Chem Class: What You Need to Know About Vitamin C
To learn more about the benefits of vitamin C—otherwise known as ascorbic acid—we reached out to board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and Skincare.com expert, Dr. Michael Kaminer. Here’s what he had to say.
WHAT IS VITAMIN C AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
To understand why vitamin C is an important addition to any skin care routine, one must first understand the role of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules triggered by various environmental factors, including sun exposure, pollution, and smoke. When free radicals are exposed to the skin, they can begin to break down collagen so skin shows more visible signs of aging—think: wrinkles, fine lines, and skin dryness. To protect your skin and form a barrier against free radicals (the bad guys), you wear broad-spectrum SPF each and every day (right?!). You should also be wearing topical antioxidants to provide an extra line of defense. That’s where vitamin C comes in.
“Vitamin C is a great antioxidant,” says Kaminer. “It helps neutralize free radicals and reduce environmentally-induced damage to cells.” Kaminer suggests using a good vitamin C product in the morning, paired with a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher. However, Kaminer tells us that not all vitamin C products are created equal. “Use one with good data and science behind it,” he advises. Look for stabilized concentrations of vitamin C to avoid skin irritation, and make sure the formula you choose is stored in a dark bottle to avoid exposure to light, which can deem it less effective.
Ready to add vitamin C into your skin care routine? Shop our favorite products formulated with vitamin C, below!
THE BEST PRODUCTS WITH VITAMIN C
SKINCEUTICALS C E FERULIC
If there’s one product that has the entire beauty industry seriously hooked, it’s this vitamin C formulated serum by SkinCeuticals. The formula features an antioxidant combination of pure vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid to help strengthen skin’s natural protection from free radicals. What’s more, it helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and improve loss of firmness, all while brightening the skin’s complexion. The hype is definitely real, folks.
SKINCEUTICALS PHLORETIN CF
Here’s another vitamin C power player by SkinCeuticals that’s similarly beloved. Phloretin CF features a combination of 15 percent pure vitamin C, phloretin, and ferulic acid to help neutralize free radicals induced by environmental stressors.
KIEHL’S POWERFUL-STRENGTH LINE-REDUCING CONCENTRATE
This anti-wrinkle treatment formulated with vitamin C is clinically-demonstrated to improve overall skin texture, tone, and radiance while reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
THE BODY SHOP VITAMIN C GLOW BOOSTING MOISTURIZER
Kiss dull, rough skin goodbye with this gel cream moisturizer created to boost a natural glow, energize skin, fight signs of fatigue, and offer intense hydration. The formulation is infused with Amazonian Camu Camu Berries, which boast up to 60x the vitamin C power of an orange.
The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturizer, regularly $30, on sale now for $18!
For a little DIY magic, try this vitamin C smoothie recipe for healthy-looking, glowing skin next!