We all know Vitamin C is key for fighting off sickness, but your skin can seriously benefit from this miracle ingredient, too.
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C protects your skin against free radicals – which, according to Gold Coast alchemist and co-founder of Bubbles Organic, Kate Whilmann, are what cause our skin to look and feel dull and tired.
“Think about when you cut an apple and it goes brown,” says Kate. “That happens because the apple was inadequately protected from its environment – or, more importantly, from free radicals.”
Without diving too deep into the science, free radicals are unbalanced, high energy particles that ricochet wildly and damage cells. Air pollution, UV radiation, smoke, alcohol and pesticides can all cause free radicals in your skin. When free radicals disrupt our skin at an atomic level, they can cause lasting damage – even though our skin cells regenerate after 28 days.
“We can counteract and prevent this free radical damage – also known as oxidant damage – with the use of antioxidants,” says Kate.
And one of the most common and beloved sources of antioxidants around is Vitamin C. Here’s why we love it so much.
It protects your skin
As Kate mentioned, antioxidants are a great way to protect your skin from the damaging free radicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. Thankfully, Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants, helping to guard your skin from everything from sun damage to cigarette smoke. But please note, Vitamin C shouldn’t replace your sunscreen – it works best in tandem with your favourite daily SPF, protecting your skin from the free radicals created by sun exposure while your SPF blocks the UV rays themselves. If you do get sunburnt (we know, it happens) Vitamin C may help soothe your burn by accelerating cell turnover. And thanks to its reportedly high safety profile, Vitamin C is suitable for most skin types.
It makes you glow
Studies have shown that one of the main derivatives of Vitamin C – magnesium ascorbyl phosphate – has a hydrating effect on skin, decreasing transepidermal water loss and allowing your skin to better retain its moisture. What’s more, Vitamin C is believed to help fade pigmentation, reduce redness and even your skin tone, smoothing the surface of your skin to create a youthful glow. As if all that isn’t enough, Vitamin C can even reduce the appearance of under eye circles, and its ability to impede melanin production can help fade dark spots.
It fights aging
Still not convinced? How about the fact that Vitamin C fights aging by promoting collagen production? Collagen naturally depletes over time – which is why our skin looks and feels less plump as we get older – and low levels of collagen can lead to fine lines, wrinkles and even sagging. No thanks! We’ll take a daily dose of Vitamin C to boost our collagen levels, which experts believe results in an overall tightening effect. Plus, with prolonged use, Vitamin C’s protective properties mean our skin looks brighter and younger for longer. Name a better vitamin – we’ll wait.
Because there’s no such thing as a perfect skincare ingredient, Vitamin C does have a couple of limitations – namely, its instability. It requires very specific conditions to survive in a serum, so when you’re looking for your new BFF (read: your new Vitamin C solution) make sure it has the following features: 10 to 20 percent L-ascorbic acid; airtight packaging; and a dark or tinted glass bottle. Here are three of our favourites…
The Budget: The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside 12%, $21.90, www.adorebeauty.com.au
The Boujee: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $128, www.mecca.com.au
The Stripped Back: Bubbles Organic Hydrate face mist, $17, www.bubblesorganic.com.au