WHEN & HOW TO USE VITAMIN C SERUMS
Vitamin C is one of the most talked about ingredients in skincare due its many benefits in topical application, especially of the pure l-ascorbic acid form. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is proven to brighten and even the complexion as well as provide significant anti-ageing benefits. However, this ingredient is also known for being unstable, meaning that small differences in formula, packaging and method of application can have a strong impact on vitamin C’s effectiveness.
Follow our comprehensive guide on when and how to use vitamin C to become fully informed regarding why you should incorporate vitamin C into your everyday skincare routine. Our detailed guidance covers the key benefits of topical application, application advice and recommended SkinCeuticals vitamin C serums.
VITAMIN C BENEFITS FOR SKIN
Ingesting vitamin C from citrus fruits or health supplements has well known benefits, however applying topical vitamin C to the skin can be just as beneficial. In order to understand the many reasons you should incorporate vitamin C into your daily skincare regime, it’s necessary to understand the effective results this ingredient can produce for the complexion.
Vitamin C is the gold standard in environmental protection as a powerful antioxidant ingredient. This means vitamin C can protect the skin from damage at a cellular level. Each day, our skin is exposed to damaging free radicals from environmental aggressors including pollution and sun exposure. These unstable molecules usually damage skin cells and accelerate the ageing process, however antioxidants such as vitamin C can lend free radicals a molecule, helping to neutralise their effects.
COLLAGEN SYNTHESIS BENEFITS
In addition to preventing damage caused by free radicals, vitamin C also plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis. Collagen is a natural protein responsible for skin firmness and laxity as the rate of its synthesis declines with age. Using a vitamin C serum is therefore associated with visible anti-ageing benefits including improved skin firmness and an overall re-plumped appearance.
BRIGHTENING AND PIGMENTATION BENEFITS
Vitamin C can also brighten the skin and minimise uneven pigmentation due its ability to regulate melanin production. Uneven pigmentation may be present in the skin for a variety of reasons, including sun damage or a history of acne-prone skin. By minimising excess melanin production, including a vitamin C serum in your routine can help reduce the appearance of these concerns for a more even looking complexion.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT VITAMIN C PRODUCT FOR OPTIMAL RESULTS
When selecting a vitamin C product to integrate into your skincare regime, it’s useful to know the differences between different vitamin C types and formulas and how they influence absorption and efficacy on the skin. There are eight distinct types of vitamin C and its derivatives which can be found as ingredients in topical serums, creams or lotions. These include, ascorbyl palmitate, Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and L-ascorbic acid (pure topical vitamin C for skin).
SkinCeuticals recommends seeking out products formulated with L-ascorbic acid, which is pure vitamin C, to ensure optimal vitamin C benefits are achieved within the skin. While derivatives can penetrate the skin, they are not guaranteed to convert into active vitamin C. In contrast, L-ascorbic acid is delivered directly to the skin in a pure, active form. This highly effective form of vitamin C degrades with exposure to air and light, so seek out a stabilised formula with darkened glass or opaque packaging and keep it tightly sealed to minimise exposure
HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY VITAMIN C SERUM
Understanding how to apply vitamin C serum is essential to achieve optimal benefits from this powerful ingredient. Vitamin C is not compatible with other active skincare ingredients including retinol and exfoliating acids such as AHAs and BHAs. For this reason, it’s important to integrate vitamin C into your routine with correct timing and placement.
In terms of when to use vitamin C, SkinCeuticals recommends applying a vitamin C serum daily in the morning due to its antioxidant protection against environmental aggressors. This works well to avoid interactions with retinol or exfoliating acids, since both are best applied at night due to their tendency to increase sun sensitivity.
For those with sensitive skin, vitamin C can sometimes cause mild to moderate irritability as you introduce this ingredient to your routine. SkinCeuticals recommends slowly increasing frequency of application over time to minimise any potential side effects. Applying a hydrating ingredient such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 can also help to counteract the effects of vitamin C in sensitive skin.
VITAMIN C SKINCARE ROUTINE
The order and manner of application of your vitamin C serum can make a significant difference to its efficacy. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to layer your vitamin C serum with the other products in your skincare routine
APPLY VITAMIN C SERUM TO CLEANSED SKIN
Cleansed skin free of makeup and impurities is a necessary blank canvas for any skincare routine. Gently use a cleanser and pat the face dry, before applying a vitamin C serum to a clean, dry face. Our Soothing Foaming Facial Cleanser is suitable for all skin types. SkinCeuticals offers two different vitamin C serum formulas suitable for different skin concerns and desired benefits.
Our C E Ferulic Serum is a high concentration vitamin C serum suitable for most skin types. Ferulic acid provides added antioxidant properties to this serum for enhanced protection against environmental aggressors. In terms of how to apply CE Ferulic, gently pat 4-5 drops of serum into the face and neck with each use, immediately after cleansing. SkinCeuticals recommends introducing this serum gradually for those with sensitive skin.
Our Phloretin CF serum is a gentle and effective formula suitable for skin prone to blemishes and mild acne. Phloretin complements vitamin C’s benefits by also helping to improve the appearance of discolouration and uneven pigmentation. Apply 4-5 drops of the serum to the entire face and neck area, after cleansing but before any other serums or creams.
FOLLOW UP WITH SUN PROTECTION
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.
Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.
Vitamin C’s anti-ageing benefits can be complimented by also using other anti-ageing ingredients such as retinol. However, this powerful ingredient can be rendered ineffective if applied simultaneously with vitamin C. Read our Guide to Using Vitamin C and Retinol Together to learn best practices for applying these two highly beneficial ingredients as part of the same routine.