The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Reviver, $41 (30 ml).
What’s an antioxidant?
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with missing electrons, making them very unstable. In order to neutralise this imbalance, free radicals would retrieve electrons from healthy skin cells, oxidising them and making them prone to damage. What antioxidants do is readily give up their electrons, thus protecting cells from being oxidised. Free radicals aren’t all bad – it’s a byproduct of the body’s natural metabolic functions and our immune system actually uses it to kill off bacteria which tries to infect us. The key is to always maintain a healthy balance, and avoid excessive exposure to free radicals which can come in the form of cigarette smoke, pollution and ultraviolet radiation.
Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%, $99 (4 x 8.5 ml).
Why use it on skin?
Before you reach out for some oranges, know that when vitamin C is consumed, the vital organs will have priority when it comes to distributing it throughout the body, and skin is not considered a vital organ in this case so only trace amounts of consumed vitamin C will reach the skin eventually. Topical application of vitamin C will ensure that the skin gets first dibs on the benefits which it offers.
Besides combating environmental aggressors like smog and pollution, vitamin C is also known for many skin benefits. It’s responsible for kick-starting the amino-acid chain in the fibroblasts cells, which produces collagen fibres. This helps to firm up the skin, as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C can also impede the production of melanin, which can be beneficial in fading scars, pigmentation, dark spots and sun damage.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $114 (40 ml).
Even though vitamin C offers a myriad of benefits, pure vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid) is also a very volatile ingredient. Serums and moisturisers containing the unstable form of vitamin C are often found in dark or opaque packaging and are airtight to prevent oxidation. There are also products which require you to finish them within a certain amount of time, when it’s the most efficacious.
However, skincare technology has improved over the years and vitamin C derivatives like sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl glucoside are highly stabilised, which means they can be found even in clear bottles and jars that can be used for an extended period of time.
PIXI Vitamin Wakeup Mist, $22 (80 ml).
Not your spider senses tingling
As vitamin C is an active ingredient, you may end up with a slight tingling sensation after application, which is pretty common. If you have sensitive skin, always start with serums with a lower vitamin C concentration and then work your way up to avoid irritation. As vitamin C products work best in the day, it’s also important to follow up with a sunscreen for optimal protection.
Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum, $136 (30 ml).
It is definitely useful to include a vitamin C serum in your skincare routine; if not for its anti-ageing properties, vitamin C serums can help improve the overall texture and health of your skin.
The Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum has a 20 per cent concentration of vitamin C, along with 10 per cent AHA to gently exfoliate and brighten overall skin tone.
Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Serum 12.5%, $105 (50 ml).
Containing a high concentration of vitamin C (at 12.5 per cent), the Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Serum also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin, while improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, skin radiance and texture.