How to Use Vitamin C for Glowing, Healthy Skin

How to use vitamin C for glowing healthy skin

Get familiar with Vitamin C, because no matter your age, this powerful antioxidant is one of your skin’s top allies. Vitamin C is one of the most research-backed ingredients for skin and should be incorporated into a daily routine to help maintain glowing, healthy skin. 


Vitamin C is for people who have age spots, hyperpigmentation, and lax, sagging skin. It’s for people exposed to too much UV light, air pollution, and smoke. Aging causes Vitamin C levels in the dermis and epidermis to fall, leaving skin looking dull, uneven, and lax. Given the burden of oxidation on our skin, a topical vitamin C treatment may be valuable, along with a diet high in vitamin C and other antioxidants such as vitamin E. Vitamin C replenishes vitamin E, which is the most efficient inhibitor of lipid oxidation through scavenging lipid-loving free radicals. 


Vitamin C comes under many guises. The pure form is L-ascorbic acid. Derivatives of vitamin C derivatives can be found in skincare products and include: magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, and ascorbyl glucoside.

Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of all tissues in the body and a diet full of leafy green vegetables, berries, melon, and peppers are all good sources of it. The old adage of beauty comes from within truly applies to vitamin C, because some dietary sources make it to the skin. 

Next Generation Vitamin C

Oil-soluble forms of vitamin C, such as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD) and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, are efficacious and stable forms of vitamin C that have protective effects from UVA radiation. Oil-soluble vitamin C penetrates the skin three times deeper than water-soluble vitamin C at the same concentration and has a higher penetration rate even at lower concentrations. 


Use vitamin C products on the face, neck, and décolletage. Some people can find vitamin C irritating, so start with gentler products with a lower percentage or use an oil-soluble form. Vitamin C is best delivered in serums or oil and it works best in combination with vitamin E and other antioxidants that help to fight free radical damage and collagen breakdown. 

The percentage of vitamin C in products is important for your skin type. A 10% or higher concentration has been shown to be very effective at providing benefits to the skin, but if using oil-soluble vitamin C, lower concentrations have been shown to provide good results due to better penetration of the skin. For more sensitive skin, a moisturizer with a low concentration can be a gentler alternative. Lower concentrations can produce a cumulative effect and can also offer benefits when used with other antioxidants. Vitamin C is safe to use on a daily basis and can be used with other common anti-aging ingredients. Rarely, stinging and dryness can be seen with the topical use of vitamin C, but usually, a hydrating moisturizer can treat that. 


Vitamin C is well researched and has a number of benefits to aging skin. When applied on the skin in the form of a topical treatment, it is a potent antioxidant that protects against free radical damage. It is necessary for collagen and elastin production and speeds up wound healing. Vitamin C acts as an essential cofactor for the enzymes that are responsible for stabilizing and cross-linking collagen molecules and directly activates collagen synthesis. Collagen is critical for keeping skin plump, firm, and youthful-looking.

Vitamin C helps to brighten and firm the skin, even out skin tone, soften rough skin texture, and diminish the appearance of fine lines and some acne scars and discolouration. It can help to prevent and fade existing age spots and hyperpigmentation due to UV exposure.  It helps to prevent new age spots from forming through decreasing melanin formation, it is often found with other depigmenting ingredients such as licorice and soy. Vitamin C has potent anti-inflammatory potential and can be used in skin conditions such as acne and rosacea (please see a dermatologist to treat these conditions) because it promotes wound healing and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 


Vitamin C can be found in moisturizers, serums, creams, eye creams, water-less face oils, masks, patches, pastes, mists, powder (to be mixed. Consistent use is important to get the best results. It doesn’t make the skin more sensitive to sunlight as retinol does. Avoid use at the same time as benzoyl peroxide, some retinol products, and other acids. 

Insider notes:


Water-based vitamin C is highly unstable, notoriously difficult to formulate with and it degrades quickly when exposed to light and air. Oil-soluble vitamin C is more stable, but products containing any form of vitamin C should be sold in opaque or dark amber bottles to preserve its antioxidant potency and prevent it from oxidizing. 

Botanical sources:

Plant sources of vitamin C like hibiscus, kakadu plum, amla berry, blueberry, and others are beautiful additions to skincare formulas, but they don’t contain enough to match the free radical scavenging ability of synthetic forms of vitamin C. Whole-plant extracts that are high in vitamin C can still have beneficial effects for skin, especially since they are found with other antioxidants and phytonutrients that keep skin healthy, but they will not match the efficacy seen in clinical trials using synthetics.