Why Your Skin Needs Vitamin C

Vitamin C is amongst the most extensively studied—and proven—skincare ingredients, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a skincare expert who doesn’t recommend this potent antioxidant for their patients. About Face Skin Care owner Naomi Fenlin, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a firm believer in Vitamin C’s many virtues and says, “In addition to helping build collagen and lighten dark spots, Vitamin C also prevents damage from environmental pollution and some sun damage when used as a complement to sunscreen.” However, there are several factors to consider when selecting a vitamin C product.

Read the label.

There are many different forms of vitamin C, but according to Fenlin, “L-ascorbic acid is the most effective derivative of this antioxidant ingredient. Other forms of Vitamin C you may come across include ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium abscorbyl phosphate, but L-ascorbic acid provides the best protection against free-radical damage.” In addition to the type of vitamin C used, it’s also important to look for a concentration of 10-20% L-ascorbic acid for optimal performance.


You should feel it working.

Many of us seek out serums and creams that glide on smoothly and provide a pleasant application experience—and that’s OK when it comes to other moisturizers and treatments.

“It’s very common to experience temporary tingling or stinging when applying a properly-formulated Vitamin C serum, and this means it’s working. I always tell my patients that Vitamin C serums are not designed to feel good—it’s about the science and results over time,” Fenlin shares.

Packaging makes a difference.

Skincare companies spend a lot of money designing packaging that is attractive to consumers, but vitamin C shouldn’t be selected based on looks alone. “It’s imperative that a vitamin C serum comes in a dark or opaque bottle to protect against oxidation and other damage caused by light, which can reduce its potency and effectiveness.” Fenlin explains.

Use it correctly to get the best results.

If you’re using a Vitamin C serum at night, you’re wasting your time and money. Naomi emphasizes, “These antioxidant serums help protect against the UV rays and pollution your skin is exposed to over the course of the day. It’s important to apply vitamin C in the morning, and it should be the first product you use after washing your face for optimal absorption.”

Naomi’s favorite?

“SkinCeuticals’ Vitamin C serums are like liquid gold, and there’s a formula for every skin type and concern. I recommend C E Ferulic for normal to dry skin, Phloretin CF for redness, discoloration and acne. Naomi points to the extensive clinical studies and real-life testing behind these products. “They are definitely expensive, but a little goes a long way and you only need four drops for the entire face, or six drops for the face and neck. One of these Vitamin C serums, along with a good sunscreen, is the foundation of any anti-aging skincare plan.”