Beauty Science: Vitamin C

Whether you are walking down the makeup aisle or browsing on Sephora, you are bound to see products bragging about including vitamin C in their products.  But can it actually help your skin?  We have all fallen prey to some beauty product only to find we wasted our well earned money.  Is this all hype, or should be looking for Vitamin C?

This is not meant to be a comprehensive literature review (this isn’t my field of expertise). But a quick look into the literature, suggest that yes, this is not just marketing hype.  The primary benefit of vitamin C is that it is an antioxidant.

Don’t know what a antioxidant is?  Maybe this video will help:

Vitamin C reacts with reactive particles to neutralize them.  We actually already have vitamin C in our skin, but as vitamin C reacts with these stressors we decrease our concentration of vitamin C.  The idea is that applying the vitamin C to your skin can restore vitamin C in the skin and offer continued environmental protection.  Topical application is necessary because increasing your vitamin C via vitamin pills, has not been shown to be effective at increasing the concentrations in the skin.

The Verdict?

The literature is not completely clear.  I have come across studies that say that it is effective, and those that say that vitamin C is too unstable and in too small of concentrations to work.  My take is that it is worth using, but that you will want to look for products that have 5% or higher (preferably 10-15%) concentration and have containers that will limit the products exposure to oxygen and light.  So look for opaque containers that use a pump to dispense the product.

If you notice any errors in this post please contact me so that I can correct the information.  Thanks!

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