When we approached our dermatologists for an interview on Vitamin C, they rolled up their sleeves, eyes twinkling, all excited, and exclaimed, “Here goes..” :))
Who needs Vitamin C?
Everyone who’s started showing signs of ageing. Practically everyone over the age of 30. Signs like sun spots, fine lines, skin laxity and sallow complexion.
The sun’s UV rays act on the skin and form very reactive molecules called free radicals. These are responsible for damaging cell DNA and elastin and collagen fibres, causing cells to be damaged and the connective tissue of the skin to decrease. All the signs of skin ageing then start to appear.
And how does Vitamin C help?
Vitamin C is an antioxidant.
It is a free radical scavenger. It eats up those nasty free radicals and so, delays the ageing process.
It boosts collagen production. Fibres of elastin and collagen that deplete with age, are rebuilt with the help of Vitamin C. So your skin becomes firmer and more taut. Smooth lines begin to get ironed out with regular use of Vitamin C containing products.
Vitamin C is also a good sunscreen! It makes your dermis thicker, basically shielding your skin from UV damage
It’s an excellent anti pigmentation agent, working by inhibiting melanin production.
Some preparations of Vitamin C (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate), also help to hydrate your skin.
Tablets of Vitamin C you mean, right?
Well, ok. Tablets and diet rich in Vitamin C, like berries, citrus fruits help in reducing inflammation in the body. They boost your immune system to fight off infections. But for direct impact on the skin, it is better to use topical agents -meaning serums, gels and creams containing Vitamin C.
What is the right preparation of Vitamin C?
Gels, creams and serums containing various formulations of Vitamin C are available, starting from 5% to 25% concentration of Vit. C. But the fact is, the benefits of Vit. C are observed only above 8%. We recommend starting with a low concentration, because Vitamin C can cause some skin tingling, redness and irritation initially. Gradually your skin tolerance will improve and you can hike up the concentration.
Then why not buy higher concentrations?
More is not always better. Studies have shown that increasing the concentrations above 20% provides no extra benefit and in fact may increase the irritation on skin.
Is it an AM or PM product?
A Vit. C reservoir is needed so that sun protection is possible. This reservoir can be achieved with regular daily application.Vitamin C should be applied in the morning after washing your skin, and should be sealed in using a good moisturiser. But, it is also important to know that UV light may lower the level of Vit. C in the skin, so a coat of sunscreen over your Vitamin C is important. You can also use it after sun exposure to reduce immediate sun damage too. If you use retinol serums at night, try not to use Vitamin C along with it, because these work on different pH and may inhibit each other’s potency.
Any pro tips doc?
Yes. Know about the various formulations of Vitamin C. We’ll have a separate discussion on that :). Store your Vit. C preparation in cool, dark places, to prevent its degradation. Stop using if you have major irritation, but slight tingling is to be expected. Be patient. You will observe results only after a few months of use. Prolonged use of Vitamin C maintains your skin health. Go for it!