Vitamin C is likely to be no stranger to any of us, we see it present in plenty of fruits and vegetables like oranges, grapefruits or pineapple. Yet, it is rather new to most of us to have Vitamin C on our face. This obsession with Vitamin C could be why you are googling up on this ingredient now, and we are about to tell you.
The vitamin brings benefits to the skin that we love: antioxidative, photoprotective, antiaging, and anti-pigmentary effects.
Vitamin C in our body
Vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in human skin. Antioxidants work to reduce the damage that free radicals can bring to our skin cells. We are unable to synthesize vitamin C as we do not have the enzyme needed to do so. Even as we consume high doses of vitamin C supplements, only a small fraction of the vitamin will remain in our body and skin cells. This brings us to rely on external supplements, with topical application being the most common form.
What should the concentration of my Vitamin C be?
When choosing a Vitamin C product, you may come across the different concentrations available. Of what percentage of the Vitamin C should we be using? That really depends on the type of Vitamin C in use. Conventional Vitamin C derivatives such as Ascorbic Acid may require 10 to 20 percent to have any reasonable efficacy, and is limited inherently by the fact that higher concentrations, for instance above 20 percent, may cause irritation to the skin. On the other hand, studies have shown that a mere 1 percent concentration of Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate – considered to be a new generation of Vitamin C derivatives, has strong antimicrobial efficacy against acne.
What are the common forms of Vitamin C?
Out of all the various forms of Vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid is conventionally recognised as one of the most biologically active molecules. This compound is likely to be found at a pH below 3.5 for greater stability and permeability. Above that, the acid becomes very unstable in aqueous solutions and is prone to immediate oxidation, turning to a brown colour when oxidized.
Other formulations of vitamin C are magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl-6-palmitate and sodium ascorbyl phosphate. These formulations are stable at neutral pH of 7. As a water-soluble derivative of Vitamin C, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is more stable in water but less potent than L-Ascorbic acid.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is one of the most stable and effective forms of Vitamin C. As it will not oxidize as easily, it is a preferable choice for skin care formulations. A well-formulated product allows sodium ascorbyl phosphate to penetrate the skin epidermis without causing irritation. You may consider a dermatologist-formulated product such as Vita C Gold™ Serum, a Vitamin C formulation that has been tested for bio-activity in a laboratory, for safe and effective results.
Different formulations of Vitamin C exists, and you may decide which forms would be preferable in your skincare by weighing in on the cost, potency, texture or formulation. Although the conventional L-ascorbic acid is perhaps the most potent derivative of Vitamin C, it oxidizes too quickly when exposed to oxygen to be much efficacy on the skin. One may prefer newer Vitamin C derivatives – Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which are much more stable and able to deliver better efficacy even at lower concentrations.
Vitamin C helps to produce collagen
Vitamin C is required by our bodies to produce collagen, making this vitamin crucial for anti-ageing. Think of it as an anti-ageing shield your skin needs to reduce the damage your skin suffered, and also to prevent future damage. The vitamin facilitates enzymes that lead to the stability of collagen fibers. It also increases expression of collagen and synthesizes inhibitors to block enzymes from degrading collagen.
Vitamin C has anti-pigmentary effect
Vitamin C plays an important role in skin-lightening, as it inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme works by converting tyrosine into melanin, so by reducing the activity of tyrosinase, our skin cells produce less melanin.
Should I DIY my own Vitamin C serum?
According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, she says: “Concocting your own serum of Vitamin C can be dangerous as it can lead to phytophotodermatitis, a condition where itchy blisters and reddened patches appear on the exposed skin. The redness and blistering will settle down in a few days, but it leaves pigmentation at the same sites. Phytophotodermatitis results from the action of UV radiation on a plant chemical called furocoumarins. Citrus fruits such as lemon, lime or bergamot oranges are often responsible for the reaction.”
It is best to avoid DIY recipes for Vitamin C or you may end up with rashes that scar for a long time.
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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for a thorough consultation to determine the most suitable treatment for your skin.
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Tags: acne, collagen, Hyperpigmentation, melasma, Vitamin C