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Your Skin's Armor, Vitamin C

May 31, 2022

While we have retinol as our night time holy grail ... Vitamin C, is our skin's day time armor. Like retinol, vitamin C should be used by everyone. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant nutrient that plays an important role in skin health. Topical vitamin C is absorbed directly into the topmost layers of the skin, giving multiple benefits to the appearance and function of skin. Here are some major benefits of having vitamin C as part of skincare regimen:

  • skin brightening: Pigmentation, or dark spots, are formed due to an overproduction of melanin in the skin. Vitamin C helps minimize surface discoloration and evens skin tone by restricting the enzyme tyrosinase that is responsible for melanin production in the skin. Moreover, Vitamin C doesn’t have an effect on normal skin color—it won’t fade away normal skin pigmentation, only the abnormal melanin deposits caused by sun damage.

  • antioxidant: Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants, which is an invisible shield to protect our skin form oxidative stress. Our skin is exposed to oxidative stress, day in and day out. Oxidative stress encompasses all environmental factors we are exposed to such as UV rays, pollutants, infrared radiation, and HEV blue lights. We are 

exposed to ubiquitous stressors from walking outside, into an office, watching TV at home ... anywhere. Exposure to oxidative stress causes disruptions in vital chemical processes and negatively impacts skin function and structure. This results in significant damages such as premature aging, inflammation and hyperpigmentation. As a dermatologist, I say it is imperative to incorporate a good vitamin C in the morning into skin regimens and neutralize these oxidative stressors.


  • younger looking skin: Collagen is the fibrous protein that binds connective tissue together in the skin. Elastin is the protein that gives bounce and elasticity to the skin. Vitamin C is absolutely essential for producing collagen and elastin in the body, keeping the skin plump, firm, and younger looking.

  • skin hydration: Insufficient skin moisture leads to itchy, scaly skin and premature aging. Vitamin C is clinically proven to help skin retain water, keeping it plump and smooth and preventing it from becoming too oily or dry. 

Here is another thing to keep in mind, Vitamin C is one of the most commonly used actives in skincare, however it is also one of the hardest to stabilize. As an ingredient, vitamin C is inherently a biologically unstable active that oxidizes upon exposure to oxygen, light and certain temperatures. So degradation of the vitamin C molecule can happen anywhere between the lab's bottling procedures, to mass transports and storage, to store shelves to the moment a bottle is opened by consumers. As soon as that happens, there is zero benefits to the skin regardless of how much vitamin C a brand claims to have formulated in their product. Hence, as we always advise ... this is why we believe in medical grade vitamin C. Medical grade vitamin Cs are backed by studies to show its efficacy and stability in both their formulation and rate of penetration in a person's skin. Some top of the line vitamin Cs we recommend are ZO Skin Health Self 10% Activating Vitamin C and SkinBetter Science Alto Defense Serum

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