What is Vitamin C anyway?
Well, this naturally occurring nutrient called Ascorbic or L-Ascorbic Acid is found in the dermis of our skin. Its main goal is to boost the body’s defense system: ward off the common cold, increase immunity, help wounds heal quicker, and even reduces the risk of heart disease.
But science lesson apart, it aids in the formation of collagen and elastin (key ingredients that fight all signs of aging). Plus, its antioxidant properties boost brightness, protect against UV damage, fight against free radicals, smoothen out fine lines, even out skin texture and brightens dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation blemishes.
Vitamin C and its derivatives in skincare
While Vitamin C is THE ingredient to look for when it comes to a natural glow, it’s a double-edged sword. Its main drawback is that it’s a very unstable chemical. Meaning, it’ll oxidize (turn yellow) in a few months on exposure to sunlight and change in room temperature. Which is why chemists and brands alike, derived more stable forms of L-AA that wouldn’t discolor, change consistency or texture over long periods of time.
As easy way to know if your serum contains Vitamin C is to check the ingredients list – Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP),Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, (THD) Ascorbyl Glucoside etc. all synthetic (more stable) derivatives of Vitamin C. Or you could just check if Ascorbyl features in the list and you’re good.
How to use Vitamin C in my skincare routine?
Vitamin C falls bang in the middle of your skincare routine; after you cleanse and tone but before moisturizing aka applying thicker creams/spot treatments and sunscreen.
If you’re including actives such as AHA/BHA/Retinol, Niacinamide, Vitamin C always goes first! But wait for 15 minutes (absorption window) before you apply the aforementioned actives. But a better suggestion is to alternate actives in your AM and PM routines, use the other actives in your morning skincare routine and Vitamin C at night or even better – on alternate days.
If you’re using Vitamin C in daylight, always use sunscreen before applying makeup it’ll cause photosensitivity (making your skin darken) without SPF protecting it.
Vitamin C Skincare Routine
If you’ve never used Vit C before, it’s best to start with the lowest concentration of Ascorbic Acid. First off, double cleanse with Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil and Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser to get rid of grime. Then, use a gentle toner such as Klairs Supple Preparation Toner or A. by BOM ULTRA BOTANIC Skin Water. We prefer the latter since it’s packed with botanical extracts. Next, squeeze a few drops of Klairs Juiced Drop and pat it in. This has 5% LAA which is great because it won’t cause any irritation or breakouts. Even those with sensitive skin can use it as it is so mild that it won’t even cause redness. Then, use A by BOM’s Ultra Botanic Serum Lotion during the day, followed by a sunscreen of your choice and Limese SuperTasker Cream at night (‘cos it’s infused with Niacinamide).
Can I use my Vitamin C serum if it’s turned yellow?
If you’re using Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, it tends to get yellowish to deep golden after 3 to 6 months even if you store it in a cool, dark place. But bear in mind, it’s completely safe to use. The only catch – it won’t be as effective as a sealed bottle. Although it will lighten scars and fade blemishes, it’ll take a tad bit longer. So if you want to save some bucks, opt for more stable serums like Limese Brightening Ampoule with Vitagen (a Vit C derivative) that won’t oxidize at all. Another hack is to mix your yellowish Vitamin C serum into a moisturizer to get all the glow instead of tossing it out.
Is Vitamin C safe to use during pregnancy?
Vitamin C is safe to use during pregnancy. We repeat, Vitamin C is safe to use during pregnancy. In fact, speak to your doctor as she may already be prescribing prenatal vitamins enriched with Vit C. But if you’d like to topically apply this glow-boosting ingredient, it’s absolutely safe – there are no recorded instances of it harming the fetus in any way. Still skeptical?
Reach out for a tall glass of OJ, a handful of antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries, oranges, grapefruit, guava, lemons, kiwis or strawberries. Also, prepare your favorite dishes with veggies such as red/yellow bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, kale, etc. to eat your way to brighter skin.
How to pair Vitamin C with other active ingredients such as AHA/BHA/Retinol, Niacinamide
It’s a myth that other active ingredients cannot be paired with Vitamin C. You just need to follow some discretion while using active ingredients together in your skincare routine. First, always follow the alternate theory – if you’re applying any AHA/BHA or Retinol/Niacinamide, use it at different times/different days in your routine. For instance, when you use an acid in the morning, use Vit C at night. If you use an acid on Monday, use Vit C on Tuesday.
Second and more importantly, follow the 15-minute window. After you apply Vitamin C or any active always wait for 15 minutes before moving on to your next step or retinol-enriched cream. Lastly, DON’T forget sunscreen! You have to follow Vit C up with a sunscreen in the daytime as it increases photosensitivity (meaning your skin will darken) if it’s not protected by SPF.
Still got questions on Vitamin C? Need more product recommendations? Watch our IGTV video on Vitamin C right here!