Vitamin C has become a key ingredient in skin care products. A 1992 publication of a study conducted by Dr. Sheldon Pinnell of Duke University revealed that L-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C, actually reduced sun damage. This provoked additional, deeper studies, which proved that vitamin C provides other positive benefits to the skin. Because facial serums penetrate deeply into the skin layers, vitamin C is most often used in the serum vehicle of the skin care routine.
Understand Vitamin C’s Topical Benefits and Its Packaging in Skin Care Products
Understanding vitamin C’s role in the skin reinforces its daily use in the skin care regimen. Vitamin C is a key component of collagen, the substance that binds cells together, and makes for healthy, vibrant, and youthful looking skin. Collagen relies on vitamin C for its stability, so that it can fight wrinkles, restore radiance, and even out the skin tone and texture. Vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from damaging free radicals. However, these effects vary by the vitamin’s potency. Like any vitamin, it is subject to degradation by air exposure. Therefore, its form and packaging have been developed to deliver utmost effectiveness, hence it is usually packaged in skin care as L-ascorbic acid or ascorbyl palmitate. These derivative forms make it possible to benefit from vitamin C’s topical application.
Apply Serum Before Moisturizer
Before elaborating on a vitamin C serum’s sequence in the skin care regimen, the serum’s distinction from the facial moisturizer must be clarified. Serums differ from moisturizers in that serums penetrate the layers of the skin, targeting deep into the skin tissue. This is why serums are usually of a thinner consistency than moisturizers, which only absorb into the surface layers of the skin. The serum is applied to cleansed skin before the moisturizer because the serum can seep deep into the skin layers as the moisturizer can be applied to the surface, yet it doesn’t work the other way around, since the serum won’t be able to seep into the skin if applied on top of a moisturizer. Because vitamin C serums are able to provide such protective and anti-aging benefits, it is important that the vitamin is delivered to the deeper skin tissue beyond the superficial surface.
Do Not Use a Vitamin C Serum in Place of Sunscreen
Vitamin C protects the skin against sun damage, but from the inside out. Therefore, it should be used in conjunction with a daily sunscreen applied after the moisturizer, since sunscreen needs to work on the very top of the skin to protect it. Vitamin C facial serum is not a substitute for SPF protection, even though it works as a strong anti-oxidant from deep within the skin. The vitamin can thicken the dermis layers of the skin and strengthen the skin barrier, and can even reduce the appearance of skin discoloration, but it is important to remember that it works from the inside out.
References and Resources"Vitamin C" by Paula Begoun, CosmeticsCop.com 2009
"Vitamin C derivatives: skin benefits of ascorbic acid without the downside," SmartSkinCare.com 2009
"The Antioxidant Vitamin C," by Gary Null, PhD 2009