Vitamin C figures crucially into the synthesis of collagen, making it an essential part of any skin care routine, whether you’re ingesting it or putting it on topically. According to research conducted at Oregon State, “Dietary and topical ascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photo damage.”
In speaking with dermatologists about the necessity of wearing sunscreen every day, we’ve come to view Vitamin C serums as a necessary ally of sunscreen– and also as a great topical ingredient for anyone looking to shake up a skin care routine that isn’t yielding results. Whether you’re after a youthful glow or just looking to preserve the glow you already have, topical Vitamin C has benefits for everyone. Below, we spotlight a few of our favorite skin care formulations that are taking the market by storm.
One Love Organics Vitamin C Line
One Love Organics’ fabulous set of Vitamin C body polish, body oil, and facial serum are the perfect post-shower triumvirate of products for tired, aging, or dull skill. We love this line because Vitamin C is beneficial not just for the face, but for the entire body (i.e., anywhere you have skin). We also love that these are all Eco-Cert verified organic cosmetics (one of the highest designations a “natural” skin care brand can achieve).
The body polish is particularly effective on heels, knees, and elbows, as it’s formulated with Vitamin C ester– a potent, stable form of Vitamin C that boosts radiance and counteracts that dreaded “ash-y knee” look. Follow with One Love’s Vitamin C body oil, which is made with the same compound of Vitamin C and papaya enzymes, which help nourish and soften. For face, apply a small pump of Vitamin C Serum underneath sunscreen for maximum radiance and protection– and, when in doubt, drop One Love’s Skin Savior multi-tasking wonder balm into your bag, for concentrated moisture on-the-go.
Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum
When it comes to getting a quick fix for tired, dull skin, look no further than Joanna Vargas’ Rescue Serum, which is our absolutely favorite corrective Vitamin C serum for travel. Formulated with Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, a gentle form of vitamin C that is suitable for all skin types, JV’s rescue serum brightens skin, boosts radiance, mitigates hyperpigmentation and protects against oxidative damage from harmful UV rays.
We love using it as a mid-flight skin refresher and detoxifying agent. The gentle, skin-softening formula deeply hydrates the skin’s lipid layer while protecting against the negative effects of pollution and sun. Skin is left with a fresh, dewy glow that we love— and the subtle fragrance is divine.
ISDIN Flavo-C Ultraglican Ampoules
We first became aware of ISDIN’s cute little antioxidant rich moisturizing ampoules when researching their sunscreen, and have since fallen in love with them. Formulated with 5% L-ascorbic acid, this antioxidant serum helps combat the effects of UV ray exposure, enhance firmness, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten the skin’s complexion.
The formula comes pre-packed in tiny glass ampoules whose cap is broken off to access the serum; each box of ISDIN ampoules comes with a special tool to do this safely, as well as a bespoke cap to seal off the remaining serum to minimize oxidation. (Each ampoule contains about two “servings” of serum, which is best used within 24 hours of opening.)
The small size of each ampoule makes them ideal for travel, and we love the beautiful glow we get from the signature “ultraglicans” in this formula, which are a combination of dermatologically formulated proteogylcans that increase hyaluronic acid production and stimulate cell growth to boost moisture from within.
Photo: Lipgloss and Labels
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum
One of the most trusted serums in the industry that’s often recommended by dermatologists, Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is sort of the Rolls Royce of protective Vitamin C serums. While we much prefer the fragrance of say, Joanna Vargas’ Rescue Serum (above), Skinceuticals’ critically acclaimed serum has a lot of evidence demonstrating its protective qualities, as it works synergistically with sunscreen to prevent UV damage from the sun. (Which means: fewer nagging age spots and more data to support its efficacy!)
This is our go-to serum for layering underneath sunscreen before a day spent at the beach, hiking, or anywhere where we plan to have a lot of sun exposure. Because of the strength of this formulation, you’ll only need to use a few drops– otherwise, sensitive skin might experience an “itchy” or tingling sensation, which just means you’ll need to use less of it next time around.