7 Things You Didn’t Know about Vitamin C

Facts about vitamin C
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Brightening. Protective. Nourishing.

Vitamin C is one of the most popular skincare ingredients for more than a few reasons. This potent antioxidant fights against the effects of daily skin stressors and helps illuminate your complexion. But despite its widespread popularity, there are still a few useful things you might not know about the nutrient — including how it gives your skin that coveted glow.

Discover these seven key facts about vitamin C in skincare and beyond.

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1. Oranges aren’t the best source of vitamin C

Although Florida’s best contain a high amount of vitamin C, they’re not at the top of the list. Oranges contain 50mg for every 100g. Meanwhile, blackcurrants (177mg), raw red bell pepper (139 mg), kiwi (92.7mg), and strawberries (58.8mg) contain much more.

But what does that have to do with your skin? The American Academy of Dermatology sums it up, “Nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are good for your whole body, and that includes your skin.” Prioritize a fresh, seasonal diet that’s rich in raw, colorful produce to put your health, and skin, first.

Foods high in vitamin C

2. You need it in your diet (and your skincare routine)

It’s a crucial part of your diet, helping to support your immune system. But when it comes to your skin, consider adding vitamin C skincare products to your daily regimen as well.

Topically, it’s directly absorbed by your skin. Meanwhile, the vitamin C you consume is shared between different organs. What’s more: your body only absorbs a certain amount of the vitamin C you eat. Skincare products featuring the super-ingredient can offer a targeted boost.

3. It’s a brightening powerhouse

It’s this skin superhero’s most well-known benefit: a gentle glow that makes your complexion look fresh.

Vitamin C brightens up dullness due to the natural skin aging process or external factors like tobacco smoke and pollution. Routine use can also help minimize the look of sun spots and even out your skin tone. How? By softening the appearance of dark spots, vitamin C encourages a brighter, more uniform look.

healthy, beautiful skin

4. It can support your skin’s collagen production

Topical vitamin C helps reinforce your skin’s natural collagen levels — keeping skin taut and smooth. That’s why vitamin C is often found in products for aging skin: they help improve skin firmness and elasticity.

5. It’s a powerful antioxidant

As the name suggests, antioxidants (like vitamin C) help fight oxidative stress. Normally your body can fight off oxidative stress through its own antioxidant defenses. But sometimes, free radicals (from pollution, too much sun exposure, etc.) overpower your natural defenses and trigger oxidative stress. And that can impact the different layers of the skin. What’s the damage? Visible signs of skin aging.

But there’s good news! Vitamin C serums, masks, and creams can support your body’s antioxidant-generating capacity and help neutralize free radicals in the skin.

Flavo C vitamin C serum

6. There are many forms of vitamin C

Ascorbic acid is the purest form of vitamin C. Other forms to look for include ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl glucoside, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. You might see these when checking the label of your favorite vitamin C serum or other products.

Vitamin C skincare ingredient

7. Not all vitamin C products are created equal

The higher the concentration of vitamin C, the more powerful the skincare product? That depends. Concentrations over 20% can have an oxidative effect — the exact opposite of what we’re looking for (which is an antioxidative effect). Generally, the ideal vitamin C concentration range for a rejuvenating effect is between 10 and 20%.

Another caveat? Vitamin C isn’t the most stable of ingredients. When repeatedly exposed to air, some formulas can lose their potency over time. That’s why you’ll find certain powerful vitamin C serums inside ampoules (small glass vials you break open before use).

ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican serum in ampoule

To sum things up, vitamin C is important for your skin and overall health. It boasts three key functions as a skincare ingredient: antioxidant, rejuvenating, and brightening. It can be used in your regimen year-round and is a great place to start for healthy, glowing skin. And our favorite closing note: remember to wear sunscreen every day.

What did you think of these vitamin C facts? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Reference:

Pinnell SR, Yang H, Omar M, Monteiro-Riviere N, DeBuys HV, Walker LC, Wang Y, Levine M. Topical L-ascorbic acid: percutaneous absorption studies. Dermatol Surg. 2001 Feb;27(2):137-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2001.00264.x. PMID: 11207686.
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Article written and reviewed by:

Amy is a content strategist who turned a part-time obsession with skincare into a full-time passion. Her experience as a creative storyteller includes a range of lifestyle and technology topics across Washington D.C. and Barcelona. What's in her travel bag? Eye contour cream and sunscreen, always.

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