For years we’ve dutifully drunk our orange juice and squeezed our lemons into our morning hot water, hoping to reap the benefits of vitamin C internally. Now topical Vitamin C has become one of the beauty world’s hottest trends – and the benefits for your skin are just as notable.
Earlier this year, Pinterest reported a 3379% increase in vitamin C skincare searches, and brands including Vichy, The Ordinary, Sunday Riley and Clinique have all released new formulas centred around the most popular formulation of the moment.
We asked Amanda von dem Hag, a leading skincare expert from glo Skin Beauty (another brand that’s well and truly championing the virtue of the vitamin), why vitamin C could be the key to the the skin of your dreams…
It fights signs of ageing
‘Whilst eating fruits and vegetables packed with vitamin C is good for your health, just eating them alone will not be effective enough to fight against the skin’s ageing process,’ explains Amanda. In actual fact, only a very small percentage of vitamin C actually reaches the skin when you consume it through food – but this is where topical vitamin C comes in.
‘Also referred to as L-ascorbic Acid, topical vitamin C is the only form of vitamin C that can penetrate the skin and repair it – making it an excellent ingredient to help the skin fight ageing,’ she continues. ‘Research shows that it stimulates collagen production within the dermis, as a result ensuring that the skin remains firm and tight. Vitamin C can help diminish signs of wrinkles and give you an overall more youthful complexion.’
It protects against environmental damage and free radicals
‘Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron in their outer rings, making them unstable,’ details Amanda. ‘Because of this, the molecule will essentially “steal” electrons from nearby atoms in healthy cells, thus ultimately creating another free radical and setting off a cycle of free radical creation, resulting in the destruction of healthy cells.’
However, topical vitamin C’s antioxidant properties help your skin to shield itself from harm – including harsh UV rays, environmental damage such as air pollution, and oxygen.
It reduces pigmentation
Pigmentation, more commonly referred to as sun spots or dark spots, is another common skin concern, particularly when it occurs on the face. ‘Vitamin C can help to lighten the darker patches leaving your skin tone looking smoother and can help your complexion to look fresher, brighter and healthier,’ Amanda says.
‘It also works as an anti-inflammatory to speed up wound healing,’ she notes. ‘Often I refer to anti-pollutants as the “next generation” antioxidant story. Antioxidants help protect skin from oxidative stress and damage, something everyone can benefit from.’
5 Vitamin C beauty products to buy now
Liftactiv Vitamin C Skin Brightening Skin Corrector
Vichy’s brightening formula contains 15 per cent vitamin C, and promises results in just 10 days. It’s a good choice for if you feel you have tired, lacklustre skin, or live in an area with high levels of pollution.
Liftactiv Vitamin C Skin Brightening Skin Corrector, £28, Vichy
Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
Now in a tube for easy dispensing, cult brand The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% is an affordable – and intense – dosage. Apply sparingly, and if you find the tingling sensation too strong when applied alone, mix with your favourite cream or serum to dilute.
Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, £4.90, The Ordinary
Vitamin C Paste
This pretty pink tube contains a mask with L Ascorbic Acid 10%, to be worn for 15 minutes and then rinsed off to reveal the radiant skin beneath. Wear it while you’re doing your hair or eating breakfast to prepare your face for the day ahead.
Lixirskin Vitamin C Paste, £32, Cult Beauty
Daily Power C
glo Skin Beauty’s ethos is all about providing the skin with anti-pollution and environmental protection, as well as the obvious luminosity. Apply this serum, which contains more than 15% vitamin C, after you’ve cleansed and toned for the day.
Daily Power C, £82, glo Skin Beauty
Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C
Got a special occasion coming up? Try Clinique’s 7-day System for the week before. The two-step kit, which includes 7 single-use packets of cleanser and a vial of Daily Booster with 10% pure vitamin C, works to freshen and firm skin from the first application.
Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C, £25, Clinique