Next in the Step by Step series is going to be Vitamin C. I'm kind of keeping with day time products and then going into night time products unless I can just conjoin the two into one post. So moving on, yeah, Vitamin C. If you aren't using it. Please do. Your skin will thank you. I recommend a Vitamin C before a Retinol, AHA, Mist, etc. etc. For me with people that are like "bare minimum" when it comes to skincare (because hey, not everyone is obsessed with skincare such as I) my standards are: get all your makeup off and THEN use a cleanser to really cleanse the skin properly, please use a moisturizer I don't honestly care what you use just as long as you use one, USE SPF I don't care how old you are you'll thank yourself later, and finally you will benefit greatly from Vitamin C.
So there are many forms of Vitamin C and we'll get to that. Before we do, let's talk about the benefit on the skin that it has. So biggest benefit being that it's going to brighten your skin, and if you use a really good one (not necessarily expensive) you will see how much it brightens the skin and helps with uneven skin tone. Another big benefit is that it will help with the look of aging in the skin so "anti aging" would be the most common term. I tend to agree with Caroline Hirons though and don't feel like there is "anti aging" in us as people and we wouldn't want there to be because the alternative to not aging means we wouldn't be here. I digress... So along with all that it restores the skins pH but as we've discussed before the skin, apparently, does that on it's own. It buffs the skin, it provides fragrance, it's an antioxidant, so on. Now I feel, because I've not properly researched it thoroughly, that a Vitamin C product can, at times, be a source of Citric Acid which is known to be an AHA. Now the reason I say "at times" is because they are not the same chemical compound but they both can come from the same places, mainly fruits and veggies. However, citric acid can be synthetically produced from sugar as far as I know. So what I'm saying is that sometimes it may benefit you as Vitamin C AND an AHA (a very low level AHA I would think, but still an AHA none the less). I don't want you to focus on that though, so if it is marketed like that I still (speaking for myself) would use a Vitamin C and my AHA's separately. So just in case you were wondering.....that's my thoughts on killing two birds with one stone in the respect of Vitamin C and AHA.
Now as I said there are many forms of Vitamin C. Vitamin C in it's pure form is called Ascorbic Acid (L-ascorbic acid). It's known to be quite unstable so thus the reason for other forms of it. The best form is the pure form but like I said it can be quite unstable, so more often than not you will see another form which I will list below. Some of these can be just as beneficial as the pure form and actually perform better on the skin. The issue with Vitamin C is that it is easily broken down by air and light. So that's why packaging is a big deal. Packaging can also drive up the price of the product itself. So while I fully recommend that you do buy one with the correct packaging to get the best use possible I realize it's not always feasible. Ideally, you would want something that will keep that out light and air, so think air tight pump packaging in opaque containers. For products that aren't properly packaged, including all antioxidants, and subjected to the elements they will start to turn. Which means they are no longer stable or they will not work like they should. Often times companies will color the products a yellow or an orange color, it is believed by some that they do that so that you won't know when the product has turned because it's already yellow or orange due to a dye. That is something to consider....just saying.
sodium ascorbyl phosphate
magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
3-O ethyl ascorbic acid (this one is a newer form but still I want to mention it)
These forms more or less are going to be more stable than ascorbic acid. Easier to package, easier to maintain, easier to work with for longer. Often combined with other compounds and ingredients to target and benefit more concerns. Also, note that they need to be the correct percentage to work properly. Since it's such a tempermental antioxidant the formula has to be just right.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is water soluble. Along with the Vitamin C benefits and properties, it's also shown potential for helping with acne in acne products that include salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide if the percentage is correct. It can also be a bit soothing to the skin at times in products.
Ascorbyl Palmitate this is stable and nonacidic. It serves as an antioxidant and helps with damage due to exposure to the elements.
Retinyl Ascorbate this is an ester (formed by reaction) of Vitamin A (retinol) and Ascorbic Acid. It works as an antioxidant and also works topically on the skin for defense against the elements. It's mixture shows better results than when retinols and vitamin c's are used on their own.
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate this is my preferred form of Vitamin C. It's fat soluble and some beleive that due to the fatty acid part it's able to penetrate deeper into the skin. It pairs with other forms of Vitamin C very well and also enhances the work of those Vitamin C forms and Retinols.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate also a stable form and antioxidant. This provides the skin with hydration and also calming factors . In percentages higher than 5% like most Vitamin C forms it's been proven to help the appearance of uneven skin. Although with the bonuses, it can also promote more oil products and lead to the skin becoming sensitive. (which means use SPF)
Ascorbyl Glucoside: stable form of a Vitamin C and mixed with glucose. If formulated correctly it breaks back down to pure Vitamin C when absorbed into the skin. It works well with other antioxidants and preserves the components needed for younger looking skin. This one is my least favorite, on it's own it's not the best for helping with pigmentation spots and issues. When it's combined with products that include Vitamin B Niacinamide for example, that could be a different story. It's not a bad ingredient let me be clear, it's just that there are better options in my eyes.
You can read more on Vitamin C on Paula's Choice and Web MD Beauty and Skincare. I don't recommend that you stop here or at those links either, do your own research to find the best fit for your skin with any product.
Now for my top 5 Vitamin C's that I like:
Some other honourable mentions are:
Algenist Vitamin C Serum. Good for all skin types, consumer studies back their effectiveness.
Cane and Austin Prime and Protect Mattifying Primer (it has Reversatrol, CoQ10, Green Tea, and Vitamin C) plus it's a primer. So that's very cool.
Hydropeptide Luma-Pro C. Another one that I tend to use at night sometimes. It has Reversatrol and it's safe for pregnant women to use. Packaging is also correct for this. Smells like grapefruit, which isn't important but just in case you wanted to know.....
I won't keep you any longer but do keep in mind that Vitamin C can make you more sensitive to sun exposure so USE SPF.
I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to do these things because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity.