Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help prevent free-radicals from breaking down collagen and can even reverse DNA damage. Damage to collagen and DNA are two significant factors in photoageing. This means that Vitamin C based skincare is fantastic for warding off the effects of sun damage. Whilst the collagen boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits of vitamin C can be experienced all year round, it makes a lot of sense to include vitamin C in your daily routine during the summer when UV exposure can be high.
Vitamin C Helps to Prevent Sun Damage
Studies have shown that when applied to the skin, vitamin C can help prevent damage from UV rays. Not only that, vitamin C can reverse the damage caused by previous exposure. By visibly reducing the signs of existing photoageing, including fine lines, poor skin texture and hyperpigmentation, vitamin C can produce a more youthful, radiant complexion. At the same time it helps to prevent the appearance of these signs of ageing in the future. This makes vitamin C the go-to skin insurance policy, and of real benefit to all skin types and all ages.
Vitamin C Boosts Collagen Synthesis
Vitamin C is essential for efficient synthesis of collagen in the body. In its most extreme form a deficiency in vitamin C leads to scurvy. Many of the symptoms of scurvy such as bleeding gums, skin haemorrhages and poor wound healing are directly due to impaired collagen synthesis. As the human body can not make its own vitamin C, it is absolutely necessary that it is obtained through diet. There is also strong evidence to show that applying vitamin C to the skin is beneficial.
Given the key role vitamin C plays in collagen synthesis, it is not surprising that vitamin C skincare has been reported to increase skin firmness and elasticity, improve scar healing and prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
The Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare: A Summary
Some of the known benefits of applying using vitamin C skincare products are:
- Protect skin cells and skin’s support structure from UV-related damage
- Improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin
- Strengthen skin’s barrier response
- Reduce inflammation.
- Promote collagen production
- Increase the effectiveness of peels and microdermabrasion
- Reduce hyperpigmentation
- Reduce acne breakouts
How to Choose A Vitamin C Skincare Product
When choosing a vitamin C product it is important to pay attention to both the concentration of vitamin C in the product, and also the type of vitamin C used. The cheapest and most common form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid. Whilst ascorbic acid works well as a nutritional supplement it is very poorly suited to use in skin care. Firstly it can be irritating. Secondly, and most importantly, it is extremely unstable. Ascorbic acid oxidises very rapidly when in contact with air or water. As ascorbic acid generally must be dissolved in water to create a skincare product, this create an insurmountable problem. The oxidising process starts as soon as the product is made, and is strong enough to reduce the benefits of the product within minutes. As it may be days, weeks or even months after manufacture that a product is purchased and used, this means that most ascorbic acid products are essentially worthless.
Happily, newer more stable versions of vitamin C have now been developed to avoid this problem. Whilst more expensive, their stability means that they stay active for longer and deliver real, long term benefits to the skin. These include Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which to see significant benefit should be used at a concentration of at least 10%. Another good stable form of vitamin C is Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (sometimes written as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate), which is oil soluble and for best benefit needs to be used at over 3% concentration, ideally 5%.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is used in Ishtar Skinlights Clarity-C range:
- Clarity-C facial wash (at a concentration of 15%)
- Clarity-C serum (at a concentration of 18%)
- Clarity-C lotion (at a concentration of 15%).
Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is used in Ishtar Skinlights:
- EFA Intense (at a concentration of 5%).