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The ABC's of Vitamin C - SKIN by Dr. Simran Sethi

The ABC’s of Vitamin C

The ABC’s of Vitamin C

How to Pick the Best Vitamin C For Your Skin Routine

Vitamin C serums and solutions have been praised by skincare experts for their ability to improve skin clarity, texture, and glow. But if you want to jump on the Vitamin C bandwagon, there are a few things you should know about this skincare superstar. A high-quality vitamin C product will provide stellar results, but a low-quality product will waste your money, effort, and time. So how can you choose the right vitamin C for you?

On The Skin Report podcast, Dr. Simran Sethi, an Internal Medicine doctor and Founder of RenewMD medical spas and Skin by Dr. Sethi, discusses vitamin C in skincare. She informs listeners on everything they need to know about vitamin C functions, formulations, and packaging so that they can see real improvements from their investments!

The Function of Vitamin C in Skincare

Everyone hopes to secure a high-caliber product when shopping for skincare, but they can sometimes be challenging to choose – especially when it comes to ingredients like vitamin C. Before we get into what makes a good vitamin C product, let’s first go over why vitamin C is so sought-after in the first place.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant ingredient that improves skin health by neutralizing the damaging free radicals in the skin. This can lead to enhanced protection against sun damage from UVA and UVB rays and reduce melanin production, which is why vitamin C products are known to give skin a brightened glow. Furthermore, vitamin C can reduce inflammation for a more even tone and increase collagen production to give skin its youthful bounce.

However, vitamin C can only improve the skin if it penetrates into the right layers before losing its ability to fight free radicals. A vitamin C solution that penetrates into the epidermis will only impact pigment production, whereas a solution that absorbs into the dermis can improve free radical damage, inflammation, and collagen production.

Of course, vitamin C’s ability to neutralize damaging free radicals also depends on its potency. A formulation is only effective if it has not been overexposed to sunlight or free radicals in the air.

Now, let’s discuss the different types of vitamin C, the formulas, and the packaging that shoppers should look for to ensure that serum will be a valuable tool in their skincare journey!

Types of Vitamin C

Skincare products containing vitamin C can use two different forms: L- ascorbic acid and Tetrahexadecyl Ascorbate (THD). These different types of vitamin C can have different effects on the skin and have different properties.

L- ascorbic acid is the more common form used in vitamin C serums. It is water-soluble with a lower pH range than THD. This means that the vitamin C will not travel as deep within the skin and will only impact the epidermis. L-ascorbic acid is the less stable form of vitamin C, meaning it is more prone to oxidization when exposed to light and air.

Tetrahexadecyl Ascorbate (THD) is the more expensive vitamin C form, but its oil-solubility and higher pH range make it more impactful within the skin. Since THD is lipid or oil-soluble, it can penetrate the epidermis and dermis to promote collagen production and treat concerns like inflammation and uneven melanin production, thus tackling these issues at the start.

Stability in Vitamin C Formulations

Although L-ascorbic acid is less expensive than THC in skincare, it is also less stable, and therefore, can be rendered ineffective.

On the other hand, THD is more stable and has a longer shelf life than L-ascorbic acid vitamin C. In fact, THD and L-ascorbic acid’s strength, skin sensitivity, and effectiveness all differ. For example, skin sensitivity does not occur when using a THD ascorbate vitamin C, whereas products with L ascorbic acid often cause a burning sensation when applied to the skin.

Therefore, THD ascorbate vitamin C is a gentler, less-irritating option that delivers powerful free radical fighting effects to improve the health and appearance of the skin. L-ascorbic acid may be the more budget-friendly option, but THD is less irritating, more effective, and more stable.

Vitamin C Product Packaging

Another critical factor to consider when choosing a vitamin C product is the packaging. But why does packaging matter so much, especially for Vitamin C?

Well, vitamin C can oxidize when exposed to light and air. This oxidation makes the ingredient less effective for fighting free radicals – and improving your skin.

Vitamin C packaging must limit exposure to light and air. That said, a dropper bottle is not a great packaging option, as this would expose the vitamin C to oxygen radicals in the air each time the dropper is used.

Instead, look for a vitamin C formulation in air-less packaging. Products with airless pumps will ensure your product remains effective for longer!

Additionally, light exposure will speed up the oxidation of vitamin C serums. Therefore, look for a product in completely opaque packaging or covered entirely by a paper label. Yes, even tinted bottles will not provide enough protection for your serum.

Finally, a vitamin C product will be most effective if delivered in a serum rather than a combination product. A serum will pack a more concentrated dose of vitamin C, providing more of this beneficial ingredient to renew and revitalize your beautiful skin!

To learn more about the science behind vitamin C and how to choose the best vitamin C product for your skin, check out Season 2, Episode 8 of The Skin Report podcast!

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