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Blog skincare basics


Vitamin C is one of the most effective actives that you can add into your skincare routine. This powerhouse vitamin and antioxidant does everything from evening out your skin tone, fading hyperpigmentation, clearing up acne, firming and smoothing the skin, and giving your skin a lit-from-within glow! Finding the right Vitamin C product can be a bit intimidating though, so we’re here to break it down for you and help you learn all about Vitamin C.

Vitamin C - Ascorbic Acid

L-ascorbic acid (or L-AA for short) is the most effective form of Vitamin C. This is the form of vitamin C that is found in citrus fruits and in supplements. As a potent antioxidant, this form of vitamin C prevents free radical damage to your skin and protects your skin from sun damage. Vitamin C inhibits the formation of dark spots and melasma, evening out skin tone and brightening the skin. It also supports your skin’s natural formation of collagen and elastin, helping to treat fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness and elasticity.

L-ascorbic acid serums tend to come in concentrations of 15 to 20%. They are best used on bare skin, immediately after toning, for the most potent effect.

With so many stellar effects to its name, we think almost everyone could benefit from some more vitamin C in their life! However, there are a couple things to look out for.

  1. L-AA degrades quickly once mixed with water, making it hard to stabilize in a serum or cream formulation. An L-AA serum may start off clear, but after a matter of just a few months, can oxidize to a dark orange or brown color, which means its antioxidant powers are no longer active.

When it comes to L-AA, look for a dark amber bottle that minimizes the amount of sun exposure. Store the serum in a cool dark place for the longest shelf life (your fridge is ideal!).

  1. You should also be aware that L-AA is the most effective at a pH of around 3, which is acidic enough to be mildly exfoliating. Those with dehydrated, dry, or sensitive skin may find that this acidity causes redness, tingling, and sometimes irritation. If this happens, try buffering the vitamin C solution by applying it on top of other serums, or using it every other day instead of every day. If it’s still not working for you, you may want to look into a lower concentration, or a different form of vitamin C.
  1. Don’t mix L-AA with other acids like BHA or AHA, or actives like tretinoin or strong retinols. Because all of these actives can exfoliate the skin, you run the risk of over-exfoliating or irritating your skin if you combine them.

L-ascorbic acid serums are the most proven vitamin C products on the market for brightening, anti-aging, and all-round glow-getting. However, other forms of vitamin C are also popular and can be effective, though often with less dramatic results.

Vitamin C Derivatives

Vitamin C derivatives are popular alternatives to the more potent l-ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is combined with other molecules to form a stable compound that can be used in serums and creams with a long shelf life. Vitamin C derivatives tend to be less potent, because your cells need to break down the vitamin C derivative in order to release the pure vitamin C. However, they can still be highly effective when used consistently, and are less irritating as well as more stable than L-ascorbic acid.

Some vitamin C derivatives, like sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) are proven to help treat acne gently and effectively. Others, like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, are used for their brightening properties. Currently, one of the newest and most in vogue forms of vitamin C is ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (ATIP) -- a lipid-soluble form of vitamin C, ATIP shows promise in effectively absorbing into the skin, lightening dark spots and treating wrinkles and fine lines.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, any vitamin C product has the potential to greatly benefit your skin, and it’s one of the best tools in our skincare arsenal. As with any skincare product, listen to your skin and patch test beforehand. If you want to ease into it, try one of our vitamin C serums that have a lower concentration of ascorbic acid, like the dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. And if you’re ready to supercharge your skincare routine, try the popular by Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum, which has the most effective concentration of pure vitamin C.

Beauty Tip :

Vitamin C loooooves Vitamin E. So to get the most out of your Vitamin C treatment, use it together with a Vitamin E cream or sleeping pack - for example Vitamin 75 Maximazing Cream by Wishtrend or dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask.