Yes, vitamin C is good for our internal health. But it’s also great for our skin health, particularly over the cooler months and for frequent flyers. Here’s what to look for in a vitamin-rich serum.
Considered one of the most versatile antioxidants in modern dermatology, vitamin C is regarded as skincare’s brilliant all-rounder. It assists in the treatment and management of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, surface texture and skin tone. It also serves as a line of defence against harmful reactive oxidative species (ROS) caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. This makes it particularly useful if you’re a frequent flyer.
But unlike plants and most animals, vitamin C cannot be synthesised by the human body due to the absence of a specific enzyme that’s needed. While we are able to obtain supplements from our food and skincare, not all vitamin C derivatives are created equal, which makes the ingredient notoriously hard for consumers to navigate.
A doctor’s pick
Dr Ginni Mansberg is an Australian GP and co-founder of Evidence Skincare (ESK). She’s on a mission to educate and empower consumers with science and knowledge. Dr Mansberg recommends L-ascorbic acid as the only evidence-based form of topical vitamin C shown in studies to reverse the signs of early ageing.
“Some manufacturers will bond the vitamin to other chemicals such as magnesium, to improve its stability and absorption. But L-ascorbic acid is the only reliable form of vitamin C on the market with strong, documented evidence supporting its anti-ageing benefits,” says Dr Mansberg.
“As a highly unstable molecule, L-ascorbic acid must be formulated at a pH of 3.5 or less to penetrate the skin’s waterproof barrier and remain stable. It must also be packaged in an opaque, airless bottle to ensure its long-term effectiveness and protect from oxidisation,” she says.
“Vitamin C is a must-have ingredient for all age groups. It protects your skin from free radicals created by excess exposure to the sun, cigarette smoking and other environmental pollutants. It also combats inflammation and other cellular processes that accelerate ageing in the skin.”
Best vitamin C serum
The Reverse C Serum and C Serum Lite by ESK are formulated to combat UV-induced free radicals. They also improve collagen synthesis, reduce hyperpigmentation and protect against sun damage. They do this by containing 10 per cent L-Ascorbic Acid, a concentration that balances strong evidence for high skin tolerance and product stability.
Formulated to meet these requirements, the Reverse C Serum also includes 1 per cent Vitamin E. This, evidence suggests, increases the effectiveness of L-Ascorbic Acid. Meanwhile, C Serum Lite is an option ideal for oiler skin types. It is formulated in a base to optimise skin penetration, without the added hydration.
Read more to find out what your skin needs, and which other products you should be using.
Click here to read our review of ESK products.