Vitamin C Benefits for Skin

Via Peters

With so many skin care products available, it’s hard to make sense of which ones may work best for your skin. One ingredient you might see is vitamin C.

(Getty Images)

Vitamin C – the same vitamin C found in your citrus fruits – is an antioxidant that the body doesn’t naturally make. Vitamin C can be made synthetically or extracted from foods. Antioxidants are substances that can help delay or slow down damage to cells, both topically and through digestion. This includes the skin, so that means vitamin C can be useful to fight off premature aging, says Dr. Michael Rodriguez, a cosmetic surgeon with Gentera Center for Plastic Surgery in Coral Gables, Florida.

Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin Health

Some other skin benefits associated with vitamin C include:

Types of Vitamin C for Skin

Among the various skin care products, like cleansers, moisturizers and others, serums are the type most likely to contain vitamin C. Serums are typically used after you clean your face but before moisturizing it. The goal of most serums is to provide the skin with a high concentration of special ingredients, such as vitamin C or hyaluronic acid. Vitamin C may be included in other products, but it’s usually best absorbed via a serum.

Other names for vitamin C in skin products include:

  • Ascorbyl glucoside.
  • Ascorbyl palmitate.
  • L-ascorbic acid.
  • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

Who Should Use Products With Vitamin C?

A product with vitamin C also can be useful if you live in an area with a high UV index, says Jill Black, a holistic health practitioner, licensed esthetician and founder of Jill Black Holistic in Miami. This means that the area you live in gets a lot of sun.

If you’re unsure if a vitamin C product is right for your face, test a small amount first on your arm to gauge your reaction to it, advises Dr. George Bitar, a plastic surgeon and founder of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Fairfax, Virginia.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Vitamin C Product

Finding a good vitamin C product doesn’t require shelling out a lot of dough. Still, you want to make sure you’re getting a quality product.

Here are a few tips to help you select the right vitamin C product for you:

How to Use a Vitamin C Skin Product

Use your vitamin C product on clean skin before you use a moisturizer. Apply a thin layer, as too much vitamin C can cause flakiness. You can apply a few drops on the face but also your neck and chest. Make sure to use a moisturizer afterwards that has a broad-spectrum SPF so you’re giving your skin better sun protection.

It’s also OK to use a vitamin C serum in the evening before using a moisturizer. A nighttime application can be useful because this is when most of the cell turnover in the skin takes place, Gallo says. Nighttime application also is useful for those using vitamin C for acne, Rodriguez says.

Have some patience while waiting to see a difference in your skin. The amount of time it takes to see a noticeable difference for dark circles or spots varies and could range from three weeks to two months, says Dr. Michael Horn, a Chicago-based plastic surgeon.

While vitamin C skin care products aren’t associated with any major side effects (unless they’re used on sensitive skin), it’s possible to notice some redness and stinging when you first start to use them, Horn says. Those should reduce as your skin builds up a tolerance to your product. If those effects don’t stop after your initial uses, it’s best to stop using the product.

Other Tips to Keep Your Skin Healthy

If you’re focused on finding a product with vitamin C for healthier skin, make sure that you follow other sensible skin care advice. “A product or ingredient can only work to its maximum efficacy if other lifestyle factors are in place,” Horn says. This includes:

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