Whether you’re new to skincare or you’re a skincare expert, you know how hard it can be to find the right information on skincare products, and vitamin C is one of them. If you’re struggling to understand what vitamin C is or whether it’s right for you, here’s what you need to know about vitamin C in skin care.
Who Should and Shouldn’t Use Vitamin C in Their Skincare Routine?
In truth, almost anyone can use vitamin C in their skincare regimen, and that includes people with oily, dry, or mature skin. The only skin type that needs to pay a little more attention to vitamin C is sensitive skin. This is because vitamin C is an acid, and while it certainly won’t hurt your skin, some people may notice sensitivity to it due to the high pH. For a gentler, more diluted delivery, you can mix your vitamin C in with your moisturizer, but if you find your skin doesn’t agree with the current vitamin C you’re using, check the pH!
While most sellers will have the pH on their website, a simple, inexpensive pH testing strip will do the trick. For sensitive skin, you want the pH of your vitamin C to be as close to your skin’s pH as possible, with the average skin pH being 5 to 6. The closer the pH is to your skin’s pH, the less likely your skin is to have any sort of adverse reaction.
What Products Should You Use, and What Should You Avoid When Using Vitamin C?
Before you can start including vitamin C in your everyday skincare routine, you need to look at the rest of your skincare products first and see if they’re a good match. This is because some other active ingredients do not mix well with vitamin C, and the last thing you want to do is cause a bad reaction that leads to damage and dry skin. However, when saying “don’t use them together,” it really means don’t use them at the same time.
To break it down, don’t combine vitamin C with AHAs and BHAs like glycolic or salicylic acid, retinol, or niacinamides. When you layer these active ingredients together, the pH can become too high, and you may end up overwhelming your skin. However, there’s a catch, as many people can use these active ingredients in the same skincare routine, just not all at once. For example, vitamin C and retinol are actually a popular combo for many people, as they work together to promote skin cell turnover. By applying retinol in the morning and vitamin C at night, you’re giving your skin enough time between the two products to absorb them, thus avoiding a negative reaction.
Despite this, you should always test out a new product and go the extra mile to act out your skincare routine on the back of your hand. This way, you can test product combinations without running the risk of damaging the skin on your face.
How Do I Find a Quality Vitamin C Serum?
In order to find a vitamin C serum that’s actually worth it, you need one that includes a stable vitamin C; that’s right—there are different kinds of vitamin C! Unfortunately, vitamin C is very unstable because when it is exposed to the air, it oxidizes and quickly degrades. That’s why you may see originally white vitamin C serums turn orange or brown over time. Fortunately, there are more stable versions of vitamin C that you should be on the lookout for if you want the most bang for your buck.
The three most stable versions of vitamin C are ethyl ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD), and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP). The MAP version of vitamin C is often lauded as the most stable, as it is pure ascorbic acid (vitamin C) mixed with magnesium salt to improve its stability in water and oil. It’s also considered to be much more stable in light and air in comparison to other forms of vitamin C, and while it still eventually degrades, it will take longer.
If you can’t find this form of vitamin C, or it isn’t accessible to you, there are formulas that include other forms of vitamin C along with stabilizing ingredients. The most popular stabilizing ingredients are ferulic acid and vitamin E. Many people prefer vitamin E over ferulic acid because it’s lighter on the skin . Ultimately, it’s a trial-and-error process, and the formula that works for one person may not work for you.
Other Vitamin C Tips
When you’ve found your hero formula, there are a few tips you can use to protect your skin and make your vitamin C more effective. Despite what some may believe, you can use vitamin C day or night. It all depends on what works for you. While you should always wear some form of SPF, you need to apply it consistently if you’re using vitamin C because you don’t want those fresh and sensitive skin cells exposed to harsh UV rays. Additionally, if you want to help your serum last longer, store it in a cool, dry, and dark place to avoid degradation of the formula. Lastly, if you want to reap the benefits of your vitamin C, apply a quality moisturizer to lock it in and allow your skin to absorb it fully.
Now that you understand everything you need to know about vitamin C in skin care, you can shop with the knowledge necessary to buy the best vitamin C serum for you!