Everything you need to know about  Vitamin C | Doctor Anne
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Everything you need to know about Vitamin C | Doctor Anne

October 25, 2019

Vitamin C: One of my favorite skincare ingredients, but why actually? Let me explain! Hi, I’m Doctor Anne. I’m a medical doctor with a passion for skincare that works, and on this channel We explore the science behind skin and do quick reviews, so you learn to pick exactly those products that work for your individual skin concern. If this is something that you enjoy, Please subscribe and ring the notification bell. And today’s topic is Vitamin C, a great ingredient for everyone that wants to prevent premature Aging and get smoother, firmer and more even looking skin. Sounds great? Yeah, But it can also be a little confusing. You see, the original Vitamin C, which is L-Ascorbic Acid, is notoriously unstable. So it’s really really hard to get into your skincare products, and in order to keep it active, It needs a pretty low pH, and this low pH can be irritating on the skin. Also It loses its power when exposed to light and to water, because it reacts. In order to prevent that, there are a ton of different forms of vitamin C, all with slightly different names and slightly different, yeah, effects. But which one of them is best for you? Before we get into that, Let’s take a look what Vitamin C actually does in your skin. The one thing that almost everybody knows is: it’s an antioxidant. Throughout the day, through UV damage, pollution, anything that happens to our skin and due to processes in our skins natural cell communication, There are free radicals, and free radicals do damage or can do damage to the skins DNA. If you have an antioxidant – There are few, not only vitamin C – this then can prevent this free radical damage by lending an electron and neutralizing the free radicals, so Vitamin C can catch free radicals and Prevent premature aging. The second thing Vitamin C does is: it supports collagen production. And Not how you often read online, that Vitamin C increases collagen production, that’s not totally right, but Vitamin C is an important cofactor for the enzymes that build collagen fibers. Without the Vitamin C these collagen fibers are more brittle, and they don’t really last as long, which is why you, if you don’t eat enough Vitamin C, you get Scurvy, and your tissue is prone to breaking and bleeding and your teeth are going to fall out. So you need vitamin C so it can stabilize collagen fibers, Which makes your face look plumper, because you have a better collagen in your face. The third thing is: It helps reduce hyperpigmentation. You see, these dark spots on our skin is melanin. Melanin is what makes us tan, but if there is damage, sun damage, anything, your Melanin cells tend to gather in one spot and produce more melanin in there. The vitamin C works two ways: for one it inhibits the enzyme Tyrosinkinase, which is responsible for producing the melanin and On the other side it helps reduce dark Dopa-Quinon, which gives the color, back to Dopa, which is colorless. So it can actually fade – over a long period of time – Fade dark spots that are already there as well as prevent new ones. The last thing is that some experts say that it helps with building a healthy skin barrier because there’s some data that suggests that Vitamin C is needed for ceramide production and ceramides are an essential part of the skins barrier. Vitamin C also comes in different concentrations, and the question is which concentration is best? Well, the higher the concentration, the more Irritation you will probably get, so the best concentration for you is the one that you can tolerate on your skin. But you’ll see a lot of products with vitamin C of 5% or less, and this is Probably not enough to give you visible results. The optimum concentration seems to be at around 20%, as a rule of thumb: 15 to 20 percent seem to be good. Anything that goes much higher than 20% will actually reduce the efficacy again, and will give you a higher risk of irritation, So I personally recommend you stick to, yeah, around 20%. Now most of the data that I just presented to you Was found with L-Ascorbic Acid, Which, as I mentioned before, has few downsides like the look pH, Which can be pretty Irritating and the fact that if you just degrades and looses it´s potency probably before it’s even on your skin when not Formulated right. So companies developed a few other forms of vitamin C, like Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphat, Which is stable already at a pH of seven, which is not irritating at all, But seems to be less effective than L-Ascorbic Acid, So you need more to get the same effect. Another very common one is a Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Which is again stable at a pH of seven and seems to be very effective in terms of supporting collagen production and reducing hyperpigmentation. Then there’s 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbate, which is also pretty stable at different pH but so far has only shown to be effective in reducing hyperpigmentation Ascorbyl Tetra Isopalmitate which also needs the kind of lower pH, around five, and which is fat soluble, So it is what you will probably find in oils and in products targeted at people with very oily skin. This one seems to be most effective in supporting collagen production, and then there’s Ascorbyl Glucoside, again stable at Different pHs – I think it´s safe to say that all of them are more stable than Ascorbic Acid – Which has pretty limited data on its effectiveness in general, but shows promising results in reducing hyperpigmentation again. If I say limited data that does not mean it does not do this, It’s just that there’s a ton of data to L-Ascorbic Acid, But not much to the newer Vitamin C forms. I’m absolutely not in the position to tell you which form of Vitamin C is the best for your individual skin concern. In the end I think it all comes down to what your skin can take. I will always go for a well formulated – I’ll get to that in a bit – a well formulated product with L-Ascorbic Acid If I have the choice, because I found that works best on my skin and has the best data to support it. I know from others that they say L-Ascorbic Acid does nothing for them, just irritate their skin, and that they had very good result with Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, so it’s a bit of trial and error, but now you know which names to look for when it comes to looking for vitamin C in your products. There are a few other ways other than going for a Different kind of Vitamin C to make your Vitamin C product more stable. The first one is packaging: like dark bottles, pumps So you reduce exposure to light and to air, or using encapsulated form of Vitamin C or pairing it with vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, both Antioxidants on their own, which stabilize the vitamin C and in general increase the effect of vitamin C, So if you see all these three in one, that’s a good one. Another thing that I see increasingly is Vitamin C in little sachets that you mix Individually before you apply. That’s a great way to keep it stabilized, because there is no water and it’s very stable in powder form, So you mix it and immediately apply it to your skin. There is no product going to waste. When talking about Vitamin C It’s very important to mention that not all experts agree on the efficacy of Vitamin C in skincare. There are some experts that claim that we just have not enough data to Suggest that it can actually absorb into the skin, so it has an effect, and it’s really the case that formulating a Vitamin C product is Tricky, so there is a chance that a lot of products on the market that claim to have vitamin C do contain Vitamin C which has already lost all its potency, because it reacted due to wrong packaging and wrong ingredients. Also topically applied Vitamin C can never replace Vitamin C that you should get through your nutrition. I personally believe in applying Vitamin C in my skincare, but I wanted you to have all the information, both good and bad available, So you can make an informed decision. Oh and very important. Despite what you sometimes read: Vitamin C will NEVER replace your sunscreen. If I say that it can prevent premature aging, that does not mean that it is effective enough to Block the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. You need a dedicated broad-spectrum SPF for that, and then vitamin C to catch Everything that, yeah, happens through other things than the sun exposure. Vitamin C in your product will not replace sunscreen! I’m going to link more videos on the screen that I think you might enjoy and then I’m going to you see all very soon with Another one. Bye!

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  1. I finally had time to sit down and watch youtube, thank goodness for this one! Very informative and helpful, Anne! Is this a new filming set up? Sidenote: I know you've probably shared your favourite vitamin C products a number of times, but what is one that you're reaching for currently or would suggest for young-ish combination skin!?

  2. Just like Lindsey, I finally managed to squeeze in some time to watch some videos and you didn't disappoint with this video. Always informative and a wealth of information. I do use Vitamin C and the one that I always go back to Vichy LifActiv Vitamin C with HA. It contains 15% Ascorbic Acid, only comes in 10mL and in a dark opaque bottle with a pipette. It's to be finished within 2-3 weeks and I think I'm on my third bottle now.

  3. Thank you for an incredibly useful, informative post Anne. From my own personal experience – I moved house recently & finished my VitC serum & didn’t unpack a new one for a good few weeks. The lack of using it daily in my routine really shows on my skin. I’ve got very obvious tan lines around where I wear my hijab (aargh!) And the PIH is much more dire at the moment as I struggle to get control of the situation. I’m loving the Pixi Vit C serum right now. Drunk Elephant is one I’ve repurchased a couple of times. I also like some of the ones available from The Ordinary.

  4. Have you tried any of the timeless skincare vit c serums. They have an L ascorbic acid serum and a Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate serum. I've tried the LAA one but keep reading online that it could cause acne in acne prone skin. It's very fluid like, and has Vit E and ferulic Acid, but I'm afraid that it will make my adult acne worse. Do you mind checking out the ingredients and telling me if switching to the MAP serum is better?


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