Dos and Don'ts of Vitamin C: The Uses, Benefits, & Side Effects

Dos and Don'ts of Vitamin C: The Uses, Benefits, & Side Effects

Vitamin C is a real game-changer when it comes to the world of skincare. This ingredient is versatile, 100% efficient, and has anti-oxidant properties that easily stimulate the skin’s appearance and enhance your natural glow. Vitamin C is the key to good skin, whether you're searching for an anti-aging or skin-brightening element.

However, like other ingredients, vitamin C also has a few dos and don’ts that need to be addressed before use. For efficient usage, we are decoding Vitamin C through this blog.

Understanding Vitamin C:

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that combats dullness, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and early signs of aging. Vitamin C is extracted from Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, etc which are rich sources of the ingredient. Although Vitamin C is absorbed by the body from diet and supplements, not all of it is taken in for improved skin health. Thus, topical Vitamin C products are the best option to consider when it comes to the health of the skin.

The Science Behind Vitamin C in Skincare

Vitamin C works on the skin by neutralizing the free radicals, the insoluble molecules responsible for collagen breakdown that result in wrinkles, dullness, dark spots, etc. Integrating Vitamin C into your skincare routine can yield impressive results, but it's essential to understand the ingredients well.

There are different variations of Vitamin C available for skincare. The preparations vary in each form, making the results vary for each skin type and condition.

Vitamin C Varieties: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Skin

  1. L-Ascorbic Acid (LAA): The most powerful and chemically active form of vitamin C, known as LAA, repairs and rejuvenates skin and reduces oxidative stress. This ingredient is acidic in nature and can irritate the skin when used in higher amounts. Redness and itching are two common drawbacks of LAA on sensitive skin. To ensure that the ingredient lasts as long as possible, keep it in opaque or tinted, air-tight containers in a cool, dark place.
  2. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP): SAP is a milder version of Vitamin C that is less likely to irritate when compared to LAA. The excellent anti-inflammatory qualities of this substance work wonders for those who suffer from acne and rosacea. However, sensitive skin may develop breakouts if not used in the right amount, i.e. 10% concentration.
  3. Ascorbyl Palmitate: Ascorbyl Palmitate is an ester which is an oil-soluble form of vitamin C. Compared to other forms of vitamin C, it is more stable, has stronger antioxidant qualities, and is suitable for sensitive skin.
  4. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP): MAP is known for its peak hydrating properties and collagen production stimulation. It is a gentle form of Vitamin C that is compatible with all skin types.
  5. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate: This vitamin C type is the most stable and effective, and it has a deep skin penetration rate. This oil-soluble form acts deep inside the skin to provide anti-oxidant benefits, boosting collagen production and even skin tone. Additionally, it also possesses skin-brightening qualities that offer your skin a radiant glow.

Safe Use of Vitamin C: Tips for Beginners

While introducing Vitamin C to your skincare routine, always start with lower concentrations. A concentration between 5-10% with an acidic pH of 2.0 to 3.5 will help you understand your skin’s tolerance level at the beginning stage. This concentration can be increased to 20% gradually once the skin adapts to it. We suggest 20% because a higher concentration may initiate irritation.

For normal and oily skin, LAA (L-Ascorbic Acid) with a pH of 3.5 is proven to be effective, whereas, for dry and sensitive skin, MAP(Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate) with pH 5 to 6 is effective with less irritation.

Benefits of Vitamin C in Your Skincare Routine

Vitamin C serums are highly concentrated formulations that deliver powerful benefits directly to the skin including:

  1. Safety: Vitamin C is safe and suits all skin types unless the concentration is higher than 20%. Additionally, it can be used with ingredients like retinol and SPFs.
  2. Adequate hydration: MAP is the perfect variant for you if you have dry and sensitive skin that requires hydration. It reduces transdermal water loss allowing your skin to retain moisture within itself.
  3. Skin brightening agent: Vitamin C reduces the formation of melanin, which is responsible for skin color, thereby fading pigmentations such as dark spots.
  4. Even skin tone: It is used to lower the redness and inflammation on the skin with the help of its soothing properties.
  5. Fights under-eye bags: Vitamin C in serum form solves the under-eye circle issues by boosting collagen production, thereby reducing fine lines.
  6. Prevents skin sagging: Vitamin C restores the elasticity and firmness of the skin by regulating collagen production.
  7. Shield against sun damage: The anti-oxidant property of vitamin C offers protection from UV rays, lowering the chances of photodamaging skin.
  8. Anti-oxidant properties: Vitamin C protects your skin against free radicals that are produced when the body is exposed to factors like smoke and radiation. When it comes to antioxidants, Vitamin E is undoubtedly the best, but vitamin C protects against the damage that these free radicals can do.

All the benefits can be unlocked effortlessly by using Vitamin C regularly.

Side Effects of Excessive Use of Vitamin C

Topical application of vitamin C can have several side effects, particularly when used in high concentrations or on sensitive skin. Common side effects include:

  1. Skin Irritation: Redness, itching, and a burning or stinging sensation.
  2. Dryness: Vitamin C can sometimes dry out the skin, leading to flakiness and tightness.
  3. Allergic Reactions: Some of the users may experience swelling, hives, or severe itching with excessive use of vitamin C.
  4. Discoloration: Oxidized vitamin C can sometimes cause temporary staining of the skin.

To minimize side effects, it's recommended to use products with lower concentrations initially and to patch-test new formulations. Additionally, combining vitamin C with other skincare products should be done with a doctor’s recommendation to avoid adverse reactions.

Vitamin C Application: Steps for Optimal Results

Applying vitamin C properly can help maximize its effectiveness. Here are the steps for optimal results:

Step 1: Cleansing

Cleansing is the first and the most important step of a skin care regimen. Start with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and impurities from your skin.

FCL “C” Scape Cleanser is formulated to be as effective, but gentler, causing less disruption to the skin barrier and minimal change to skin pH. The mild face wash removes dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other types of pollutants from the skin, helping to keep pores clear and prevent skin conditions such as fine lines, pigmentation, and acne.

Step 2: Applying Serum

The finest results from applying vitamin C to the skin in the morning are achieved after cleansing. All you need is a couple of drops of Vitamin C serum to revive and rejuvenate your skin.

FCL "C" Scape 25 serum offers a high concentration of vitamin C in the most stable form of ethyl ascorbic acid (25%). It also contains a blend of the most innovative antioxidants and skin-lightening agents. Which makes it a perfect antiaging serum with multiple benefits. The serum is available in an airless container so that even the last drop is unexposed to air.

Step 3: Moisturizing

To seal in moisture, a moisturizer can be used following the component application. Once the serum has been absorbed, apply a moisturizer to lock in hydration and further protect your skin.

Step 4: Applying Sunscreen

If using vitamin C in the morning, follow with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin from UV damage.

FCL Chemfree SPF 30 is a physical sunscreen that contains the physical sun blockers in micronized form. It ensures a non-whitening texture with a uniform texture. Suits all skin types including the most sensitive skin.

For your PM skincare routine, the same steps can be followed by eliminating sunscreen. Applying vitamin C every 8 hours or twice a day promises efficient protection.

You can always layer other ingredients with vitamin C. Niacinamide is a great option to go for layering purposes. These two amazing substances work together to improve the skin's antioxidant effects. The brightening effects of the skin will be amplified by other components including hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, ferulic acid, vitamin B, and vitamin E. The combination of vitamin C and retinol results in glowing skin, curing dark spots and uneven skin tone.

Note: Do not combine Vitamin C with exfoliants like AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) as all the ingredients are acidic in nature and layering them together can irritate the skin.

Maximizing Vitamin C Efficacy: Pro Tips for Best Results

Serums are the most common type of topical Vitamin C. These are known for their stability and high efficiency in brightening skin and reducing hyperpigmentation. To improve its efficiency, the following pointers have to be kept in mind.

  1. Start slow: Allow your skin to adapt to the introduction of the ingredient. You can start this on a 3 times a week basis before increasing the usage.
  2. Store safe: No light and tinted, airtight container is a must for vitamin C! The chances of it getting oxidized are high as compared to other skincare ingredients. Do not use the ingredient once a golden-brown cloudy texture with a rancid odor is acquired. Dont leave vitamin C in the open, you can always store it in your fridge
  3. Layering under the SPF: Vitamin C is light-sensitive and has to be layered beneath the SPF all the time. When layered underneath sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30, vitamin C protects the skin even further by neutralizing the damage caused by free radicals.
  4. Healthy diet: Foods and supplements containing vitamin C can be incorporated into the diet to provide better nourishment. These include citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels, potato, etc.

Embrace the Power of Vitamin C for Radiant Skin

Vitamin C is a strong ally in skin care with remarkable benefits starting from skin brightening to anti-ageing. Even with a proper skin care regimen, vitamin C can be used. Just like other ingredients, consistency has a major impact on Vitamin C as well. By understanding the ingredient and its dos and don'ts, you can harness the full potential of vitamin C. Start with a lower concentration, layer it correctly with other products, and always use sunscreen to protect your skin. With these tips, you can safely and effectively enjoy the antioxidant power of Vitamin C and achieve a healthier, more radiant complexion.