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Why Vitamin C is Good for Your Skin & What to Look for in a Serum

Jun 11, 2020

Vitamin C serums are all the rage these days and rightfully so because they work!!!

Why_Vitamin_C_is_Good_for_Your_Skin_What_to_Look_for_in_a_Serum_Flourish Caroline_Potter_NTP

Did you know that our skin contains a high concentration of Vitamin C? In fact, the skin’s epidermis (outermost lay of skin) contains 6-64% Vitamin C content as a powerful protection measure!

Think of this as your skin putting it’s armor on to protect you!

*Fun fact since you all know I am all about adrenal health, our adrenal glands like the skin have one of the top concentrations of Vitamin C (30-40%) compared to other body organs!

Per usual, I’m always a bit skeptic of the latest trend—I’ve been using a this All Bright Vitamin C serum for about 2 months now and was sold instantly on day one. My skin glows and feels so soft and youthful!!

Benefits of Vitamin C for your skin

While you might notice glowing skin, diminishing sun spots and hyperpigmentation, a youthful freshness and even a decrease in fine lines, the benefits of Vitamin C go deep!

powerful antioxidant

Antioxidants help combat free radicals—unstable molecules that damage cells, cause disease and accelerate aging. Free radicals are caused by environmental stressors like toxins, pollution, smoking, UV rays, chemicals and pesticides in our food, toxins in cleaning and beauty products, and more. Antioxidants like Vitamin C, either internally through our food or topically through our beauty products help diminish the negative effects of free radicals.

anti-inflammatory

Inflammation, another form of “stress” on the body, is a main cause of disease and aging! Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can deplete antioxidant stores in the body, especially Vitamin C, so boosting that is key. Vitamin C has been shown to help with rosacea, wound healing and hyperpigmentation.

Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which is a key ingredient in Primally Pure’s Clarifying Serum and Clarifying Mask—both of these products brighten skin just like Vitamin C does!

supports graceful aging

There are two types of aging—intrinsic aging, normal aging that happens with the passage of time, and environmental aging, such a sun and pollutant exposure. Vitamin C protects our body against environmental pollutants and the sun’s harmful rays as well as boost collagen production which keeps our skin elastic and youthful.

boosts collagen production

Vitamin C helps boost collagen production, a major protein in our bodies responsible for skin structure, hair, nails, ligaments and more. Fun fact, collagen production starts to decrease in our mid-twenties (I know, it’s young!), which is why adding collagen and Vitamin C both dietary and topically to boost collagen production is important. Collagen helps keep our skin youthful and elastic and can reduce wrinkles, fine lines, hair loss and sagging skin. Using a Gua Sha stone is another way to stimulate collagen production!

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Vitamin C to combat sun spots or skin discoloration

It’s well known that dietary Vitamin C can protect our bodies against sun damage and even act as a bit of a ‘sunscreen like barrier.’ In fact, this is the reason why many tropical fruits and summertime produce—guava, papaya, tomatoes, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers—are high in vitamin C, nature’s own protection, right?!

Uneven skin-tone or hyper pigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin, the pigment that gives our skin, hair and eyes its color. Too much time in the sun without being protected both internally through diet and externally can increase melanin production and lead to sun spots, pigmentation and uneven skin-tone.

What to look for in a Vitamin C Skincare Product?

Factors to consider: stability, concentration and absorption

With a Vitamin C serum, you want to look for a concentration between 5-20%. Keep in mind, that the concentration is an important factor, but still just one factor—absorption, stability and other ingredients that help make it more effective are important too! If a serum’s concentration is too high it can lead to skin irritation.

Vitamin C is highly unstable, especially in its pure from, L-ascorbic, which means it can loose its effectiveness quickly.

Types of topical Vitamin C

  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate // Antioxidant that reduces appearance of dark spots and boosts skin brightening. Helps increase skin’s natural production of collagen to reveal a more youthful-looking complexion. 
  • Bis-Glyceryl Ascorbate // Moisturizes skin while providing antioxidant benefits known to protect from damaging environmental stressors. Helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 
  • L-Ascrobic Acid // This Vitamin C is highly unstable as it is easily affected by the elements, light and water.
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate // A more stable form of Vitamin C, this can help with oil control and hyperpigmentation.

*Source 

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is oil soluble which keeps this form of Vitamin C stable and allows it to penetrate the dermis of the skin, making it more effective. My favorite All Bright C Serum is formulated with Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.

What ingredients to avoid

Besides the basic list—fragrance, PEGs, phthalates, heavy metals, SLS and SLES—when it comes to Vitamin C specific products, they are often formulated with hydroquinone. Hydroquinone helps lighten skin (meaning lighten dark or sun spots, not change your natural skin tone color), can help diminish sun spots and acne scars and even skin-tone, however its safety is in question. 

According to the EWG, hydroquinone is a known respiratory irritant and skin toxicant and allergen. The FDA has not yet ruled out its carcinogenic or reproductive effects in humans so for me, the risk is not worth the benefits when there are other safer products on the market!

Hydroquinone is banned in the EU, Japan and Australia and restricted for cosmetic use in Canada.

My favorite Vitamin C Skincare Products

All Bright C Serum// Hands down my favorite—safe and effective! I’ve been using this for 2 months now and was blown away at the difference I saw just after one use! I use this every other day in the morning—a little goes a long way, use 3/4-1 pump after cleansing and before moisturizing. If you could buy ONE product, this would be it—literally liquid gold!! Worth EVERY penny as it is stable, safe and effective!

^^ This uses turmeric as a natural colorant to give its bright yellow hue. It absorbs quickly into your skin so you won’t feel greasy at all. And you’ll notice benefits even after one use!!

Brightening Facial Oil // I’ve been using this for years and just love it! You can add a few drops to your moisturizer or use this as your primary moisturizer. I use a few drops after the All Bright C Serum. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate gives a Vitamin C antioxidant boost and helps provide moisture and glow! It smells and feels fabulous.

Overnight Resurfacing Peel // This is the All Bright C Serum’s nighttime best friend, this peel won’t actually peel your skin but rather uses botanically derived acids to resurface that top layer of skin, leaving your with youthful, soft and clear skin. It has both plant based acids and Vitamin C forms Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and Ascorbic acid. Use 1 pump after cleansing and wait a minute or two to allow it to soak in before moisturizing, I personally use this about 3 times a week.

Spotless Blemish Oil // Evening primrose oil and lemon oil, rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, helps combat blemishes without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.

Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum // This is a more cost effective option but the Vitamin C is not as stable. It could be a good starting point especially if budget is an issue but keep in mind, you may need more long term to be effective.

Clarifying Mask // I’m obsessed with this mask, it’s my favorite by far on the market and I’ve watched it diminish blemishes in just hours! While it does not have Vitamin C in it does have turmeric (like the All Bright C Serum) that is a powerful antioxidant and helps brighten and clarify skin.

Pure Radiance Vitamin C // This is my go to dietary Vitamin C supplement. Their sourcing is unmatched and comes from food based sources which delivers optimal nutrition and absorption! I recommend this for immune and adrenal support.

Are you ready to add Vitamin C to your routine? Take my personalized skincare quiz to find the right safe skincare items for YOU >

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