ascorbate is a very important vitamin found in various foods.
It is an essential vitamin, meaning it can’t be produced by the body. Nevertheless, it has many roles in our body and has been linked to impressive health benefits.

Vitamin C is a very potent and effective anti-aging vitamin. When used topically on the skin, it fights skin aging signs such as wrinkles, and fine lines, boosts collagen production and also even out skintone, making it look more toned and brighter. The best way to enjoy the skin benefits of vitamin C is to use a well formulated vitamin C product.
Infact, vitamin C is a must have in every skincare routine.

How is Vitamin C Derived?

Vitamin C is derived from fruits (especially citrus fruits), example: orange, which has about 100 – 150 mg of vitamin C which makes it one of the rich source of vitamin C.

How Does Vitamin C Work?

In the world of vitamins, vitamin C remains one of the most important and essential vitamin to the body.
Vitamin C, works as an antioxidant that reduces damages due to ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure, such as hyperpigmentation, aging, and sunburn.

When topically applied on the skin, vitamin C inhibits an enzyme that makes the skin pigment, (melanin). As a result, it can brighten and even out skin tone, which may be helpful for hyperpigmentation disorders such as melasma, dark patches, and dark spots.

Forms of Vitamin C.

It’s interesting to let you know that, vitamin C comes in different forms. We all are very familiar with “L-acorbic acid” as a form of vitamin C, but there are other forms of vitamin C too.

  • L-ascorbic Acid: This is the most potent form of vitamin C, popularly used in so many skincare products. The downside is, it’s less stable which means it can easily go bad or degrade, especially when exposed to direct sunlight, heat and air or when it stays for a very long time on the shelf. L-ascorbic acid can also cause some minimal irritation to sensitive skin because of its acidic nature, so it’s advised to do a patch test before using L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C.
  • Ascorbyle Palmitate: This is a form of vitamin C that is more stable compared to L-ascorbic acid. This form of vitamin C is mostly used in oil based skincare products, but not very potent like L-ascorbic acid, but does the job by fighting aging signs, free radicals, fine lines hyperpigmentation and repairs damaged skin.
  • Ascorbyl Glucoside: A stable form of Vitamin C which is water–soluble and it’s mostly used for its skin brightening and antioxidant properties.
  • Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate: This is a Fat–soluble form of Vitamin C, meaning it can dissolve in fats or oils. It’s highly stable and penetrates deeply into the skin (more than other forms of vitamin C). 
  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate: Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is also an oil-soluble and a very stable form of vitamin C. Similar to ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (except for the difference in molecular structure). Although they have the same number of elements. but are arranged differently.
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate: This is a non-exfoliating, stable & water-soluble derivative of Vitamin C, meaning it remains stable and does not degrade over time.
  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate: This is the most stable and water-soluble form of vitamin C, which is very gentle and mild on the skin, causes no irritations, it converts to ascorbic acid when it absorbed into the skin. This form of vitamin C is very effective and very potent in combating age spots, fine lines, free radicals. It also brightens the skin, making it glow, shine and youthful.
  • Ethyl Ascorbic Acid: A newly derived vitamin C derivative, also known as 3-O-Ethyl-L-ascorbic acid where L-ascorbic acid is combined with an Ethyl group molecule, bound to the third carbon position. Which makes this vitamin C derivative gentle on the skin, very stable and soluble in both water and oil.

How Does Vitamin C Benefits The Skin?

Vitamin C benefits the skin in the following areas:

  • Protects Against Environmental Stressors: As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C’s main function is protecting the skin from eviromental aggressors like ultraviolet light and pollution which creates free radicals in the skin.
    Free radicals are inherently unstable molecules that damage cells, promoting skin dullness, wrinkles, and even cancers. By scavenging these free radicals, vitamin C protects the skin, keeping it healthy and improving visible signs of aging.
  • Enhances collagen production: Collagen gives your skin its firm structure and texture, when collagen production level depletes, it becomes a problem — which gives room to skin aging signs like wrinkles, fine lines and saggy skin.
    Vitamin C helps promotes collagen production by enhancing fibroblast (the cell that creates collagen) to produce more collagen which in turn promotes skin elasticity and firmness.
  • Lightens Discoloration: Vitamin C not only enhances your skin’s appearance by brightening your complexion but also target and fades off hyperpigmentation such as brown spots, dark spots, sun spots and even acne scars by blocking the pathway of pigment synthesis.

Side Effects Of Vitamin C.

Generally, vitamin C is considered safe for everyday use. However, in high concentrations, it can be irritating, especially if mixed with other acids.
Depending on your skin type, individuals with extreme sensitive skin may not tolerate the “L-acorbic” form of vitamin C due to its acidic nature which can possibly aggravate the occurrence of irritations such as reddness, dryness, stinging and increase sensitivity.

If you’re one of those with extreme-sensitive skin, it’s recommend you should stick with “Sodium ascorbyl phosphate” form of vitamin C, which is very gentle and mild on the skin.
Many vitamin C products are oily which can also be problematic for people with oily and acne prone skin. It is highly recommend you consult your board-certified dermatologist to find a brand or product that is best suited for your skin type. 

Does Vitamin C Work With Other Ingredients?

Vitamin C works great and even more effectively with other ingredients, such as: Retinol, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic acid, Aleo vera, Ferulic, Stem, Peptides, These goodies in combination with vitamin C will give you a better and more effective treatment.

Most vitamin C products contains vitamin E and ferulic acid, because vitamin E stabilizes vitamin C for maximum skin protection. Ferlulic acid helps lower the pH level of vitamin C to below 3.5 percent so your skin can easily slurp up the cocktail. Another antioxidant called glutathione also is a good pal to vitamin C.

Hyaluronic acid being a humectant and popularly known as the “Moisture magnet” is mostly Included into vitamin C formulation to supply intense moisture to the skin preventing your skin from drying out. Hyaluronic acid is also an anti-aging treatment too, as it reduces fine lines and wrinkles. It works perfectly well with vitamin C to offer the skin the best anti-aging treatment.

Does Concentration Matters In Vitamin C Products?

When it comes to choosing vitamin C products concentration really matters.
It’s really important to choose the right percentage. Infact when it comes to vitamin C products, the percentage really matters as it determines the overall potency and effectiveness of the product.
Dermatologists recommend choosing vitamin C serums with the percentage between 10 to 20.

10% vitamin C serum should be the minimum while 20% should be the maximum as going below 10% may not render adequate results, and going higer than 20% could lead to irritation, it doesn’t increase its benefits.
When choosing vitamin C serum we recommend these percentages below:

  • 10% (minimum).
  • 15% (Average).
  • 20% (maximum).

Vitamin C and Retinoids.

Combining Vitamin C with Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) may seem to be a more effective way to drastically keep skin aging signs at bay, but mind you, this may aggravate the occurrence of irritations.

As regards to L-acorbic being acidic in nature, layering L-acorbic form of vitamin C together with retinoids can cause severe irritation and sensitivity. Therefore, if you must pair vitamin C with retinoids opt for non-acidic form of vitamin C like Sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is known for its mildness.

However, If you must use retinoids and L-ascorbic acid at the same time, separate them by 30 minutes intervals. Apply your vitamin C (L-acorbic acid) first, since it has the lower pH of the two. Then, wait half an hour before you apply your retinoids. Then finish off with a moisturizer, to keep your skin hydrated.
This way, you can also enjoy the benefits of the two.

Retinol being the most popularly used over-the-counter retinoid can still be altered with L-acorbic vitamin C between your AM and PM routines. By applying vitamin C serum in the morning (AM), then apply Retinol serum/cream at night (PM). Then finish off with a moisturizer

How To Use Vitamin C Products.

Vitamin C products can be used daily, both AM and PM. All that matters is consistency. Ensure your apply vitamin C products on a cleansed skin and finish off with a moisture-rich moisturizer.

Best Vitamin C Products To Try Out.

L-acorbic Acid Form Of Vitamin C.

SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic.

Vitamin C benefits for the skin

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As meantioned above, vitamin E stabilizes vitamin C for maximum skin protection, while Ferlulic acid helps lower the pH level of vitamin C to below 3.5 percent so your skin can easily slurp up the cocktail, SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic which contains 15% L-acorbic form of vitamin C possesses all the potentials one can ever want in a vitamin C serum, as it features a synergistic antioxidant combination of pure vitamin C, ferulic acid and E to enhance your skin’s protection against environmental damage caused by free radicals, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and brightens your complexion.

Obagi Professional Vitamin C Serum.

Vitamin C benefits for the skin

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Another brand with reputability and trustability. Obagi Vitamin C serum is infused with 20% L-acorbic acid which penetrates deep into the skin to offers its antioxidant protection from UV damages, brightens away hyperpigmentation and encourages the growth of collagen and elastin fibers. It also contains hyaluronic acid which draws and retains moisture into the skin.

is Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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Contains 15% L-acorbic vitamin C in combination with Kojic acid and a low concentration of Retinol to target all kinds of hyperpigmentation and tackle all kinds of skin aging signs towards achieving that firm, glowing and radiant skin you’ve always craved for. However, this product may note be suitable for extra-sensitive skin.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate Form Of Vitamin C.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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A facial anti-aging treatment. Crafted with 15% Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate which is a Fat–soluble form of Vitamin C and very recommendable for people with oily skin. This vitamin C serum targets and fade away hyperpigmentation such as dark spots, sun spots, age spots, and acne scars. C.E.O 15% vitamin c serum also contains Glycolic acid for more optimum result which smoothen wrinkles and regenerate skin cells for a more youthful and radiant appearance.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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Here’s another C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C, this time with tumeric extract. Altogether this quick-absorbing vitamin C serum combines 15% Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate vitamin C with Tumeric, Pomegranate seed oil, Evening primrose oil, Ginger root extract and Bisabolol to give your skin that luminous-radiant boost that it deserves and reduces the appearance of aging signs such as wrinkles, fine lines, saggy-skin and promote skin elasticity and firmness.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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A facial anti-aging treatment that offers intense hydration to the skin. This moisture-rich moisturizer contains 5% Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate vitamin C to lighten away dark spots, prevents and repairs the visible signs of premature skin aging and brighten complexion. It also contains Tumeric which provides antioxidant support with Lime Pearl Extract a natural source of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) which mildly exfoliates the skin by sloughing off dead skin cells thereby enhacing vitamin C and other ingredients penetrate better into the skin to do their jobs.

Ascorbyl Glucoside Form Of Vitamin C.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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A 12% ascorbyl glucoside concentration in a serum formulation to offer antioxidant-benefits to the skin, brightens the skin tone and reduces signs of aging. This budget-friendly product comes in a UV-protective packaging to protect content from UV exposure.

The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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A product from The Inkey List brand, containing a whopping 15% ascorbyl glucoside to promote skin luminosity and improve skin texture, in combination with EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) which helps to stimulate skin cells to regenerate, producing rejuvenated, youthful skin.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Form Of Vitamin C.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate for skin

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This formula combines Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate — for antioxidants benefits, with Vitamin F — which is known to soothe some inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis as it helps to reduce inflammation as well as regulate healthy cell function, and excessive water loss. Also contains jojoba seed oil and squalane for increased skin hydration.

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate Form Of Vitamin C.

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum For Face.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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One of the best vitamin C serums with Sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Formulated with 20% vitamin C, alongside with vitamin E, aleo vera, MSM, witch hazel, jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid and other plant extracts, to get rid of skin aging signs such as; fine lines, wrinkles, dark aging spots. While it enhances the overall well being of the skin by brightening, firming and glowing the skin.

Natura Bisse C+C Vitamin Complex.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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A top notch vitamin C serum with Sodium ascorbyl phosphat form of vitamin C to tackle hyperpigmentation and skin aging signs, leaving your skin ridiculously radiant, plump with a youthful glow.
It contains Amino Acids and Rosa Mosqueta Oil which stimulates collagen synthesis and cell renewal to reduce wrinkles and support healing.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum.

Vitamin C benefits for skin

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Brighten, Tighten, and smoothen your skin with Mad Hippie 10% Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate vitamin C. This award-winning luxurious serum also contains hyaluronic acid to supply your skin with intense moisture, vitamin E a protective antioxidant which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration and Konjac root an Asian flower that softens and smoothens the skin.

You can see other vitamin C serums with Sodium ascorbyl phosphate.

Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Form Of Vitamin C.

The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution.

Ethyl Ascorbic Acid for skin

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A direct acting vitamin C formula. Infused with 15% ethyl ascorbic acid in propanediol as a base, to promote skin brightening, collagen production and antioxidant benefits. This formula is the most budget-friendly ethyl ascorbic acid as with regards to The Ordinary’s reputable – quality and budget-friendly skincare products.

Face Theory Regena C20 Vitamin C Serum. 

Ethyl Ascorbic Acid for skin

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A vitamin C serum, yet from a reputable brand. Cocktails 20% ethyl ascorbic acid with amino acids making it a double-up, while vitamin C helps illuminate the skin, fight free radicals and induce collagen production, amino acids help promote hydration and strengthen skin barrier function. And oh, it also contains ferulic acid, a powerful antioxidant that helps stabilize actives and prevents damages caused by free radicals. Face Theory brand also has a 30% formula of ethyl ascorbic acid – Regena C30 Pro Vitamin C Serum.

Ethyl Ascorbic Acid: A newly derived vitamin C derivative, also known as 3-O-Ethyl-L-ascorbic acid where L-ascorbic acid is combined with an Ethyl group molecule, bound to the third carbon position. Which makes this vitamin C derivative gentle on the skin, very stable and soluble in both water and oil.

NIOD Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid 30% Network.

Ethyl Ascorbic Acid for skin

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From The Ordinary’s sister brand – NIOD.

This may be one of the most highly concentrated ethyl ascorbic acid vitamin C serums you may find on the shelves. A highly concentrated vitamin C serum, infused with a whooping 30% ethyl ascorbic acid in an antioxidant network of superoxide dismutase, selenium and zinc to support a strong fight. 

Wrapping It Up.

To enjoy vitamin C benefits, you have to use a well formulated vitamin C product, also ensure to be consistent with the treatment for better results. If you have an extreme-sensitive skin avoid L-acorbic form of vitamin C as it may irritate your skin. Although, L-acorbic vitamin C products are infused with skin hydrating ingredient to reduce the possible occurrence of irritations, but nevertheless, it may still irritate a sensitive skin. If you must use a product with L-acorbic acid on your sensitive skin we recommend you do a patch test first and see how it goes before commencing full treatment. Always ensure you follow up your treatment with a moisture-rich moisturizer and apply sunscreen before stepping outside (during the day) to protect your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun.

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: Do I need a moisturizer while using vitamin?

A: Although vitamin C products are formulated with skin moisturizing ingredients. But we advise that every vitamin C product should always be used in conjunction with a high quality moisturizer. This is to minimize the possible occurrence of skin irritation especially for individuals sensitive skin.

Q: Can people with normal skin type use L-acorbic acid form of vitamin C?

A: Individuals with oily, normal and combination skin type can benefit from the potentials of L-acorbic acid without the fear of skin irritation. However, we recommend you should follow up with a moisturizer afterwards.

Nevertheless. We also recommend you should do a patch test before putting L-ascorbic acid vitamin C serum on your face irrrepective whether you have a sensitive skin or not.

Q: How long till I see positive results?

A: For fading hyperpigmentation it takes three months. For skin brightening effect, it’s possible to see results after just three weeks of use.

UP NEXT: 10 Best Vitamin C Face creams for Skin Brightening & Anti-aging benefits
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