A newbie’s information to skincare with vitamin C

The skincare industry is full of vibrant ingredients. Some are hot for a season and fade. However, there are a few proven game changers that skin experts can rely on. If you’ve ever been to a dermatologist or esthetician, chances are you’ve heard of vitamin C skin care.

Most often, vitamin C is recommended to lighten or even out skin tones. But there’s so much more to this powerhouse ingredient. Houston-based cosmetic and dermatological surgeon Dr. Suneel Chilukuri trains us on the benefits of incorporating vitamin C into our routines.

“Vitamin C does so much more than just lighten skin,” says Chilukuri. “It’s an antioxidant that fights free radicals, increases collagen deposition, improves skin barrier and reduces existing skin discoloration.” Struggling with hyperpigmentation or a dull complexion? Or do you just want plumper skin? Then vitamin C is a great addition to your skin care routine.

But the acid must be in a stabilized state to reap the rewards. “There’s only one vitamin C, and it’s L-ascorbic acid,” says Chilukuri. “Other ingredients in products that may be advertised as vitamin C actually contain esters of vitamin C, which are shelf stable but have minimal skin benefits.” These esters include ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

It is also important to pay attention to formulas. “Even some products that claim to be stabilized often aren’t,” Chilukuri warns. “The best way to ensure you’re getting strong, stable, and effective L-ascorbic acid is to choose an anhydrous base.”

Not sure if your vitamin C is stabilized? If the ingredient is properly stabilized, you should feel a tingling sensation upon application.

Here are some of the skincare favorites from dermatologists and vitamin C editors.

  • clinic Fresh Squeezed Pure Vitamin C Daily Booster 10%, $22 at Sephora

    Just like freshly squeezed orange juice tastes way better than juice from a can, this complementary skincare booster makes your daily skincare routine that much better. Simply add a few drops to your daily moisturizer for a more nourished, even complexion.

  • DERMAdoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Detox Mask, $58 at DERMAdoctor

    If you thought oranges were packed with vitamin C, you’ll be shocked to learn that the Kakadu plum in this mask has an average of 55 times more vitamin C than Florida oranges. Rinse off this detoxifying mask for soft, supple and hydrated skin.

  • Eminence organic skincare Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum, $110 at DermStore

    Like a bowl of fruit and veg for your skin, this superfood serum is chock-full of healthy skin benefits. From anti-aging to collagen production, a few pumps of this serum will nourish your skin.

  • Crazy hippie Vitamin C Serum, $29.99 at Vitacost

    Treat texture and tone with this award-winning potent potion. It’s budget-friendly, so you can improve your complexion without breaking the bank.

  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, $52 at Ole Henriksen

    A blend of vitamin C and collagen in this serum gives you plump, hydrated, glowing skin and it’s no lie.

  • PCA skin C&E Strength Max, $115 at DermStore

    With this tiny bottle, a little goes a long way. With a whopping 20 percent stabilized vitamin C and 5 percent vitamin E, these powerful ingredients work together to reduce pigmentation and increase collagen and elastin production for a youthful glow.

  • SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex, $102 at DermStore

    Apply this serum in the morning and vitamins C and E will be released throughout the day to continuously boost collagen production so your glow doesn’t fade.

  • Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Brightening Rich Hydration Moisturizer, $65 at Sephora

    When skin is in need of hydration and antioxidant benefits, this moisturizer helps to nourish and protect skin while slowing down signs of aging.

[ Next: The Secret to Maximizing Your Sun Protection: Vitamin C ]

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