Considered to be one of the most powerful and effective antioxidants, vitamin C provides advanced environmental protection and visible anti-ageing benefits such as reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discolouration.
What is vitamin C?
Synthetically derived or found naturally in citrus fruits, vitamin C is widely recognised for its superior antioxidant and visible anti-ageing benefits across a range of concerns including wrinkles, laxity, and discolouration. It has been shown to help effectively neutralise free radicals and help protect against excessive oxidative stress. Unlike other vitamins, humans are not able to naturally create vitamin C and must acquire it though diet or topical supplementation, such as a vitamin C serum.
How does vitamin C fight free radical damage?
Free radicals are produced in skin from environmental factors such as UV rays, infrared, pollution, and cigarette smoke causing atmospheric skin ageing by generating free radicals - unstable molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals try to “steal” electrons from healthy molecules, causing oxidative stress. Over time, free radical damage leads to visible signs of accelerated skin ageing including fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration, and laxity. This science is known as the free radical theory of ageing (FRTA).
Vitamin C, in its pure form (l-ascorbic acid), helps protect against this damage by “donating” electrons to neutralise damaging free radicals, in turn helping prevent the appearance of premature ageing.
What should I look for, when choosing a vitamin C serum?
A topical vitamin C serum must be formulated properly in order to be effective. Based on the research of SkinCeuticals founding scientist Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, SkinCeuticals was the first to discover the exact formulation specifications required for optimal vitamin C absorption and efficacy. This is dependent on three factors, known as the Duke Antioxidant patent: the use of pure vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid), formulated at an acidic pH (below 3.5), and in a concentration between 10 and 20 percent. SkinCeuticals is the only skincare brand to formulate in accordance with these parameters.
Is there a difference between pure vitamin C and vitamin C derivatives?
Vitamin C is available in a variety of forms, but none have been found to absorb as effectively as l-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C). In clinical studies, derivatives of ascorbic acid including magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, and dehydroascorbic acid have not been shown as effective. All SkinCeuticals antioxidants are formulated with pure l-ascorbic acid in accordance with the Duke Antioxidant patent.
Which vitamin C serum is best for my skin?
SkinCeuticals antioxidants are formulated for a variety of skin types including oily, combination, dry, normal, and sensitive skin and for specific ageing concerns such as wrinkles, uneven skin tone, laxity, and blemishes. All of our antioxidants deliver advanced environmental protection against free radicals and anti-ageing benefits. When selecting a vitamin C serum, it is best to ensure the formulation is suited for your specific skin needs. For the most customised recommendation, please visit your SkinCeuticals skincare professional. A good question to ask your skincare professional is how your vitamin C product is formulated. Vitamin C products often combine other corrective ingredients or sunscreens to multi-task; this can require different formulation parameters, which could make vitamin C unstable or limit its benefits to skin.
When and how should I apply my vitamin C serum?
In the morning after cleansing and toning, apply 4-5 drops of your SkinCeuticals antioxidant to the palms of the hands. Tap the product onto a dry face and then massage with firm pressure until it has absorbed. Blend the remaining product onto the neck and across the chest, and allow to absorb. SkinCeuticals vitamin C antioxidant serums can also be used on the back of the hands. For the most complete protection against visible signs of ageing caused by environmental aggressors, always pair your vitamin C serum with a SkinCeuticals broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Does vitamin C taken orally have the same benefits as topical products?
While oral ingestion of vitamin C is beneficial for overall health, it is not as effective at increasing meaningful levels in skin. When consumed orally, vitamin C is distributed to the gut, followed by the remaining tissues throughout the body. By the time it reaches the skin, the body’s outermost organ, there are very low levels of vitamin C left for absorption into skin. Topical vitamin C serum (vitamin C antioxidant) application is favoured in dermatology, as it delivers meaningful levels of vitamin C directly to the source.
Is vitamin C serum good for wrinkles?
Wrinkles are one of the most common signs of skin ageing; caused by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic ageing is driven by the body’s natural ageing process and is largely influenced by genetics, while extrinsic ageing is caused by external factors including diet and atmospheric aggressors such as UV, infrared, and pollution. Atmospheric aggressors in particular produce free radicals, which create oxidative stress and damage skin’s collagen and elastin. The result is an increase in visible signs of ageing including fine lines, wrinkles, laxity, and loss of firmness.
Using a daily vitamin C serum helps protect skin against environmental aggressors by neutralising damaging free radicals. Recent studies have reported the detrimental clinical effects of ozone exposure on skin. Due to a progressive increase in ozone pollution over the past 30 years, it is especially important to apply a daily vitamin C serum. For the most complete protection against these visible signs of ageing, always pair with a broad spectrum sunscreen.
For more information on skincare ingredients, go to our Skincare Ingredients Dictionary.
 Valacchi, G. et al. Protective Effects of Topical Vitamin C Compound Mixtures against Ozone-Induced Damage in Human Skin. J. Investig. Dermatol, 2017