Vitamin C For Your Skin: Your Complete Guide

vitamin C skincare
Marie-Antoinette Issa

Lifestyle Writer

Jun 30, 2023

Vitamin C is known for being a potent antioxidant, packed with the power to positively affect your health. While you can certainly reap its benefits by starting your day with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, why not maximise its effect on your skin by applying it topically? Along with many other potent vitamins, it is fantastic for both protecting your skin and helping to reverse environmental damage.

vitamin c for your skin

What Role Does Vitamin C play In Skincare?

Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins when it comes to the synthesis of collagen. A precursor to collagen production, without Vitamin C, our bodies cannot create enough of this essential protein that gives our skin with its firm and plump appearance. 

As an antioxidant, Vitamin C is also particularly powerful in combating oxidative stress, also known as free radical damage. This can be caused by many internal and external factors like environment, diet, and medication.

“This damage affects the way your cells communicate, function and cellular DNA,” says Maria Enna-Cocciolone, CEO & Founder of O Cosmedics. “Vitamin C can help to protect against cellular damage to ensure your cells can effectively communicate with one another, resulting in stronger, healthier, younger-looking skin for longer,” she adds.

Why Is Vitamin C Important For Healthy Skin?

Some of the specific advantages of a vitamin C-rich skincare range include the treatment and management of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, surface texture and skin tone. According to  Mardi Johnson from The Skin Club Bowral, “With the regular use of Vitamin C, you can help your skin look younger for longer – collagen production is stimulated, fine lines are filled out, wrinkles are softened and sagging skin reduced. There is also the added benefit of evening out the skin tone and brightening your complexion.”

Dr Ginni Mansberg, creator of E.S.K Skincare also identifies vitamin C’s exceptional antioxidant properties. “It serves as an effective line of defence against harmful reactive oxidative species(ROS) caused by lifestyle and environmental factors.”

How Can I Be Sure That My Vitamin C Is Stable?

It’s no real surprise that vitamin C serums continue to rise in popularity – popping up in both budget and bougie skincare brands. However, given that vitamin C is such an unstable molecule, it pays to be a little selective with your Vitamin C. In water-based formulations, Vitamin C is oxidised and causes a cascade of reactions in which it loses its power and can even become a pro-oxidant – meaning it can form free radicals itself.

Our experts suggest a number of potential options for consideration. 

According to Mardi, “An oil-soluble derivative of Vitamin C, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate has a long name and a long shelf life. Super stable and ideal for penetrating deep within the skin’s lipid barrier, this derivative provides an easy entry-point to a vitamin C range.”

Dr Ginni recommends L-Ascorbic Acid as “the only evidence-based form of topical Vitamin C, shown in studies to reverse the signs of premature ageing to guide consumers through the Vitamin C navigation process.”

Dr Ginni advises opting for products containing 10 percent L-Ascorbic Acid adding that it is, “a concentration that balances strong evidence for both high skin tolerance and product stability.”

Finally, Maria identifies different forms of vitamin C including “L-Ascorbic Acid, Stay C 50 and more recently, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, which we call ATC”.  She says, “The key to choosing the right form of Vitamin C is knowing how they directly act with the skin. Speaking with a professional skin therapist will help you understand the health of your skin to ensure the suitable form is prescribed for you with minimal to no response.” 

When Should I Start Incorporating Vitamin C Into My Skincare Routine?

According to Maria, it’s never too early to start! “The key to skin health is prevention. Not only does Vitamin C help to support collagen and elastin formation, which generally starts to slow down in your late 20’s, it also helps to protect our cells from other tell-tale signs of ageing, like pigmentation, by providing your cells with an “umbrella-like effect” and shielding off pigment transfer.”

Where Does Vitamin C Fit Into Your Skincare Routine?

Morning and night after you cleanse and tone your skin, apply a thin layer of the Vitamin C serum of choice. Complete your skincare routine with moisturiser to lock in Vitamin C’s long-term benefits for skin.

Vitamin C Products We Love

E.S.K Reverse C Serum
This powerful antioxidant serum hydrates, assists in repairing the visible signs of ageing and offers support against further damage. The antioxidants Vitamin C and E are combined to combat ageing including fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and skin roughness.

O Cosmedics Vitamin C Hemp Seed Oil

The unique combination of Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate and Help Seed Oil offers Vitamin C’s benefits in a very stable and potent form. Hemp Seed Oil is rich in Omegas 3 and 6 to support normal barrier function, essential for healthy, younger-looking skin. The high anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits of Hemp Seed Oils also provides comfort and support for even sensitive, dehydrated, and problematic skins without irritation or clogging.

Essano Advanced Brightening Vitamin C Serum

This high-dose, plant-based serum includes Vitamin C sourced from three tropical fruits – pineapple, mango and papaya. It is designed for excellent absorption and proven to help brighten skin, lighten dark spots and reduce pigmentation in 56 days.

Medki8 Potent Vitamin C Brightening Serum

This high-strength, high-performance Vitamin C serum is ideal for those who have been using vitamin C for a while and are looking to step up their vitamin C game for maximum results. It addresses pigmentation problems and delivers an anti-ageing boost.

Retreatment Botanics by Olivia Newton-John Kakadu Brightening Serum

This all-natural, ultra-strength, oil-free serum targets hyperpigmentation, sunspots, blemishes and uneven skin tone while it promotes elasticity and visibly brightens the skin. It helps to keep skin firm, plump and hydrated and assists in balancing oil production. Sensitive skin will love it as it soothes immediately upon application.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Revealing Serum

In keeping with The Body Shop’s commitment to sustainability, 92% of the ingredients in this lightweight serum are completely natural. But don’t let their Mother-Earth credentials deter you, this product has the same kind of potency you’d expect from a clinical product, tackling the appearance of uneven skin tone and texture to reveal a new, improved radiance, while being gentle on your skin.

Dr Naomi C Bright: Power Vitamin C Serum

Created by renowned cosmetic physician, the latest release by this clean Australian skincare brand is formulated with potent ingredients such as Vitamin C (obviously!) for brightening and firming. As well as Vitamin E for conditioning, and antioxidants to combat environmental damage. The serum addresses various skin concerns including premature ageing, pigmentation, lack of firmness and dullness. And promises to leave the skin radiant, healthy, and glowing, making it a must-have for daily skincare routines.


By Marie-Antoinette Issa

Lifestyle Writer

Marie-Antoinette Issa is a contributor for The Carousel and has worked across news and women's lifestyle magazines and websites including Cosmopolitan, Cleo, Madison, Concrete Playground, The Urban List and Daily Mail, I Quit Sugar and Huffington Post.



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