Vitamin C serum is all the rage. It has been recommended for so many ailments and for so many beauty hacks.
But what are the PROVEN benefits of vitamin C serum?
1) Collagen builder
What on earth is collagen?! I hear you ask
Well, your skin is a bit like a house. It has a strong foundation and all the floors above it. This strong foundation is a tissue called Collagen.
One of the benefits of vitamin C serum is that it regenerates this collagen.
If you were to hold some collagen in your hand, it would feel like a tough but bendy piece of bone.
It is there to give the skin tone, fill and strength.
Off course, like with most things as we age the collagen starts to break down in the skin and we lose that youthful appearance.
2) Vitamin C serum is an Antioxidant
Ok, you have no idea what antioxidants are!
Let me explain.
Your body, specifically your cells, generate waste. These are called “free radicals”. They are very active little chemicals which bounce around your body damaging your tissue and cells. And One of these tissues is the skin.
So if these free radicals build up they cause ageing and skin breakdown.
And this is another one of the benefits of vitamin C serum.
It simply mops up and neutralises these free radicals.
Keeping our skin healthy and beautiful.
3) Keeps skin free from acne and spots
Some people have skin which is prone to spot breakouts.
Spots are the result of pores becoming blocked with debris and excess oil, and bacteria then join this party to cause infection and inflammation.
Vitamin C serum, because it is a weak acid, works to break down excess oils on the face; almost like soap. And off course if there is no excess oil the chances of having spot breakouts are minimal.
And this is yet another benefit of vitamin C serum.
4) Lightens skin
Vitamin C serum has been shown to gradually fade dark spots on the face and body.
We think it works by breaking down the melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment in the skin which gives skin a darker appearance.
This won’t happen overnight. You will probably need to use it for some months before you see optimal results, so patience is key.
5) Reduces dark circles under the eyes
Because it has the ability to breakdown melanin, Vitamin C serum is an excellent option to get rid of those annoying dark circles under the eyes.
Notice, I did not say it removes bags under the eyes or puffy eyes; only dark areas under the eyes. To this date, there is no hard evidence Vitamin C serum improves bags under the eyes or puffy eyes.
6) Helps heal wounds faster
There is evidence vitamin C serum improves the healing of wounds. This doesn’t mean you should apply vitamin C directly to wounds, as this will likely cause more damage and increase risk of infections.
But if you have optimal vitamin C in your body and you sustain a wound, for example; your chances of a speedy healing are significantly better.
7) Gives brighter looking skin- even to Caucasian skin types
We talked earlier about the ability of Vitamin C serum to break down the dark skin pigment, melanin. By applying vitamin C serum over the whole face, for a certain period, you will likely notice a more even and brighter skin tone.
8) Protects Elastin
Elastin is the elastic-type tissue, which gives skin its bouncy/stretchy quality.
This is why when you pull your skin, it returns to its original form very quickly.
However, the speed at which this happens reduces, as you get older. The reason for this is that as you get older, you start to lose elastin from your skin, through years of damage.
Vitamin C protects against this damage, helping your skin keep its elastin for longer.
9) Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Vitamin C serum has been shown to reduce wrinkles. It protects the deeper layers of the skin from damage, including key components of the skin such as collagen or elastin.
10) Kills bacteria and fungi on the face
Vitamin C serum is a weak acid and it therefore alters the acidity of the face slightly.
Even this slight change of acidity can be enough to kill germs and fungi on the face. This is particularly useful for acne sufferers because bacteria play a key role in acne breakouts.
11) Dries out oil skin
This may not be a benefit everyone seeks, but some people with spot-prone oily skin would find this useful. Vitamin C serum has a stringent quality, which washes away oils from the skin.
If there is less oil, there is less of it to clog skin pores and cause acne flare-ups.
Challenges to consider when buying vitamin C serum
The skin is incredibly tough to penetrate for vitamin C serum, and for any product.
Here is the deal.
Skin is primarily a defensive line. It is there to prevent nasty things getting into our body.
And as a secondary role, skin helps us maintain heat and moisture. That is another topic.
The skin is made up of several layers with different thickness and chemical composition, so you need a deep understanding of this to design a product that will penetrate it sufficiently.
It is especially tougher for a water-based product like vitamin C serum to penetrate because skin favours fat-based products.
Without going into technical detail, I discovered in my research that you have to make vitamin C serum with a very specific acidity level to ensure good absorption through the skin layers.
So to harness the benefits of vitamin C serum you have to make it properly.
Do all brands adhere to this?
That remains to be seen.
But there is no excuse for not adhering to this very simple principle.
Oxidation and hydrolysis
In my opinion, choosing a quality brand is the toughest challenge you will face.
Which is a vital step before you enjoy the benefits of vitamin C serum.
Because it is so difficult making Vitamin C serum!
Let me explain.
Vitamin C is an acid. And acids are not stable. They react with water and air and spoil easily.
When they react with air they can undergo oxidation. The word “oxidation” refers to reaction with oxygen in the air “hence the “oxi” part”.
And when it reacts with water the process is called Hydrolysis.
Both are very damaging to vitamin C serum.
So to make the product last longer you have to ensure the formulation is spot on.
I won’t go into the technical details, but you have to assume the worst. You have to assume oxidation and hydrolysis will happen, and make the product in a way that it will resist these processes.
This is why so many products, both cosmetics and foods, have “antioxidants” added.
And this is why you sometimes see small parcels with desiccants added to prevent hydrolysis.
HOW SHOULD YOU USE VITAMIN C SERUM
The priority is making sure the maximum amount of vitamin c serum reaches as deep as possible into the skin. Otherwise, you will not get any of the benefits of Vitamin C serum.
As we explained, the skin is a formidable barrier.
So here is my step-by-step guide on how to use vitamin C serum for your face:
1) Use twice a day. Once isn’t enough in my opinion to get the full benefits of vitamin C serum which we discussed. Once in the day and before bed is optimal.
2) Make sure you wash your face with warm water and soap to remove impurities and make up. These will prevent good absorption of the vitamin c serum
3) Dry your face after washing with warm water and soap. Excess water can damage the vitamin c serum and also form a physical barrier to absorption.
4) Rub an amount of vitamin C serum the size of one finger unit (1/3 the length of your index finger) into one cheek. Repeat the same for the other cheek.
5) Allow to absorb naturally. Do not attempt to rub off slight excess of vitamin C serum. The skin will slowly absorb it.
6) Avoid anything touching the areas you just applied the vitamin C serum to for at least 30min-1 hour after application. This avoids interruption to the absorption process.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR VITAMIN C SERUM HAS GONE OFF?
This is important because a spoilt product can do MORE damage than good.
Because a spoilt product has bugs growing in it. And who wants to smear bugs on their face?
So before you even consider enjoying the benefits of vitamin c serum, do the following.
The first thing to do is to trust your instincts. If the product smells funny or looks funny. STOP.
Do not use it.
Manufacturers put preservatives into the final product, which is meant to keep bugs in check.
But sometimes these preservatives are overwhelmed.
Because too much water, air and contaminants get in through poor manufacturing or poor use by the customer.
Which leads me to another point.
Make sure you use any cosmetic product properly.
Don not leave lid open or use it with wet or dirty hands. All these behaviours encourage spoiling.
Vitamin C serum is a particularly unstable, so it is doubly important to keep air and moisture away from it.
I hope you enjoyed the article.
Please share if you think someone else may find it useful.
Here is an article i recently published about Marula oil, a wonderful anti ageing natural oil.