Vitamin C Facial
Topical vitamin C
– or ascorbic acid – has soared in popularity in the past few years, going stratospheric in 2017 and is still holding its ground as a beauty must-have. So what does this ‘most googled beauty product’ actually do and does it deserve the hype?
Vitamin C has been a beauty staple for millennia – sea buckhorn was used by ancient Tibetans and rose hips and petals by Native American women to moisten, heal and fight premature ageing. With twenty times the vitamin C content of citrus fruit, rose preparations were the prototype for today’s Vit-C cosmetics – long before the science of collagen synthesis was understood, vitamin C’s power to firm, soothe and repair skin was common knowledge.
What are the benefits of Vitamin C Facial?
It’s an impressive dual action which explains vitamin C’s longevity and current popularity – while boosting collagen production it also repairs photo-damage via a high antioxidant concentration. Additionally, its antioxidant content is ideal for counteracting the free radicals found in pollution, cigarette smoke and other environmental factors – and for combatting the damaging, collagen-compromising effects of inflammation. A brightening and repairing powerhouse, vitamin C is simultaneously anti-ageing and ‘age preventing’ – making it appropriate across the age spectrum.
Another unique trait: vitamin C’s antioxidant levels are so high that – unlike a lot of other active ingredients – it is highly effective even in micro doses. 0.6% is thought to be enough to combat free radicals. (It can however be slightly unstable and needs to be kept in a dark, cool and air-tight environment. Antioxidants begin to breakdown when repeatedly exposed to air and light – so take care of your products and make sure they are within their stated use-by date.)
What’s the science behind Vitamin C facial?
‘Vitamin C’ is an umbrella term which includes L-ascorbic acid (the one you’ll find in most skincare products), retinyl ascorbate and ascorbal palmitate. L-ascorbic acid is famed for its collagen stimulating properties and its ability to reverse the visual signs of photo-damage – while other varieties are less potent, any vitamin C derivative is capable of some skin ‘brightening.’ Varieties of vitamin C vary only in the degree of benefit – all are a welcome addition to any serum or corrective treatment.
One reason topical Vitamin C is especially effective – as opposed to dietary supplements – is that ingestible ascorbic acid is water soluble and so is expelled rapidly, limiting its absorption rate. Short of ingesting enormous quantities, the most effective means of getting vitamin C to your skin is to apply it direct.
Vitamin C is often delivered to the skin via a night serum – although many other options are available. By introducing a Vit-C concentrate to freshly cleansed skin – prior to moisturising – the strength of the preparation is fully exploited. An active ingredient ‘closest’ to the skin in a layered skincare regimen will optimise its effectiveness by maximising contact time. Talk to your dermatologist or skin expert about the most suitable vitamin-C-rich products for your age, skin type and preferred skincare routine.