The Tipping List
The Power of Vitamin C
This vitamin can do just as much for your skin as it does for your body
We all learn by an early age that vitamin C is important for our bodies’ health, and who hasn’t taken a mega-dose to boost immunity? And without (most of us) even knowing it, the vitamin C we consume through citrus fruits prevents you from getting scurvy, a disorder that can cause spots on the skin and uncontrolled bleeding. Although scurvy hasn’t been much of a problem for the past few centuries, the disease is caused by a lack of vitamin C that leads to collagen production problems within the body. If you’re wondering why you should care, the same decline of collagen leads to wrinkles, which is why vitamin C can play a role in anti-aging, both inside and out.
While preventing wrinkles may not be as easy as eating on orange a day, skincare products with vitamin C have been proven to work. You’ll usually see it on a product label as L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. These ingredients penetrate the skin and boost natural production of collagen that can lead to improved skin elasticity and less noticeable fine lines. Vitamin C also helps lighten dark spots, so continued use yields more even skin tone. Lastly, vitamin C is a super antioxidant, so as it’s working to repair your skin, it’s protecting your skin from the damage caused by UV rays and free radicals.
But, of course, there’s a catch. Exposure to air causes oxidation, which may render the vitamin C ineffective. (Look for a product with stabilized vitamin C.) You also want a high concentration so the product contains enough vitamin C to actually do something, but you’re going to pay more for a quality product. As a rule of thumb, the higher up on the ingredient list the vitamin C appears, the stronger the concentration, so be sure to compare and contrast. If you have really sensitive skin, vitamin C may be too harsh for you to use. While a little stinging is normal, intense burning or a red rash is not.
Because it’s such a great anti-ager, there are a lot of vitamin C products on the market. Here’s my list of the top 5:
1. Skinceuticals Phloretin CF: This super serum combines the power of vitamin C with antioxidant powerhouses ferulic acid and phloretin, which has been shown to protect the skin from a wide range of damage-causing molecules. $150, skinceuticals.com
2. Cellex-C High Potency Serum: Cellex-C has been a driving force behind the vitamin C revolution, and this serum is a great place to start. $100, sephora.com
3. MD Skincare Hydra-Pure Vitamin C Serum: The brainchild of New York City dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD, we love how this serum is packaged in an airtight pump to prevent oxidation. $90, nordstrom.com
4. Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel: Vitamin C comes together with skin-firming peptides and exfoliating lactic and salicylic acids for an anti-aging treatment that packs a powerful punch. $65, beauty.com
5. IS Clinical C-15 Serum Advance: In addition to the C-15 version, this professional-strength line of serums contains vitamin C-based offerings designed to target different needs. Visit isclinical.com to find a skincare professional near you.