Understanding Your Skin and Vitamin C

Topical anti-agers are big business these days—and why wouldn’t they be? The promise of looking younger without succumbing to procedures that plump and possibly freeze your face into soul-numbing submission is appealing to a whole lot of men and women (including us).

We give a lot of play to anti-agers  in the book—everything from peptides to vitamin A to CoQ10 came under our loupe—but one of the most exciting discoveries was the documented power of topical vitamin C. Good old vitamin C! Something we already know is great for us on the inside has shown to do everything from stimulate collagen production to even out skin tone. Isn’t it awesome when nature just works?

Not so fast. The issue with vitamin C is that it oxidizes very easily—which not only makes it ineffective, it can actually cause damage to the skin.

We’d read that certain forms were stable but when I broached the subject with Sophie Uliano last week at her party she was pretty skeptical. According to her and others there’s one way you can know: If your vitamin C cream or serum turns kinda yellowish, chances are it has oxidized.

So what’s the solution? Well, Uliano offers this great DIY recipe demo’d here that you can make in small batches. I like it and I think there are all kinds of ways to customize it, which I intend to experiment with and share. Either way, DIY may be one way to guarantee getting the full benefits of this wonder vitamin.

Have you tried C topically? Did you see results? Do you think your product had maybe oxidized? As always, shareshare if you have a story.

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24 Responses to “Understanding Your Skin and Vitamin C”
  1. Caralien says:

    I believe that ascorbic acid is also called lemon salt, and sold in packets at the pickling section of stores, or in most Middle Eastern stores. Craft stores may have it too, as it is half of what is in a bath bomb (the other half being baking soda).

    When I tried the lemon salt powder directly on my face, it burned horribly. The strongest vitamin c item I’ve managed to use there were fresh pineapple skins, which seemed to tighten my face after leaving it on for a few minutes before rinsing.

    Dr. Perricone wrote of the greatness of vitamin C used topically, though I didn’t see any improvement to my skin with his products, compared to my normal olive oil and essential oil regime.

  2. erniebufflo says:

    I use the Body Shop’s Vitamin C night cream. So far, the tube lasts me about a year, and it has yet to turn yellow. I think it makes my skin brighter and smoother.

  3. Nancy says:

    I used to use vitamin C on my face. I can’t remember the brand but it is sold at whole foods in a yellow/orange bottle. I loved it at first and it made my face look smoother but then after a while my face started turing bright red and burned after putting it on. I think the cream had oxidized because it was yellow and oily on top. Maybe that’s why I had a bad reaction but I’ve found that ever since then my skin is sensitive to things with vitamin C. I wonder if this is common.

  4. Alexandra says:

    I wonder too. I’m about to go buy the crystals at TJs… I have pretty sensitive skin so I’m curious to see how I react to regular use.

  5. Alexandra, I was there with you (great event!) and asked Sophie to confirm that when you use fruit and berries that are very rich in vitamin c naturally (like camu camu or goji berries) those products do NOT oxidize quickly because of the bioflavenoids that are present within the fruit. We only use vitamin c-rich ingredients and not vitamin c. Basically if you are getting a product that has ascorbic acid (a lab made product) then it is manufactured in one lab for the whole United States. So my advice is when you are looking for a product due to its vitamin c content – look to see the source of the vitamin c -if it is from fruit then there is less of a chance of it oxidizing quickly. Nature made the perfect combination of vitamins and minerals in many substances and we do not need to isolate them to get good results in skincare! I think our Kiwi Coconut Exfoliating Mask is proof of that!

  6. GreenistaSF says:

    I love all of Sophie’s tips and recently have been mixing a tiny bit of Vitamin-C powder into the pure Argan Oil I use at night as a moisturizer. Definitely recommend it!

  7. I love to intake daily 1000mg for a vitamin c….For more rediant skin and glowing skin..i also used it for my take glutathione…its a big help for the absorption of glutathione more effective,,,find me here…now

  8. reese says:

    can i just rub an orange on my face? and an apple on my butt for collagen help? … just got done reading the book! :) checked out from library… must buy soon! thank you ladies!

  9. Caralien says:

    I made the 50% vitamin c solution and I’m sad to report that it burned my skin. I’ll try adding more glycerine to it, but if you have delicate or sensitive skin.

  10. Susana says:

    I love Vitamine C since I found it at Kiehl´s (a marvellous concentrated cream with 10% of Vit C)
    I use to apply it on the face everymorning and I have a great face instantly.
    I dindn´t hear about the danger of it in any way, so I would like to thank you for this information.
    Best regards ,

  11. Adequate sleep and exercise are also essential for the skin apart from drinking plenty of water.

  12. You will love buffered vitamin C powder for facials. It’s the consistency of baking soda, so you can use it as a scrub. You must mix vitamin C with water to “activate” it, so creams and such may not do anything at all. The key is to buy BUFFERED vitamin C powder because it is non-acidic. It will not burn or irritate sensitive skin. If your vitamin C products do not turn yellow or orange over time, then they do not have much vitamin C in them. It only takes about an hour for vitamin C to become completely oxidized, and yes, it causes a lot more damage than good once it’s oxidized, it doesn’t simply become inactive. I wouldn’t leave it on my face for more than 20 minutes. I mix with a little water, apply, then wash off completely after about 15 minutes and it’s incredible. My wrinkles are almost completely gone, freckles, almost gone, acne, completely gone. The best vitamin C on the market is at http://nutri.com/index.cfm, just ask Dr. Weil http://www.drweil.com/. He’s amazing and he says that it’s the best that he’s ever found.

  13. skin clinic says:

    Acne is the most common skin problem every individual faces at some stage in their life. From youngsters to adults no one is spared of an acne condition. To loosen and cleanse blackheads, make a paste of oatmeal, honey and an egg white. Apply to the skin, massage for 10 minutes then rinse with lukewarm water. A mask of grated apple mixed with a little honey is an excellent remedy for pimples. Most facial masks can be applied to the skin for 15-20 minutes then washed off with warm water, followed by a cold rinse. One of the most popular home remedies for acne is toothpaste. Apply on the acne spots over night and wash off the next morning. Neem, fresh methi tomato pulp, mint leaves and turmeric powder are some of the best ingredient for an acne prone skin. You can mix equal quantities of lime juice with rose water and apply over the face. Leave for 30 mins and wash off.

  14. Nimra says:

    can i directly apply vitamin c on my face?? and where i can buy it??

  15. Alexandra says:

    Sophie Uliano makes a good DIY serum with store-bought vitamin C: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSWg2piAoOs

  16. 21rst Century man says:

    Advice from a gay mam: I buy Camu Camu powder from the health store ,mix it a tea spoon of it with anti- oxidant serum , a few drops of water , I found that the thicker the paste the more it tingles, I prefer to use a few drops of serum, then put a thin layer on my face and neck for about 20 minutes wash and then moisturize with some Strivectin. This beats Dr Sebagh vitamin C powder and cost 10 dollars. IT’S AMAZING . Natural and better than monthly chemical peels.

  17. flir says:

    I used vit c powder with lemon juice mixed well togetherfor a face mask, and I have to say, ” it worked wonderful.better than top high priced brands. In a month my darks spots were faded.

  18. Dawn says:

    21st century man…….i want to give that a try. What anti oxidant serum do you use?

  19. diva says:

    i take pinch of vitamin c powder and with few drops of water and scrubbing directly on my face. it works so i get both scrub and vitamin at same time.. voila..i could see that my skin looks brighter and tighter.

  20. Esther Soibelman says:

    Y not just use vitamin c liquid gel capsules by cracking one open every day and smoothing it on the skin??

  21. Antony says:

    Ascorbic Acid will do nothing for your skin. It is water soluble. If you want to try adding vit C to skincare preparations you need fat soluble Vitamin C such as ascorbyl palmitate. The body gets all the vitamin C it needs from a pretty run-of-the-mill diet so long as it’s balanced with fruits & veg. You cannot ‘over do’ vitamin C intake either – the body excretes what it doesn’t need.

    There has been a concerted marketing effort over the past few decades within the Vitamin supplement industry to get us to take Vitamin C tablets and guess what – those 1,000 mg wonder tablets are massively surplus to requirements… ho hum.

    Here’s a thought – try citrus fruits and berries for a few months, drink plenty of water during the day, switch off your laptop/TV/ tablet at least an hour before bed, don;t eat a meal or drink caffeine at least a couple of hours before bed and get 8 hours sleep using a pillow that supports the neck and prevents you turning on your side. The simple fact of sleeping on your side scrunching up your facial skin will cause as much wrinklage as too much UV, alcohol or smoking over a prolonged period.

    On the psych front be open to ageing gracefully. Anxiety, stress, worry create stress hormones anathema to healthy looking skin.

    That’s what those £100 for 30ml super anti ageing cream peeps don;t want you to know or accept.

  22. Lars Thane says:

    If Vitamin C is so essential in keeping skin healthy, why wouldn’t taking the actual citrus fruit from your local produce store be just as effective when applying their natural juices on your face?

  23. sam says:

    I have sensitive skin to the point i have instant break outs over almost every cream. I got vit c powder from central market. Its the pharmacuticle grade white powder. I take a pill size amount, put it in a dark brown…. Not blue must be dark brown, glass 2 oz bottle with clean, purified water. Shake it and let it sit overa few min then wipe on clean face with cotton ball. It does burn a bit but i sleep in it and it produces an oil that sits on top of your skin. I wash only with water and rag in morning and my break outs are nearly gone, my skin is super soft and more hydrated. 3 x a week i put the powder straight on my skin all over w water like a paste let it sit 20 min. Then rinse off with plain water. No soap or rag. It burns bad but my skin is so soft and clear its amazing. I mean amazing. You can keep bottle for about a week in cool area out of light and heat. If it turns orange throw it out. Its about $9.95 for a big bottle of the raw powder.

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