If you've got oily skin that's prone to acne, you might want to know more about the beneficial effects of vitamin C. Read on.
In addition to its role as an antioxidant, vitamin C can help address the redness associated with acne-prone skin, as well as reduce the appearance of marks from previous blemishes.
In this article, we’ll review these capabilities, as well as discuss how to effectively incorporate vitamin C into your skincare routine.
● Vitamin C can reduce the redness associated with acne-prone skin and breakouts.
● Vitamin C can help improve skin texture and reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and dark spots.
● A balanced combination of topical vitamin C together with a diet rich in vitamin C (or vitamin C supplements) is advantageous for optimal skincare results.
THE ROLE OF VITAMIN C IN MANAGEMENT OF SKIN PRONE TO ACNE
Vitamin C is considered helpful in the management of acne-prone skin because it helps reduce redness and improves skin texture. And because it also promotes the production of collagen (a key structural skin protein) and reduces post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, vitamin C may assist in diminishing the visibility of marks left by previous blemishes.
And let's not forget its hero function - that of a potent antioxidant to protect skin from external aggressors.
COLLAGEN PRODUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT IN THE APPEARANCE OF POST BLEMISH MARKS
Collagen is an important skin protein, providing the scaffold that gives skin its structure. By promoting collagen production, vitamin C effectively improves the appearance of post blemish marks.
PREVENTING POST INFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is the fancy term for the dark spots that appear on the skin because of acne or prolonged exposure to the sun. With its antioxidant properties, vitamin C can help to visibly fade dark spots. This doesn't happen overnight - typically it takes around four weeks to see a difference in skin tone when using vitamin C.
OPTIMISING SKIN TEXTURE WITH TOPICAL VITAMIN C
Although in no way a substitute for sunscreen (you should always apply a high SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning), topical vitamin C fortifies the skin's defence against harmful UV rays by reducing the damage induced by free radicals. This boosts the overall condition and appearance of the skin, providing an additional layer of defence against external aggressors that can compromise the skin's condition.
ENHANCING OVERALL SKIN CONDITION
Vitamin C is beneficial for skin health because it:
● Helps protect against free radical damage.
● Supports collagen production to improve skin texture and appearance.
● Acts as an antioxidant to protect against sun damage.
Studies have shown that topical vitamin C serum can increase collagen production, resulting in a more youthful appearance by reducing the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.
ADDRESSING ROUGHNESS AND UNEVEN SKIN TONE
Vitamin C has a positive effect on rough skin by increasing the production of barrier lipids, stimulating collagen synthesis, and promoting the removal of dead skin cells.
PICKING THE MOST APPROPRIATE FORM OF VITAMIN C
Vitamin C has several different derivatives, each varying slightly in their physical and chemical properties, potency, and stability, when used in skincare. Selecting the appropriate product to achieve the results you want involves taking account of your skin concern, degree of skin sensitivity, and the stability of the product.
L-ASCORBIC ACID AND DERIVATIVES
Pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is the most bioactive form...and most potent as a skincare ingredient. It's therefore highly regarded and widely used in topical skincare products. However, this same bioactivity makes it chemically less stable than some of its derivatives. It can easily break down into an inactive compound if exposed to heat, a high pH or sunlight, for example during shipping or storage. Pure vitamin C is also a water-loving molecule, naturally repelled by the skin's outermost layer.
All this means it's important for a product containing L-ascorbic acid to have the right formulation and packaging for it to properly penetrate the skin and do its job.
Other commonly used derivatives of vitamin C have slightly different chemistries that are either more stable or penetrate the skin’s outer layer more easily. These include some with tongue-twister names like:
● Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP)
● Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
● Ascorbyl Glucoside
● Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
These can also be gentler on the skin with less likelihood of adverse reactions, but aren't as potent as the pure form of vitamin C. It's a trade-off!
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR APPLYING VITAMIN C SERUMS
In addition to picking the appropriate product formulation to suit your skin type and concern, applying vitamin C correctly is essential for maximising the benefits and minimising potential side effects.
MORNING OR NIGHT?
Deciding whether to apply vitamin C serum in the morning or at night depends on factors such as your level of sun exposure, the product's stability to light, and what other ingredients you might be using as part of your routine.
However, where possible, La Roche-Posay recommends applying vitamin C serum in the morning after cleansing and toning, and before moisturiser, when it offers several advantages for the day ahead:
● Antioxidant protection to neutralise free radicals.
● More luminous looking skin.
BUILDING A ROUTINE
Building a skincare routine for acne-prone skin that incorporates vitamin C serum should be done gradually, conducting a patch test beforehand to check your skin's initial response. To minimise the likelihood of irritation, start with a low concentration and frequency and build up as your skin adjusts.
Suggestions for a La Roche-Posay vitamin C skincare routine for acne-prone skin might include the following:
1. Start with Effaclar Foaming Gel Cleanser, specially formulated for sensitive, oily skin prone to acne. This face wash is gentle and effective, eliminating impurities and excess sebum. With a pH of 5.5, there's no disruption to the skin’s natural pH balance. The two key ingredients are La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water and Zinc PCA, which work together to reduce excess oil, visible redness, and irritation.
2. Next, apply Pure Vitamin C10 Serum to reveal sensitive skin's full radiance, targeting premature skin ageing and improving skin quality. Formulated with pure Vitamin C, Salicylic Acid and Neurosensine, this serum is designed to tackle wrinkles, loss of radiance, and irregular skin texture that can appear with age, for skin that feels softer, more hydrated, and glowing. Salicylic acid also helps to exfoliate dead skin cells, penetrate and unclog blocked pores in oily, acne-prone skin.
3. At night time, Effaclar Anti-Acne Facial Serum is a daily ultra concentrated serum for acne-prone skin and wrinkles that helps to visibly reduce the appearance of blemishes, imperfections, and breakouts. Formulated with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA) to exfoliate, unclog and refine pores, and reduce redness.
Don't forget to follow up with a moisturiser after applying your serum morning and evening, and a high SPF, broad spectrum sunscreen to complete your morning routine.
COMMON CONCERNS ABOUT USING TOPICAL VITAMIN C SERUMS
It's not uncommon have concerns about using vitamin C serum for acne-prone skin, particularly when you read reports that it can actually worsen symptoms. So let's address these.
FIRSTLY, CAN VITAMIN C CAUSE BREAKOUTS?
Although it is true that in some cases vitamin C can cause breakouts, it usually occurs with first time users starting with the wrong concentration or in the wrong formulation. Proper usage and selecting the right product will minimise the risk of this happening.
For those with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin, starting with a lower concentration and gradually increasing it over time is recommended.
MANAGING MINOR ADVERSE REACTIONS
A range of minor adverse reactions to using vitamin C serum can be experienced, such as redness or a mild burning or stinging sensation. These can usually be counteracted by incorporating soothing ingredients into your routine, such as
● Liquorice extract
● Hyaluronic acid
OTHER POPULAR LA ROCHE-POSAY VITAMIN C PRODUCTS
Redermic Vitamin C10 Firming Moisturiser is an anti-wrinkle firming moisturiser for sensitive skin with a formula that combines 10% pure vitamin C with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E for hydration and a visibly plumper look. It targets wrinkles, loss of firmness, and lack of luminosity.
Redermic Vitamin C Anti-ageing Eye Cream is an anti-ageing eye cream specifically designed for the delicate skin around the eye contour areas, which are often the first to show visible signs of ageing. Vitamin C is combined with other anti-ageing ingredients to brighten skin and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Suitable for those with sensitive eye contour areas.
In conclusion, incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine can significantly improve acne management and promote overall condition of the skin. By understanding the benefits of vitamin C for acne prone skin, selecting the right form and concentration of this ingredient, and building a balanced skincare routine, you can unlock the secret to clearer, healthier skin.
Frequently asked Questions
Can vitamin C cause breakouts?
How long does it take to see results from using a vitamin C serum?
Should I apply vitamin C serum in the morning or at night?
What concentration of vitamin C serum is recommended for acne-prone skin?
How can I manage minor adverse reactions to vitamin C?
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