The skin care industry is full of buzzy ingredients. Some are hot for a season and fade away. There are a few tried-and-true game changers skin experts depend on, though. If you’ve ever been to a dermatologist or esthetician, you’ve likely heard of vitamin C skin care.
Most of the time, vitamin C is recommended to brighten or even out skin tones. But there’s so much more to this powerhouse ingredient. Houston-based cosmetic and dermatologic surgeon Dr. Suneel Chilukuri schools us on the benefits of incorporating vitamin C into our routines.
“Vitamin C does so much more than simply brighten the skin,” says Chilukuri. “It’s an antioxidant that fights free radicals, increases collagen deposition, improves the skin barrier and reduces existing skin discoloration.” Struggling with hyperpigmentation or a dull complexion? Or just want plumper skin? Then vitamin C is a great addition to your skin care regimen.
But the acid must be in a stabilized state to reap the rewards. “There is only one vitamin C, which is L-ascorbic acid,” says Chilukuri. “Other ingredients in products that may be advertised as vitamin C actually contain esters of vitamin C that are stable on shelf, but are minimally beneficial in the skin.” These esters include ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
It’s also important to pay attention to formulas. “Even some products that claim to be stabilized are often not,” warns Chilukuri. “The best way to ensure you are getting strong, stable and effective L-ascorbic acid is to choose one that is in a water-free base.”
Not sure if your vitamin C is stabilized? If the ingredient is properly stabilized, you should feel a tingle upon application.
Here are a few dermatologist and editor vitamin C skin care favorites.
Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster With Pure Vitamin C 10%, $22 at Sephora
Just like fresh-pressed OJ tastes way better than juice from the carton, this supplemental skin care booster makes your daily skin care routine that much better. Simply add a few drops to your daily moisturizer for a more nourished, even complexion.
DERMAdoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Detox Mask, $58 at DERMAdoctor
If you thought oranges were packed with vitamin C, you’ll be shocked to hear that the kakadu plum in this mask contains an average of 55 times more vitamin C than Florida oranges. Rinse this detoxifying mask off for soft, supple and hydrated skin.
Eminence Organic Skin Care Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum, $110 at DermStore
Like a bowl of fruits and veggies for your skin, this superfood serum is chock-full of healthy skin benefits. From anti-aging to collagen production, a few pumps of this serum are nutrition for your skin.
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, $29.99 at Vitacost
Address texture and tone with this award-winning potent potion. It’s budget-friendly so you can improve your complexion without breaking the bank.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, $52 at Ole Henriksen
A blend of vitamin C and collagen in this serum will give you plump, hydrated, glowing skin and that’s no lie.
PCA Skin C&E Strength Max, $115 at DermStore
A little goes a long way with this tiny bottle. With a whopping 20 percent stabilized vitamin C and 5 percent vitamin E, these powerhouse ingredients work together to decrease pigmentation and increase collagen and elastin production for a youthful glow.
SkinMedica Vitamin C+E Complex, $102 at DermStore
Apply this serum in the morning and vitamins C and E will release throughout the day to continually promote collagen production so your glow won’t fade.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Brightening Rich Hydration Moisturizer, $65 at Sephora
When skin needs moisture and antioxidant benefits, this moisturizer helps to nourish and protect skin while slowing down signs of aging.