Ask Our Esthetician: All You Need to Know About Vitamin C

Vitamin C season is here! For those who want bright and glowing skin, vitamin C should be your go-to ingredient—but before you start stocking up, it’s important to know the ins-and-outs of this powerful antioxidant. To answer the most frequently asked questions about vitamin C, we interviewed Skin Store’s in-house esthetician, Jillyan Scarpa, who’s available to you as part of our Online Beauty Concierge Service. 

As a licensed esthetician, Jillyan will be able to provide you with beauty advice based on your concerns and desired needs with a follow up afterwards—completely free! To learn more and book a service with Jillyan, click here.  

Check out some of the vitamin C products Jillyan recommends:

Question: What exactly is Vitamin C and why is it so beneficial for our skin?

I like to think of vitamin C as your “Superhero” antioxidant. Technically speaking, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. There are multiple benefits to the skin, such as anti-aging, hydration, improved skin tone and texture, decrease in inflammation and redness and—most importantly—it can protect against skin damage caused by sun exposure and harmful free radicals.

Question: Is there any ideal form it should be used in—serum, cream, etc.? Is there a reason why?

When determining which form of vitamin C is best for you, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions: What is your skin type—normal, oily, combination, acne-prone or dry? What are your skin goals when using vitamin C? Knowing your skin type and goals will help you to find the most safe and effective form of vitamin C.  

Normal to oily skin types will benefit from the most potent form of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). 

Sensitive, acne-prone and dry skin types may find that vitamin C products with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (a water-soluble vitamin C) will be less irritating.  

Vitamin C products that contain vitamin E and ferulic acid are hydrating and can provide great results for all skin types.  

Tip: Before introducing a new product into your routine, test the product on a small patch of skin.  

Question: Where should its application fall within your routine? Is it better suited for AM or PM use—is there a particular reason why?

I love vitamin C in the AM for a couple of reasons. First, it’s going to help defend your skin against sun damage and free radicals. Next, it’s going to give your skin an even and bright glow. When using it in the AM, apply your vitamin C after your cleanser. Be sure to wait a few minutes to let the product absorb into your skin before continuing on with the rest of your routine. Using vitamin C can make your skin sensitive to the sun, so you should always end your routine with SPF  

When patch testing a new product, it’s best to apply it to a small area of skin on your face or neck. This is an important step because it will help you to be sure that you can safely use your new product. If within a couple minutes of application, you experience burning, excessive dryness or pimple-like bumps, that’s a sign that your skin has become irritated and is having a reaction. I recommend rinsing that area thoroughly with water and foregoing usage of the product. 

Question: Are there any skin types that should avoid vitamin C? If so, are there any alternatives that provide similar benefits? Or certain forms of vitamin C that are better suited for their skin types?

All skin types can benefit from vitamin C. It’s a matter of finding the best type of vitamin C product for your specific skin type and skin needs. The usage of this ingredient is as individual as we are. There are those who fall on the sensitive side of the scale and vitamin C may cause irritation and may not be the best ingredient for them. Niacinamide is a gentle alternative that has similar benefits to vitamin C and protects from sun damage and free radicals.

Question: Should those with acne-prone skin be wary of this powerful ingredient? Why or why not?

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can be used by those with acne prone skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce redness and swelling caused by acne. It can also help decrease the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. If you have acne or acneprone skin, it is always best to do an assessment before using a product: Are you in the middle of a flare up? Are you experiencing inflammation? Do you have dark spots and hyperpigmentation caused by acne? Are you using acne medication or other topical products containing active ingredients (AHAs, BHAs, glycolic, retinol, etc.). If yes, then the goal is finding the least irritating form of vitamin C for your skin, and the best way to use the product. This is the perfect time to book a complimentary skin care consultation on SkinStore. 

Question: What are other ingredients that work well with vitamin C or enhance its benefits that we can layer? Is there anything we should avoid using it with?

Vitamin C works extremely well with ferulic acid, vitamin E, vitamin B, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid and help to enhance its benefits. You can certainly layer skin care products when using vitamin C in your routine. I recommend applying vitamin C first and allowing a couple minutes for product absorption and following with your other skincare products.  

I don’t recommend using vitamin C with AHA’s, BHA’s, glycolic, salicylic and retinol. Combing these skin care ingredients can cause potential irritation, inflammation and dryness to the skin. 

Question: To see results over time, is vitamin C something that needs to be used consistently?

To achieve our skin goals, consistency is necessary! So, yes to regular usage of vitamin C in your daily skincare routine. This amazing antioxidant is going to help target, treat and prevent. Vitamin C used in a daily skin care routine can lead to brighter, smoother skin.

Natalie Rosselli

Natalie Rosselli

Content Writer

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