- Vitamin C Powder (Oral)
- Commonly used brand name(s)
- Uses for Vitamin C Powder
- Importance of Diet
- Before using Vitamin C Powder
- Proper use of ascorbic acid
- Precautions while using Vitamin C Powder
- Vitamin C Powder side effects
- Further information
- More about ascorbic acid
- Why do people take vitamin C?
- Micronutrient Information Center
- The Bioavailability of Different Forms of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- The Best Vitamin C Serums for Younger, Brighter Skin
- 3 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum
- DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face
- 10 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum
- Promotes Collagen Production
- Protects Skin From Sun Damage
- Reduces Under-Eye Circles
- Speeds Up Healing
- Reduces Skin Discoloration
- Keeps Skin Looking Younger
- Improves Hydration and Moisture
- Creates Brighter, Healthier Skin
- Reduces Inflammation
- Speeds Up Healing of Sunburns
- About Vitamin C Serum
- Why Use It?
- How to Use It
- ** Bonus **
- 1. Vitamin C serum can and will act as a pro-oxidant, causing skin damage
- 2. Vitamin C reacts with common compounds found in cosmetics.
- 3. Tachyphylaxis and depleting your collagen during your youth
- 4. Vitamin C Serums Cause Acne in Healthy Skin
- Follow Up Articles:
- The Scientific Papers Supporting Vitamin C Serum’s Skin Benefits Are Flawed
- This is the one antioxidant your skin can’t do without
- It lives up to the hype
- It’s an all-rounder
- All ages should use it
- Watch out for potency and packaging
- Read the label
- Some delivery methods are better than others
- It’s a morning vitamin
- It’s got a few enemies
- How to Add Vitamin C Powder to Your Skincare Routine
- Vitabrid C¹² FACE Brightening Powder
- Versed Found the Light Powder with Vitamin C
- FRESH Vitamin Nectar Vitamin C Brightening Powder
- Neogen Real Vita C Powder Lemon
- Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream
- Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder
- Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C
- BajaZen Vitamin C Raw Mask
- OSEA Vitamin C Probiotic Face Polish – Booster Size
- GoopGlow Morning Skin Superpowder
- Homemade Vitamin C Powder
- How to Make Homemade Vitamin C Powder
- Why Homemade Vitamin C is Better
- How to Make Your Own Natural Vitamin C Supplement
- Lemon Peel Vitamin C Candy for the Kids
- Ways to Use Your Homemade Vitamin C (+Dosage)
- How to Make a Vitamin C Drink
Vitamin C Powder (Oral)
Generic Name: ascorbic acid (Oral route)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 5, 2019.
- Side Effects
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Cemill 1000
- Cemill 500
- C-Time w/Rose Hips
- One-Gram C
- Sunkist Vitamin C
- Revitonus C-1000 Yellow Ampule
- Vitamin C Powder
Available Dosage Forms:
- Tablet, Chewable
- Powder for Suspension
- Powder for Solution
- Capsule, Extended Release
- Tablet, Extended Release
Therapeutic Class: Nutritive Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Vitamin C (class)
Uses for Vitamin C Powder
Vitamins are compounds that you must have for growth and health. They are needed in small amounts only and are usually available in the foods that you eat. Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is necessary for wound healing. It is needed for many functions in the body, including helping the body use carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Vitamin C also strengthens blood vessel walls.
Lack of vitamin C can lead to a condition called scurvy, which causes muscle weakness, swollen and bleeding gums, loss of teeth, and bleeding under the skin, as well as tiredness and depression. Wounds also do not heal easily. Your health care professional may treat scurvy by prescribing vitamin C for you.
Some conditions may increase your need for vitamin C. These include:
- AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
- Diarrhea (prolonged)
- Fever (prolonged)
- Infection (prolonged)
- Intestinal diseases
- Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Stomach ulcer
- Stress (continuing)
- Surgical removal of stomach
Also, the following groups of people may have a deficiency of vitamin C:
- Infants receiving unfortified formulas
- Patients using an artificial kidney (on hemodialysis)
- Patients who undergo surgery
- Individuals who are exposed to long periods of cold temperatures
Increased need for vitamin C should be determined by your health care professional.
Vitamin C may be used for other conditions as determined by your health care professional.
Claims that vitamin C is effective for preventing senility and the common cold, and for treating asthma, some mental problems, cancer, hardening of the arteries, allergies, eye ulcers, blood clots, gum disease, and pressure sores have not been proven. Although vitamin C is being used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, there is not enough information to show that these uses are effective.
Injectable vitamin C is given by or under the supervision of a health care professional. Other forms of vitamin C are available without a prescription.
Importance of Diet
For good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods. If you think that you are not getting enough vitamins and/or minerals in your diet, you may choose to take a dietary supplement.
Vitamin C is found in various foods, including citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit), green vegetables (peppers, broccoli, cabbage), tomatoes, and potatoes. It is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible since they contain the most vitamins. Food processing may destroy some of the vitamins. For example, exposure to air, drying, salting, or cooking (especially in copper pots), mincing of fresh vegetables, or mashing potatoes may reduce the amount of vitamin C in foods. Freezing does not usually cause loss of vitamin C unless foods are stored for a very long time.
Vitamins alone will not take the place of a good diet and will not provide energy. Your body also needs other substances found in food such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates, and fat. Vitamins themselves often cannot work without the presence of other foods.
The daily amount of vitamin C needed is defined in several different ways.
- For U.S.—
- Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are the amount of vitamins and minerals needed to provide for adequate nutrition in most healthy persons. RDAs for a given nutrient may vary depending on a person’s age, sex, and physical condition (e.g., pregnancy).
- Daily Values (DVs) are used on food and dietary supplement labels to indicate the percent of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient that a serving provides. DV replaces the previous designation of United States Recommended Daily Allowances (USRDAs).
- For Canada—
- Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) are used to determine the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to provide adequate nutrition and lessen the risk of chronic disease.
Normal daily recommended intakes for vitamin C are generally defined as follows:
|Infants and children
Birth to 3 years of age
|4 to 6 years of age||45||25|
|7 to 10 years of age||45||25|
|Adolescent and adult males||50–60||25–40|
|Adolescent and adult females||50–60||25–30|
Before using Vitamin C Powder
If you are taking this dietary supplement without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For this supplement, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Problems in children have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.
Problems in older adults have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this dietary supplement, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this dietary supplement with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using this dietary supplement with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this dietary supplement. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood problems—High doses of vitamin C may cause certain blood problems
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus—Very high doses of vitamin C may interfere with tests for sugar in the urine
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency—High doses of vitamin C may cause hemolytic anemia
- Kidney stones (history of)—High doses of vitamin C may increase risk of kidney stones in the urinary tract
Proper use of ascorbic acid
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain ascorbic acid. It may not be specific to Vitamin C Powder. Please read with care.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (capsules, tablets, oral solution, syrup):
- To prevent deficiency, the amount taken by mouth is based on normal daily recommended intakes:
- For the U.S.
- Adult and teenage males—50 to 60 milligrams (mg) per day.
- Adult and teenage females—50 to 60 mg per day.
- Pregnant females—70 mg per day.
- Breast-feeding females—90 to 95 mg per day.
- Smokers—100 mg per day.
- Children 4 to 10 years of age—45 mg per day.
- Children birth to 3 years of age—30 to 40 mg per day.
- For Canada
- Adult and teenage males—25 to 40 mg per day.
- Adult and teenage females—25 to 30 mg per day.
- Pregnant females—30 to 40 mg per day.
- Breast-feeding females—55 mg per day.
- Smokers—45 to 60 mg per day.
- Children 4 to 10 years of age—25 mg per day.
- Children birth to 3 years of age—20 mg per day.
- To treat deficiency:
- Adults and teenagers—Treatment dose is determined by prescriber for each individual based on the severity of deficiency. The following dose has been determined for scurvy: 500 mg a day for at least 2 weeks.
- Children—Treatment dose is determined by prescriber for each individual based on the severity of deficiency. The following dose has been determined for scurvy: 100 to 300 mg a day for at least 2 weeks.
- To prevent deficiency, the amount taken by mouth is based on normal daily recommended intakes:
For those individuals taking the oral liquid form of vitamin C:
- This preparation is to be taken by mouth even though it comes in a dropper bottle.
- This dietary supplement may be dropped directly into the mouth or mixed with cereal, fruit juice, or other food.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
If you miss taking a vitamin for one or more days there is no cause for concern, since it takes some time for your body to become seriously low in vitamins.
Store the dietary supplement in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using Vitamin C Powder
Vitamin C is not stored in the body. If you take more than you need, the extra vitamin C will pass into your urine. Very large doses may also interfere with tests for sugar in diabetics and with tests for blood in the stool.
Vitamin C Powder side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Less common or rare
– with high doses
- Side or lower back pain
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Less common or rare
– with high doses
- dizziness or faintness (with the injection only)
- flushing or redness of skin
- increase in urination (mild)
- nausea or vomiting
- stomach cramps
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 2019 Truven Health Analytics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Why do people take vitamin C?
Studies have shown that vitamin C may reduce the odds of getting a cold, but only in specific groups in extreme circumstances, such as soldiers in subarctic environments, skiers, and marathon runners. Studies have not found solid evidence that vitamin C helps prevent or treat colds in average situations.
Vitamin C’s antioxidant benefits are also unclear. While some studies of vitamin C supplements have been promising, they have not found solid evidence that vitamin C supplements help with cancer, stroke, asthma, and many other diseases. Some evidence suggests that vitamin C may be helpful in people who have high cholesterol and in preventing cataracts, but more studies are needed to prove these effects.
Data on vitamin C and heart disease are mixed. Some studies show an association between low levels of vitamin C and heart disease risk, yet many studies have linked the use of vitamin C supplements with an increased risk of heart disease.
Data on taking vitamin C for hypertension are also mixed. Taking vitamin C with antihypertensive medications may slightly decrease systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic pressure. Supplemental vitamin C — 500 mg per day taken without antihypertensives — doesn’t seem to reduce systolic or diastolic blood pressure. Type 2 diabetics who supplemented with vitamin C and remained on their antihypertensive medications seemed to have a reduction in blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Lower levels of vitamin C in the blood are associated with increased diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Studies have shown that dietary rather than supplemental sources of vitamin C are more effective in keeping blood pressure in check.
A substantial number of Americans may have low intake levels of vitamin C due to the inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables. The proven and effective use of vitamin C is for treating vitamin C deficiency and conditions that result from it, like scurvy.
Vitamin C also seems to help the body absorb the mineral iron.
Micronutrient Information Center
The Bioavailability of Different Forms of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
In the rapidly expanding market of dietary supplements, it is possible to find vitamin C in many different forms with many claims regarding its efficacy or bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the degree to which a nutrient (or drug) becomes available to the target tissue after it has been administered. We reviewed the literature for the results of scientific research on the bioavailability of different forms of vitamin C.
Natural vs. synthetic ascorbic acid
Natural and synthetic L-ascorbic acid are chemically identical, and there are no known differences in their biological activity. The possibility that the bioavailability of L-ascorbic acid from natural sources might differ from that of synthetic ascorbic acid was investigated in at least two human studies, and no clinically significant differences were observed. A study of 12 males (6 smokers and 6 nonsmokers) found the bioavailability of synthetic ascorbic acid (powder administered in water) to be slightly superior to that of orange juice, based on blood levels of ascorbic acid, and not different based on ascorbic acid in leukocytes (white blood cells) (1). A study in 68 male nonsmokers found that ascorbic acid consumed in cooked broccoli, orange juice, orange slices, and as synthetic ascorbic acid tablets are equally bioavailable, as measured by plasma ascorbic acid levels (2, 3).
Different forms of ascorbic acid
The gastrointestinal absorption of ascorbic acid occurs through an active transport process, as well as through passive diffusion. At low gastrointestinal concentrations of ascorbic acid active transport predominates, while at high gastrointestinal concentrations active transport becomes saturated, leaving only passive diffusion. In theory, slowing down the rate of stomach emptying (e.g., by taking ascorbic acid with food or taking a slow-release form of ascorbic acid) should increase its absorption. While the bioavailability of ascorbic acid appears equivalent whether it is in the form of powder, chewable tablets, or non-chewable tablets, the bioavailability of ascorbic acid from slow-release preparations is less certain.
A study of three men and one woman found 1 gram of ascorbic acid to be equally well absorbed from solution, tablets, and chewable tablets, but the absorption from a timed-release capsule was 50% lower. Absorption was assessed by measuring urinary excretion of ascorbic acid after an intravenous dose of ascorbic acid and then comparing it to urinary excretion after the oral dosage forms (4).
A more recent study examined the plasma levels of ascorbic acid in 59 male smokers supplemented for two months with either 500 mg/day of slow-release ascorbic acid, 500 mg/day of plain ascorbic acid, or a placebo. After two months of supplementation no significant differences in plasma ascorbic acid levels between the slow-release and plain ascorbic acid groups were found (5). A second placebo-controlled trial also evaluated plain ascorbic acid versus slow-release ascorbic acid in 48 male smokers (6). Participants were supplemented with either 250 mg plain ascorbic acid, 250 mg slow-release ascorbic acid, or placebo twice daily for four weeks. No differences were observed in the change in plasma ascorbate concentration or area under the curve following ingestion of either formulation.
Mineral salts of ascorbic acid (mineral ascorbates) are less acidic, and therefore, considered “buffered.” Thus, mineral ascorbates are often recommended to people who experience gastrointestinal problems (upset stomach or diarrhea) with plain ascorbic acid. There appears to be little scientific research to support or refute the claim that mineral ascorbates are less irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. When mineral salts of ascorbic acid are taken, both the ascorbic acid and the mineral appear to be well absorbed, so it is important to consider the dose of the mineral accompanying the ascorbic acid when taking large doses of mineral ascorbates. For the following discussion, it should be noted that 1 gram (g)= 1,000 milligrams (mg) and 1 milligram (mg) = 1,000 micrograms (μg). Mineral ascorbates are available in the following forms:
- Sodium ascorbate: 1,000 mg of sodium ascorbate generally contains 111 mg of sodium. Individuals following low-sodium diets (e.g., for high blood pressure) are generally advised to keep their total dietary sodium intake to less than 2,500 mg/day. Thus, megadoses of vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate could significantly increase sodium intake (see Sodium Chloride).
- Calcium ascorbate: Calcium ascorbate generally provides 90-110 mg of calcium (890-910 mg of ascorbic acid) per 1,000 mg of calcium ascorbate. Calcium in this form appears to be reasonably well absorbed. The recommended dietary calcium intake for adults is 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day. Total calcium intake should not exceed the UL, which is 2,500 mg/day for adults aged 19-50 years and 2,000 mg/day for adults older than 50 years (see Calcium).
The following mineral ascorbates are more likely to be found in combination with other mineral ascorbates, as well as other minerals. It’s a good idea to check the labels of dietary supplements for the ascorbic acid dose as well as the dose of each mineral. Recommended dietary intakes and maximum upper levels of intake (when available) are listed after the individual mineral ascorbates below:
- Potassium ascorbate: The minimal requirement for potassium is thought to be between 1.6 and 2.0 g/day. Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of potassium, and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may provide as much as 8 to 11 g/day. Acute and potentially fatal potassium toxicity (hyperkalemia) is thought to occur at a daily intake of about 18 g/day of potassium in adults. Individuals taking potassium-sparing diuretics and those with renal insufficiency (kidney failure) should avoid significant intake of potassium ascorbate. The purest form of commercially available potassium ascorbate contains 0.175 grams (175 mg) of potassium per gram of ascorbate (see Potassium).
- Magnesium ascorbate: The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 400-420 mg/day for adult men and 310-320 mg/day for adult women. The upper level (UL) of intake for magnesium from supplements should not exceed 350 mg/day (see Magnesium).
- Zinc ascorbate: The RDA for zinc is 11 mg/day for adult men and 8 mg/day for adult women. The upper level (UL) of zinc intake for adults should not exceed 40 mg/day (see Zinc).
- Molybdenum ascorbate: The RDA for molybdenum is 45 micrograms (μg)/day for adult men and women. The upper level (UL) of molybdenum intake for adults should not exceed 2,000 μg (2 mg)/day (see Molybdenum).
- Chromium ascorbate: The recommended dietary intake (AI) for chromium is 30-35 μg/day for adult men and 20-25 μg/day for adult women. A maximum upper level (UL) of intake has not been determined by the US Food and Nutrition Board (see Chromium).
- Manganese ascorbate: The recommended dietary intake (AI) for manganese is 2.3 mg/day for adult men and 1.8 mg/day for adult women. The upper level (UL) of intake for manganese for adults should not exceed 11 mg/day. Manganese ascorbate is found in some preparations of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, and following the recommended dose on the label of such supplements could result in a daily intake exceeding the upper level for manganese (see Manganese).
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids or flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in plants. Vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables, especially citrus fruit, are often rich sources of flavonoids as well. The effect of bioflavonoids on the bioavailability of ascorbic acid has been recently reviewed (7).
Results from the 10 clinical studies comparing the absorption of vitamin C alone or vitamin C in flavonoid-containing foods showed no appreciable differences in bioavailability of ascorbic acid. Only one study, which included five men and three women, found that a 500-mg supplement of synthetic ascorbic acid, given in a natural citrus extract containing bioflavonoids, proteins, and carbohydrates, was more slowly absorbed and 35% more bioavailable than synthetic ascorbic acid alone, when based on plasma levels of ascorbic acid (8). The remaining studies showed either no change or slightly lower plasma ascorbate levels in subjects who consumed vitamin C with flavonoids compared to flavonoids alone (7).
Another assessment of vitamin C bioavailability is measuring urinary ascorbate levels to approximate rates of vitamin C excretion. One study in six young Japanese males (22-26 years old) showed a significant reduction in urinary excretion of ascorbic acid in the presence of acerola juice, a natural source of both vitamin C and flavonoids (9). However, three separate studies showed that urinary levels of vitamin C were increased after consumption of kiwifruit (10), blackcurrant juice (11), or orange juice (1). Overall, the impact of flavonoids on the bioavailability of vitamin C seems to be negligible; however, there is a need for carefully controlled studies using specific flavonoid extracts (7).
Ascorbate and vitamin C metabolites (Ester-C®)
Ester-C® contains mainly calcium ascorbate, but also contains small amounts of the vitamin C metabolites, dehydroascorbic acid (oxidized ascorbic acid), calcium threonate, and trace levels of xylonate and lyxonate. In their literature, the manufacturers state that the metabolites, especially threonate, increase the bioavailability of the vitamin C in this product, and they indicate that they have performed a study in humans that demonstrates the increased bioavailability of vitamin C in Ester-C®. This study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. A small published study of vitamin C bioavailability in eight women and one man found no difference between Ester-C® and commercially available ascorbic acid tablets with respect to the absorption and urinary excretion of vitamin C (12). Ester-C® should not be confused with ascorbyl palmitate, which is also marketed as “vitamin C ester” (see below).
Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble antioxidant used to increase the shelf life of vegetable oils and potato chips (13). It is an amphipathic molecule, meaning one end is water-soluble and the other end is fat-soluble. This dual solubility allows it to be incorporated into cell membranes. When incorporated into the cell membranes of human red blood cells, ascorbyl palmitate has been found to protect them from oxidative damage and to protect α-tocopherol (a fat-soluble antioxidant) from oxidation by free radicals (14). However, the protective effects of ascorbyl palmitate on cell membranes have only been demonstrated in the test tube. Taking ascorbyl palmitate orally probably doesn’t result in any significant incorporation into cell membranes because most of it appears to be hydrolyzed (broken apart into palmitate and ascorbic acid) in the human digestive tract before it is absorbed. The ascorbic acid released by the hydrolysis of ascorbyl palmitate appears to be as bioavailable as ascorbic acid alone (15). The presence of ascorbyl palmitate in oral supplements contributes to the ascorbic acid content of the supplement and probably helps protect fat-soluble antioxidants in the supplement. The roles of vitamin C in promoting collagen synthesis and as an antioxidant have generated interest in its use on the skin (see the article, Vitamin C and Skin Health). Ascorbyl palmitate is frequently used in topical preparations because it is more stable than some aqueous (water-soluble) forms of vitamin C (16). Ascorbyl palmitate is also marketed as vitamin C ester,” which should not be confused with Ester-C® (see above).
D-Isoascorbic acid (Erythorbic acid)
Erythorbic acid is an isomer of ascorbic acid. Isomers are compounds that have the same kinds and numbers of atoms, but different molecular arrangements. The difference in molecular arrangement among isomers may result in different chemical properties. Erythorbic acid is used in the US as an antioxidant food additive and is generally recognized as safe. It has been estimated that more than 200 mg erythorbic acid per capita is introduced daily into the US food system. Unlike ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid does not appear to exert vitamin C activity, for example, it did not prevent scurvy in guinea pigs (one of the few animal species other than humans that does not synthesize ascorbic acid). However, guinea pig studies also indicated that increased erythorbic acid intake reduced the bioavailability of ascorbic acid by up to 50%. In contrast, a series of studies in young women found that up to 1,000 mg/day of erythorbic acid for as long as 40 days was rapidly cleared from the body and had little effect on the bioavailability of ascorbic acid, indicating that erythorbic acid does not diminish the bioavailability of ascorbic acid in humans at nutritionally relevant levels of intake (17).
Other formulations of vitamin C
PureWay-C® is composed of vitamin C and lipid metabolites. Two cell culture studies using PureWay-C® have been published by the same investigators (18, 19), but in vivo data are currently lacking. A small study in healthy adults found that serum levels of vitamin C did not differ when a single oral dose (1 gram) of either PureWay-C® or ascorbic acid was administered (20).
Another formulation of vitamin C, liposomal-encapsulated vitamin C (e.g., Lypo-spheric™ vitamin C) is now commercially available. One report suggested that liposomal-encapsulated vitamin C may be better absorbed than the vitamin in a non-encapsulated form (21).
Large-scale, pharmacokinetic studies are needed to determine how the bioavailability of these vitamin C formulations compares to that of ascorbic acid.
2. Mangels, A.R. et al. The bioavailability to humans of ascorbic acid from oranges, orange juice, and cooked broccoli is similar to that of synthetic ascorbic acid. Journal of Nutrition. 1993; volume 123: pages 1054-1061. (PubMed)
4. Yung, S. et al. Ascorbic acid absorption in humans: a comparison among several dosage forms. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 1982; volume 71: pages 282-285. (PubMed)
5. Nyyssonen, K. et al. Effect of supplementation of smoking men with plain or slow release ascorbic acid on lipoprotein oxidation. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1997; volume 51: pages 154-163. (PubMed)
8. Vinson, J.A. & Bose, P. Comparative bioavailability to humans of ascorbic acid alone or in a citrus extract. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1988; volume 48: pages 501-604. (PubMed)
11. Jones E, Hughes RE. The influence of bioflavonoids on the absorption of vitamin C. IRCS Med Sci. 1984;12:320.
12. Johnston, C.S. & Luo, B. Comparison of the absorption and excretion of three commercially available sources of vitamin C. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 1994; volume 94: pages 779-781.
13. Cort, W.M. Antioxidant activity of tocopherols, ascorbyl palmitate, and ascorbic acid and their mode of action. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. 1974; volume 51: pages 321-325.
14. Ross, D. et al. Ascorbate 6-palmitate protects human erythrocytes from oxidative damage. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 1999; volume 26: pages 81-89. (PubMed)
16. Austria R. et al. Stability of vitamin C derivatives in solution and in topical formulations. Journal of Pharmacology and Biomedical Analysis. 1997; volume 15: pages 795-801. (PubMed)
17. Sauberlich, H.E. et al. Effects of erythorbic acid on vitamin C metabolism in young women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1996; volume 64: pages 336-346. (PubMed)
18. Weeks BS, Perez PP. Absorption rates and free radical scavenging values of vitamin C-lipid metabolites in human lymphoblastic cells. Med Sci Monit. 2007;13(10):BR205-210. (PubMed)
19. Weeks BS, Perez PP. A novel vitamin C preparation enhances neurite formation and fibroblast adhesion and reduces xenobiotic-induced T-cell hyperactivation. Med Sci Monit. 2007;13(3):BR51-58. (PubMed)
20. Pancorbo D, Vazquez C, Fletcher MA. Vitamin C-lipid metabolites: uptake and retention and effect on plasma C-reactive protein and oxidized LDL levels in healthy volunteers. Med Sci Monit. 2008;14(11):CR547-551. (PubMed)
21. Davis JL, Paris HL, Beals JW, et al. Liposomal-encapsulated ascorbic scid: influence on vitamin C bioavailability and capacity to protect against ischemia-reperfusion injury. Nutr Metab Insights. 2016;9:25-30. (PubMed)
Last updated 8/3/16 Copyright 2000-2020 Linus Pauling Institute
The Best Vitamin C Serums for Younger, Brighter Skin
Dermatologists and beauty bloggers rave about vitamin C serums, and it’s no wonder it’s so popular. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and helps to reduce signs of aging by repairing the damage done by free radicals and the sun. It can even help to protect against future damage (though it’s no substitute for sunscreen). The result: brighter and firmer skin, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and a more even skin tone.
“It’s good for everyone to include in their regime,” says Arielle Nagler, MD, dermatologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. She recommends applying it daily. “There is some good evidence that long-term use of vitamin C topically, even more so that taking it orally, is associated with improved skin texture and quality,” she continues. Fortunately, it’s potent stuff, so you only need a few drops for each application.
RELATED: The Exact Vitamin C Serum That Gives Lady Gaga Her Incredible Glow
There are a lot of different serums to chose from, each with different concentrations and even variants of vitamin C. This can make finding the right one for you just a little bit confusing. It’s all about finding a compromise between a high level of vitamin C to boost the production of collagen, but not too much that it brings on redness and irritation. Debra Jaliman, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells Health via email that she recommends serums with concentrations of 10 to 15%.
And if you’re wondering why there are so many different derivatives of vitamin C, it’s because they’ve been produced to make it more stable and less likely to irritate the skin. Common ones to look out for include include absorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate.
RELATED: One Drop of This Under-Eye Concentrate Works Better Than Any Eye Cream
It’s important to stay consistent with your vitamin C regimen because that’s when you’ll see the best results. And don’t worry if you notice some light tingling or redness upon your first few applications—it’s normal with the potent ingredient. If irritation persists, though, you should let your derm know.
Read on for vitamin C serums that come personally recommended by dermatologists and beauty editors.
Plus: Want more anti-aging recommendations from Health? Here are our favorite over-the-counter retinol creams; the best eye creams that contain retinol; the best niacinamide serums for clearer, firmer skin; and the all-time best anti-aging products you can buy on Amazon that are affordable, too.
This post was originally published on December 5, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.
Skincare is so important, so no wonder there’s such a plethora of products out there to choose from — including in our natural foods grocery stores. As a result, it’s pretty confusing, too, with all of the choices on the market. But if you haven’t tried vitamin C, such as a DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face, you may be missing out some big skin benefits.
While we know that eating vitamin C–rich foods like citrus fruits, berries and dark leafy greens (such as kale) can definitely heal inside the body, making vitamin C as part of your daily skin regimen can heal from outside-in as well! Vitamin C provides repair and growth of the skin tissue. It also contains amazing and powerful antioxidants that can protect the skin from damaging free radicals.
How Vitamin C Works for Youthful Skin
Vitamin C is one of nature’s amazing and naturally occurring antioxidants in nature. While plants can synthesize the vitamin C into useful form, our bodies cannot because we are missing the enzyme L-glucono-gamma lactone oxidase that is required for the synthesis of vitamin C.
That is why we have to obtain our vitamin C from citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, papaya and vegetables, like leafy greens and broccoli. Sailors knew this having carried vitamin C-rich foods during their travels to help them avoid scurvy and other diseases. Eating forms of vitamin C is definitely crucial in good health, but absorption of it is limited.
Therefore, while it will not benefit you to overconsume vitamin C foods, applying it topically such as with a DIY vitamin C serum can be of great benefit to the skin and can become a part of your natural skin care routine. (1)
3 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum
1. Prevents Changes Due to Photoaging
Because vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, it’s a great option to treat and prevent effects of photoaging. A study of 19 patients between the ages of 36 and 72 years who had Fitzpatrick skin types I, II and III, and mild to moderately photodamaged facial skin were assessed. The study showed significant improvements by about 68–74 percent improvement in their skin after three months of use of ascorbic acid application. The review showed significant improvement in fine wrinkles, texture and skin tone of photodamaged skin. (2)
2. Reduces Hyperpigmentation
Though hyperpigmentation is relatively harmless, it can cause those unsightly dark spots on the skin, especially the face and hands. Basically, patches of skin appear darker in color. This happens when there is an excess of melanin that creates deposits in the skin.
You may have heard of age or “liver” spots. These are the visible signs of hyperpigmentation and typically caused by damaging sun exposure. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps brighten the skin through what is called tyrosinase inhibitors. These little inhibitors help prevent the development of excessive amounts of melanin. (3) (4)
3. Provides Essential Collagen Support
Vitamin C helps develop healthy collagen by teaming up with certain enzymes that are responsible for the effectiveness of collagen molecules. As such, it helps provide support for connective tissue plus the healing of wounds and blemishes on the skin.
Additionally, vitamin C plays a role in collagen synthesis by enhancing the collagen “gene expression” and overall regulation of collagen synthesis. Scurvy, as mentioned above, is due to impaired collagen synthesis — or the result of too little vitamin C. While scurvy is not heard of as much today, it brings awareness to the power of a DIY vitamin C serum for the skin and the importance of collagen support. (5)
Homemade Vitamin C Serum
Using a small bowl and a whisk, combine the vitamin C powder and filtered water. Blend well. As mentioned, the vitamin C can help brighten the skin and provide more youthful looking appearance. It can fade age spots and improve elasticity!
Now, add the aloe and blend again. Aloe vera has long been known for its amazing skin benefits. In fact, the ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.” Today, it’s still used to treat various skin conditions, wounds and burns, and even eczema and psoriasis.
Once you have added the aloe, add the vitamin E oil and the frankincense oil until everything is completely mixed together. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an amazing antioxidant. When combined with vitamin C and the rest of these ingredients, it becomes even more powerful! The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) described the process of neutralizing free radicals using vitamin E. These free radicals can cause damage to cells and may even add to the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The ODS goes on to explain that the anti-inflammatory benefits it possesses can inhibit platelet aggregation and provide a boost to the immune system. (6) Frankincense is one of my all-time favorite essential oils. This ingredient tops off the amazing DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face due to its ageless properties. It can help reduce acne, eliminate and even prevent wrinkles, and help tighten skin, especially in those saggy spots like just above the jaw line and under the eyes!
Now that all ingredients have been blended, use a funnel to transfer the serum into a dark bottle. It is best to keep it away from bright light and the sun. Using a dark amber bottle can help, and you can keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
The best way to use this DIY vitamin C serum for the face is just before bed. Wash your face with this homemade face wash, then use a my DIY rosewater toner. Allow the face to dry, then make sure to gently shake the serum bottle just before use and apply a small amount of my DIY Vitamin C Serum. Again, allow it to dry and top it off with this DIY lavender and coconut oil moisturizer.
Note: The Vitamin C Serum should only be used at night to avoid exposure to the sun. Make sure to cleanse the skin the next morning before applying sunscreen and makeup.
DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face
Total Time: 10 minutes Serves: About 1.5 ounces
- 1 teaspoon GMO-free vitamin C powder
- 1 teaspoon filtered or purified water
- 1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
- ⅛ teaspoon vitamin E oil
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
- Using a bowl and a whisk, blend vitamin C powder and filtered water.
- Add the aloe vera gel. Blend again.
- Add the vitamin E oil and frankincense. Mix all ingredients until well blended.
- Using a funnel, transfer the serum into small amber bottle to help reduce light exposure.
- Apply at night, making sure to remove in the morning since it can cause sensitivity when exposed to the sun.
- You may want to start with every other night to make sure your skin responds well. Results are usually noticeable within a few weeks up to 3 months.
10 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum
If you want to look like a 20-something well into your 40’s, do something more than pray that your youthful good genes kick in. Follow the road many a celebrity like Victoria Secret models Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio have taken, and commit to using anti-aging vitamin C serum to help maintain a healthy, youthful complexion long into the future.
Ideal for women of all ages and skin types, the skin care benefits of vitamin C serum are numerous, beginning with the most popular – it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles.
Promotes Collagen Production
The bane of any woman’s existence are fine lines and wrinkles. But rather than give into the abyss of aging, the regular use of vitamin C products can combat their very appearance because of their concentrated levels of antioxidant-rich vitamin C, which helps boost collagen production, filling in fine lines and wrinkles. As a result, you may find that you have more youthful looking skin without the need for any expensive and potentially risky cosmetic work!
Protects Skin From Sun Damage
In addition to its anti-aging benefits, topical vitamin C is also great for protecting your skin from damage—especially from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. That’s because vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it naturally helps to strengthen your skin and repel things that could damage it. Of course, topical vitamin C should not be considered an alternative to wearing sunscreen, but when combined with regular sunscreen application, it can really work wonders for your skin.
Reduces Under-Eye Circles
Vitamin C has also been found to help even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of under-eye circles. This is great for those who are tired of trying to conceal the dark circles under their eyes and want to enjoy a more youthful, bright, and vibrant appearance.
Speeds Up Healing
Studies have also found that high levels of Vitamin C can help to speed up the body’s natural healing processes. This makes it ideal for use on the face and other areas of skin, as it can help to heal small cuts, acne scars, and other blemishes more quickly and effectively.
Reduces Skin Discoloration
If you suffer from skin redness or other discoloration of the skin, then a quality vitamin C serum may also be able to help you achieve a more uniform skin tone and better complexion. Specifically, vitamin C is great for reducing embarrassing redness. With just a few uses, you may find that you have a more even skin tone.
Keeps Skin Looking Younger
No matter what your age, it’s always a good idea to be preemptive about avoiding wrinkles, sagging skin, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Vitamin C can help your skin look younger for longer, not only by stimulating collagen production, but by evening out your skin tone and brightening your complexion as well.
Improves Hydration and Moisture
If you suffer from dry skin, vitamin C is a must. This is especially true if you have tried using moisturizers and cremes in the past, only to find that your skin is still dry and flaky. With topical vitamin C products , you can enjoy the high concentration of vitamins that your body truly needs to improve moisture content and overall hydration.
Creates Brighter, Healthier Skin
In addition to improving your skin’s overall complexion, vitamin C can brighten otherwise dull skin, allowing it to look healthier and more vibrant. Strong concentrations of this vitamin leave the skin looking and feeling replenished and revitalized.
It has also been found that vitamin C, in high enough concentrations, has inflammation-reducing qualities. This is ideal for people who tend to wake up in the morning with unsightly puffiness around the eyes or other areas of the skin/face. A little bit of vitamin C serum can go a long way here.
Speeds Up Healing of Sunburns
Finally, in addition to protecting your skin from sun damage, vitamin C can also be effective in helping to speed up healing of sunburns. Apply some after you have been sun burned, and the vitamins will help to promote faster healing so you can get rid of redness and find relief from itching, burning, and other symptoms associated with sunburn.
These are just some of the many benefits of vitamin C as it pertains to your skin and face. And while it’s easy to go out and find lotions, cremes, and other moisturizers at your local drug store that claim to contain vitamin C, it’s important to realize that your skin needs a very high concentration of this vitamin in order to see results. This is why you’re encouraged to use concentrated serums rather than a basic creme or lotion.
About Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that the body needs for a number of reasons. However, it proves most beneficial to the skin—particularly around the face. For this reason, many people these days use skin-care products that contain vitamin C, such as concentrated vitamin C serums that are designed for use on sensitive facial skin.
Essentially, vitamin C serum is a oil- and water-based liquid that contained highly concentrated amounts of vitamin C. Serums are different from cremes and other products with vitamin C because of the significantly higher concentrations, which allow people to get the most out of the product and see more noticeable results.
Why Use It?
Many people opt for topical vitamin C as opposed to other chemical serums and skin care products because vitamin C serum is completely natural. There is no concern about how your skin is going to react because there are no harsh chemicals or other questionable ingredients. As a result, vitamin C serums are formulated and infused to be gentle enough for everyday use. The same simply cannot be said of many other skin care products on the market.
How to Use It
The best way to use a topical vitamin C is to simply apply a small amount of it once or twice a day (depending on your skin type) to clean, dry skin. It should be applied before you begin applying your makeup (give it time to dry), but after you use your daily facial toner (should you choose to use one). From there, simply continue with your regular makeup and skin care routindata-trigge.
Check out artnaturals Vitamin C Serum Here.
If you asked a dermatologist for a list of the best ingredients for skin, vitamin C might be at the top.
Few ingredients are better for brightening skin, protecting it against aggressors, and addressing signs of aging. Another part of its appeal? “It’s great for all skin types and ages,” says New York dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas.
Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of vitamin C for skin, including how to choose the best formula, when to apply it, and exactly what this all-star vitamin can do for your skin. Get ready to glow.
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C, which also goes by ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, is a vitamin that isn’t actually produced by the body. Instead, the only way to get it is through supplements or your diet — citrus fruits like oranges are famously rich in vitamin C. And it has vital functions throughout the body. “Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in tissue repair and the enzymatic production of various transmitters,” says Dr. Patricia Wexler, a dermatologist in New York City.
While you can certainly eat your way to a healthy vitamin C intake, your skin in particular reaps the biggest benefits when it’s applied topically versus ingested via an oral supplement or your diet, no many how much grapefruit you eat. “Topically, it’s 20 times more potent than the oral intake,” says Wexler.
What are vitamin C’s benefits for skin?
In short: everything. For one, “vitamin C promotes collagen production, which has the potential to thicken the dermis, diminish fine lines, and is essential for firm, youthful skin,” Wexler says. On top of that, vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it protects skin cells from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure.
It also inhibits melanin production in the skin, which helps to lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots, even out skin tone, and enhance skin radiance. Finally, “vitamin C helps to repair damage from sun exposure and collagen loss by encouraging healthy cell turnover and regeneration,” says Wexler.
How to use it
Apply vitamin C as a serum in the mornings — that is, after cleansing and before applying moisturizer and sunscreen. “I think the best vitamin C skin care products are serums because they are more effective at penetrating the skin barrier than, say, a cream or toner,” says Chapas.
Then, be patient. Most skin care products take time to start working, and vitamin C takes a little longer, even with daily use. According to Wexler, you won’t notice any significant changes in your skin for six to eight weeks. If you have sensitive skin, do a skin test first, as the high acidity can be irritating.
What to look for
You can maximize the benefits of vitamin C by combining it with other antioxidants. “This works best with vitamin E and ferulic acid,” says Chapas. “Together, they have optimal absorption benefits when it comes to anti-aging, skin brightening, and protection against free radical damage.”
It also plays well with vitamin B and hyaluronic acid. However, “do not mix vitamin C with a retinol or niacinamide,” because the pH levels are incompatible, says Wexler. If you want to use both, she suggests waiting half an hour between applications.
Also worth noting: Vitamin C is notoriously prone to oxidizing. “It can break down when it’s exposed to light or air,” says Chapas. “Always check expiration dates on your products, and if you notice a sour smell or discoloration, it’s most likely breaking down.”
Here are some of our favorite products for getting vitamin C into your skin care routine.
BeautyRx Skincare Triple Vitamin C Serum ($95, dermstore.com)
With three different forms of vitamin C, the formula delivers major brightening and anti-aging benefits. Plus, it feels weightless on skin.
InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum ($17.96, amazon.com)
One of the most affordable serums on the market, this formula includes vitamins C and E, ferulic acid and hyaluronic acid — offering you the most brightness for your buck. (What’s more, its 4-plus stars on Amazon is based on over 5,000 ratings.)
Farmacy Very Cherry Bright 15% Clean Vitamin C Serum ($62, sephora.com)
This lightweight, natural serum delivers vitamin C derived from cherries, sinks in fast, and even smells like its namesake fruit.
Fleur & Bee Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum ($28, amazon.com)
This natural serum contains the synergistic blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid—as well as clary sage for extra antioxidant benefits.
Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C Serum ($64, sephora.com)
The multitasker offers vitamin C to brighten and protect, squalane to moisturize, and peptides for minimizing lines and wrinkles. All you need is sunscreen and you’re good to go.
Elizabeth Arden Vitamin C Ceramide Capsules Radiance Renewal Serum ($48, ulta.com)
Worried about vitamin C oxidizing? These single-serving, travel-friendly capsules ensure that each application is fresh and working at peak efficacy.
Cleen Beauty Vitamin C Papaya Glow Serum ($10, walmart.com)
One of the most affordable vitamin C serums on the market—if not the most affordable—the combination of vitamin C and licorice root offers brighter skin on a budget.
Physicians Formula Rosé All Day Moisturizer SPF 30 ($17.99, cvs.com)
While this isn’t a serum, it can be helpful to have vitamin C in your sunscreen. “Vitamin C can increase the stability of SPF,” Wexler explains. And it acts like a sunscreen booster to help defend your skin against sun damage.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil ($40-$80, nordstrom.com)
For the winter months, when skin tends to be drier, consider switching to a vitamin C oil. It’ll boost radiance by first delivering vitamin C and then locking hydration into skin.
Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum ($20, target.com)
Vitamin C meets hyaluronic acid (a moisturizer) and green tea extract (another antioxidant) in this serum to address everything from dryness to fine lines and wrinkles.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum ($92, dermstore.com)
Designed specifically to target dark spots, this combines vitamin C with licorice extract and lactic acid to lighten hyperpigmentation from breakouts and sun exposure.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.
** Bonus **
Vitamin C Crystals
One of the most common questions I get asked by customers is, “when is OUMERE going to make a vitamin C serum?” To which my answer always, without faltering, is: Never.
I’m an outsider of the traditional skin care industry because I do not have a background in business, my background is in biology. I am looking at skin care from a biological standpoint, and not from a marketing one. When I look at things from the biological viewpoint, I am primarily concerned with alleviating skin maladies (caused by skin care) and making skin its healthiest using ingredients that are safe, scientific, and effective.
The insouciance towards marketing is the reason why I don’t use argan oil in my products. It’s not that argan oil is bad, it’s just not good enough to put in a skin care formula where space is limited and results are important.
In a previous post on ingredient red flags, I mentioned that the best way to delineate between a true anti-aging skin care company, and one that is just out for your cash (at the additional cost of your skin’s health) is to look at the ingredients. If a self-proclaimed anti-aging line contains cytotoxic agents like essential oils, then they are not motivated by consumer health and wellbeing, they are just a marketing company with a product to sell. Furthermore, you as the consumer need to do your research because in order to have a trustworthy line, all of their ingredients in all of their products need to be safe. Therefore, if one product out of 50 in a brand’s line contain essential oils, cayenne pepper, or any other damaging ingredients, then the line is not trustworthy and doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money.
I’ve sat in on quite a few meetings with skin care giants during the process of picking a product, and they are all the same. First, let me tell you what does not happen. What doesn’t happen is a bunch of biologists and associated scientists with profound knowledge on skin care and health pour through countless published studies, weighing the pros and cons of each ingredient, go through countless experiments and human testing, and after several years formulate a product based on their sound results, and then bring it to the head of a company to sign off on.
What really happens is a group of businesspeople, marketers, and advertisers sit in a room, and this panel debates ingredients to put in their latest product based on the trendiest buzzwords and marketable content in the industry at the moment. They send that list of ingredients to a chemist (with likely no knowledge beyond intermediate college biology) who makes a cream/serum/cleanser that contains maybe 1-5% of those ingredients, and 95-99% filler (thickeners, solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc). That chemist is given certain priorities by the higher-ups: feel, smell, appearance. None of which translates to skin health but rather to marketability. That product (and a few alternatives) is taken to the heads of the company, they try it out few out for a few days or a week, send the final pick to mass-production, and then you get your final product on store shelves.
It is for the very reason highlighted above: marketing, scientists with no advanced knowledge of biology but are rather acting as “cooks in the kitchen”, and companies driven by sales is why every major brand on the market has a vitamin C serum.
OUMERE doesn’t make a vitamin C serum, and here are the reasons why.
1. Vitamin C serum can and will act as a pro-oxidant, causing skin damage
Ever notice that vitamin C serums turn brown after sitting on the shelf for a month? That brown color happened because the serum oxidized, and oxidation occurs in all serums containing vitamin C. Oxidation is a destructive process (this is how rust occurs), and when you put a vitamin C serum on your skin, it will cause oxidation and skin damage. This is due to the pro-oxidant effect of vitamin C in skin care.
A pro-oxidant is the opposite of an antioxidant. Where an anti-oxidant is a molecule that prevents oxidation of other molecules, and hence protects against the cell-damaging effects of free radical production, a pro-oxidant does the reverse, and induces oxidative stress, either by generating reactive oxygen species or by inhibiting antioxidant systems.
Vitamin C on its own can act as an anti-oxidant. So when you eat foods high in vitamin C, you get the health benefit of the vitamin donating electrons, and thus preventing oxidation of tissue, lipids, protein, and DNA.
Vitamin C’s ability to readily donate electrons, and thus acting as an anti-oxidant also means that it readily reacts with other molecules, which has consequences that aren’t always good. In the presence of catalytic metals, vitamin C reacts with those metals causing a pro-oxidant effects, specifically, vitamin C reacts with oxygen, producing superoxide that subsequently dismutes to produce harmful by-products such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Furthermore, it requires little vitamin C to have it act as a pro-oxidant, and a lot of vitamin C to act as an anti-oxidant.
The Fenton Reaction causes vitamin C to act as a pro-oxidant
When vitamin C acts as a pro-oxidant, the consequences include irritation, inflammation, collagen and elastin breakdown, and acne. So if you have any of these skin ailments, and are using a vitamin C serum, then its time to re-think your regimen.
Vitamin C serum can become a pro-oxidant when exposed to atmospheric oxygen, so just by living on Earth you are putting yourself at risk when wearing a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C can also become a pro-oxidant when in contact with metal.
Vitamin C’s propensity to become a pro-oxidant when in contact with metal is concerning from a skin-care standpoint because the metals vitamin C react with are metals our skin encounters often. When vitamin C encounters iron a biological reaction, known as the Fenton reaction, is initiated. The Fenton reaction is the pivotal reaction in the oxidation of membrane lipids and amino acids, and in the reactions where biological reduction agents are present, such as vitamin C. Our skin comes into contact with iron every day. According to the FDA, iron is a significant pollutant in the air and in the water, and from recent research from the University of Birmingham: “Human activities may have led to an increase of atmospherically soluble iron in the oceans by several times since the Industrial Revolution.”
There is also iron and other metals in makeup and sunscreen, which can further compound the oxidizing effect of vitamin C serums.
When we topically apply vitamin C to our skin, and our skin comes in contact with the air, which contains iron due to pollution, we are inviting a pro-oxidant reaction to occur. It is also safe to assume that since water contains iron contaminants, in general, that much of the water used in your skin care contains iron too. There is no way around iron pollution coming in contact with your skin. Your best safeguard to minimize harm is to avoid molecules that interact with iron to form damaging pro-oxidants.
How to fix the oxidative damage vitamin C serums caused
A majority of customers who have come to us with damaged skin, including acne, redness and bacterial issues had one thing in common: The use of vitamin C serums.
If your skin has been inflamed from use of vitamin C serums due to their oxidizing effect, the solution is the following:
First, stop using vitamin C serums.
Give your skin a one week break and then follow an anti-inflammatory skin care regimen.
OUMERE products do not contain any ingredients that would cause oxidation to the skin, which is why our products act as anti-inflammatory agents and have been reported to reduce redness, inflammation and improve the signs of rosacea and other inflammatory skin ailments.
I advise just using the UV-R serum for a couple days because its high concentration of anti-inflammatory extracts will calm you skin down and reverse the oxidative damage caused by the vitamin C serums. After your skin looks like it has improved, follow the following routine:
No. 9, (dilute for damaged skin) To rebuild, repair and strengthen skin, including collagen
UV-R for anti-inflammation and hydration. Inflammation breaks down collagen, and use of UV-R protects your body’s collagen in the long-term, preserving skin’s youthful appearance.
Serum Bioluminellefor balancing skin’s oils, anti-aging and locking in hydration, which is key for maintaining skin’s structural integrity and preventing damage.
Oil Dissolution Theory- To cleanse without damaging the skin, and keeping hydration
UV-R for anti-inflammation and hydration
2. Vitamin C reacts with common compounds found in cosmetics.
Adding onto point #1, we can say that many compounds found in cosmetics are further eliciting vitamin C to become a pro-oxidant. Let’s, for the sake of brevity, just take 3 common ingredients found in cosmetics:
EDTA is a common preservative used in food, household cleaners, laboratory specimens, and in cosmetics. EDTA contains 9.7-19.4 uM of iron per 50mM sample, which is enough to elicit the Fenton reaction described above.
EDTA prevents blood from coagulating, and is used to preserve to laboratory specimens.
Copper is another ingredient that has generated a lot of buzz as of late because of research that has found some anti-aging effects when topically applied. The concern with combining copper and vitamin C is greater (by some research) than combining iron with vitamin C. From Buettner and Jurkiewicz:
“But because copper is -80 times more efficient as a catalyst for ascorbate oxidation than iron, in typical phosphate buffers it is the adventitious copper that is the biggest culprit in catalyzing ascorbate oxidation.”
So although copper is not something you are likely to encounter every day in terms of environmental contaminants, the likelihood of it being in your cosmetics (including skin care) is becoming greater due to it’s increasing popularity as an anti-aging ingredient. And this is cause for concern given that it has a stronger effect on turning vitamin C into a pro-oxidant than iron.
Phosphates are everywhere in cosmetics, from haircare, to foundations and primers, to cleansers, and have a multitude of functions, including balancing the pH of a formula, emulsifying water and oil ingredients, and enhancing the lathering effect of a product. On their own they are fairly harmless, although for some they can be drying to the skin and hair. However, phosphates contain both trace sources of iron and copper, both of which elicit a pro-oxidant reaction from vitamin C.
Getting vitamin C from food is your best bet for optimal skin health
3. Tachyphylaxis and depleting your collagen during your youth
If you ever had to use a certain medication long-term you may have noticed that the effects were most pronounced in the beginning, and waned over several months of use. One reason why the effects of pharmaceuticals don’t last over the long-term (with certain exceptions) is because the receptors on our cell’s surface become desensitized over time, inhibiting the drug’s effectiveness biologically.
Vitamin C serums are used to “promote collagen synthesis”, which isn’t possible when done through skin care. What happens is the opposite: you deplete your body’s collagen by using it.
Taking a vitamin when you are not deficient in that vitamin means that your body will get rid of the vitamin in the form of waste. Your body does not store vitamins, so taking more when you are already ‘saturated’ means that no additional benefits are obtained. So if vitamin C naturally promotes collagen as part of normal biological functioning, and this is one of the reasons why we need it dietarily, if you are not deficient, you are not going to see a boost in collagen when you get more vitamin C. Thats a physical impossibility.
Using a vitamin C serum will not have the effect of boosting collagen if you are not deficient in vitamin C, but for those who are deficient (at any time) it will desensitize your body from making collagen. Causing you to age faster, because you are unnaturally stimulating collagen by adding a stressor to the body. And this means that dietary vitamin C may not promote vitamin C synthesis as it normally does.
The only way to safely boost collagen in the body is by preserving the collagen you have, and this is done through healthy lifestyle choices and proper skin care. Preserving collagen is also means avoiding damaging measures such as chemical peels, dermarollers, and harsh skin care.
My conclusion from vitamin C serums is that they are the product of viral marketing, and are a gimmick at best and a cytotoxic agent at their worst. Why risk your skin’s health for something that we will probably all cradle our face in our hands 20 years from now at the very thought of using? If you are concerned about collagen growth, use a daily chemical exfoliant. If you are just looking for a proper skin care regimen, then just use a serum that has been heavily researched with a balance of healthy oils and extracts. And my final word is that skin care is just like every other industry out there, and every industry is just looking for the latest and greatest way to take your money. Today it’s vitamin C, tomorrow, who knows.
4. Vitamin C Serums Cause Acne in Healthy Skin
Read the full article here
Follow Up Articles:
The Scientific Papers Supporting Vitamin C Serum’s Skin Benefits Are Flawed
Sullivan, R. J. (1969). Air pollution aspects of iron and its compounds.
Weijun Li, Liang Xu, Xiaohuan Liu, Jianchao Zhang, Yangting Lin, Xiaohong Yao, Huiwang Gao, Daizhou Zhang, Jianmin Chen, Wenxing Wang, Roy M. Harrison, Xiaoye Zhang, Longyi Shao, Pingqing Fu, Athanasios Nenes, Zongbo Shi. Air pollution–aerosol interactions produce more bioavailable iron for ocean ecosystems. Science Advances, 2017; 3 (3): e1601749 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601749
This is the one antioxidant your skin can’t do without
It’s deemed ‘essential’ by dermatologists, but why, when and how should you be using vitamin C? Here’s your guide to one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet…
Vitamin C- as health and wellbeing goes, it’s a big hitter. You could call it an award-winning antioxidant, given that Dr Albert Goyrgi won the Nobel prize in 1937 for identifying a lack of it as the principal cause of scurvy, and as such, it’s also far from a new skincare fad in the vein of snail slime and unicorn juice. Much researched and respected for its skincare prowess, vitamin C seems to be having a moment in the sun currently in the beauty industry, with buzzy launches aplenty and a proliferation of bright orange packaging popping up on shelves. Add to this the fact that, according to Mintel, 85% of consumers are either likely to be using, or interested in using, beauty and skincare products containing vitamin C, and it becomes clear that our thirst for the potent antioxidant shows no sign of waning.
Just why, however, is it so feted in skincare circles, scurvy aside? Does it merit the demand, and how do you know if it’s working? Is vitamin C for all? Read on for the vit C commandments…
It lives up to the hype
Just to clarify from the outset, vitamin C is universally agreed to a very good thing for all skins. Its profile has been on the up since the 1930s it seems, and its acclaim of late owes as much to our modern lifestyle as it does scientific advances, as Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, explains:
“The benefits of vitamin C have been known for some time, but are definitely coming more to the forefront lately. This may be because we’re much more aware of our environment and the way it’s affecting our skin – we’re a lot more aware of environmental pollutants such as radiation, sunlight, cancer-causing free radicals and smoke, which break down collagen, stressing the skin and accelerating the ageing process. As vitamin C helps to counter that process and can be used to treat such a variety of issues, it’s become a bit of a hero ingredient.”
Oculoplastic surgeon, aesthetic doctor and founder of MZ Skin Dr Maryam Zamani also emphasises that its reputation has been enhanced by its proven anti-ageing rigour and our increased knowledge as to how to handle the sensitive vitamin:
“I think that now that vitamin C has been tried and tested with efficacious results to treat discoloration while promoting collagen synthesis with a low risk profile, we are seeing a surge in products that contain vitamin C in skincare lines. We also understand that uneven skin tone is an important factor in ageing skin, and as an ingredient that helps create a more even skin tone with a low risk profile, vitamin C has gained increased popularity. And finally, we are now able to maintain active vitamin C in skincare to allow it to work more efficiently.”
It’s an all-rounder
If vitamin C were at school, it would for sure be a prefect, captain of the netball team and in possession of a clutch of A*s and an Oxbridge acceptance letter. Dr Mahto underlines why it’s top of the class in terms of skincare ingredients to prioritise:
“Vitamin C is an absolute essential for your skincare regime, because as well as being a potent natural antioxidant, it has anti-inflammatory properties, can act as a depigmenting agent and is vital for collagen biosynthesis. It is often used in dermatology to treat and prevent the signs of ageing caused by ultraviolet radiation.”
Dr Zamani seconds this, with bells on:
“Vitamin C boosts collagen to keep skin looking firm and young, it protects against free radicals to prevent premature ageing, it fades dark spots and brightens the skin and it can even boost your sunscreen’s protection”
If you were previously in any doubt about recruiting vitamin C into your skincare dream team, this should seal the deal. If you’re wondering when to crack on, the next point should clear that up…
All ages should use it
Vitamin C doesn’t discriminate- it both helps to prevent skin deterioration in the first place, and aids in the repair of damage once it’s done. In short, it’s sickeningly helpful, as Dr Mahto confirms:
“Vitamin C can be incorporated into your skincare routine at any age, in fact, the earlier the better. As well as being an anti-ageing skincare ingredient which generally helps to gently brighten and smooth your skin, it’s one of the most powerful antioxidants out there. Regularly applying vitamin C within your skincare routine helps to protect your skin against free radical damage caused by the environment, which can breakdown your collagen and encourage wrinkles and sagging.”
If you’re noticing some particular skin niggles now, Dr Zamani especially encourages concentrating on adding vitamin C to your bathroom cabinet for its skin-improving effects:
“Even though signs of ageing and pigmentation might not appear until you’re into your thirties, it’s good to start using vitamin C when you start seeing the signs any time after 18 years old. These might be brown spots on the skin from sun exposure, skin losing its glow, and red marks following a breakout which refuse to fade.”
You’ve committed to adding it to your bathroom cabinet, but in the plethora of citrus themed products out there, what exactly should you be looking for?
Watch out for potency and packaging
A Sunny Delight scent and jazzy bottle clearly speak nothing of a product’s effective vitamin C content. To ensure you’re hitting the sweet spot it terms of vitamin C that actually works, heed the pros’ advice. Dr Zamani gives us the numbers:
“When looking for a suitable Vitamin C product, finding the right concentration is important. A potency of 10-20 per cent means that results for the skin will be seen quicker and more uniformly across the skin. The way the vitamin C is produced is a key factor in how efficacious its will be on the skin.”
“A concentration of between 3 and 10 per cent will still be effective, in an L-ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid form. Vitamin C can break down in UV light and lessen its potency, so I recommend that packaging is sealed and kept in a dark environment.”
Dr Mahto also tips us off on the fact that super doses of vitamin C won’t necessarily pay off:
“Maximum skin absorption of vitamin C occurs at 20% strength. Increasing the concentration beyond this limit does not result in greater skin absorption. Using agents with relatively high concentrations such as 10-15 per cent or more are likely to have the most benefit but also run the risk of causing skin irritation.”
Read the label
This is fast becoming a mantra for modern life, but identifying vitamin C in its many guises, and where it sits in a product’s ingredients list (high= the real deal) will help you to separate the vitamin C superstars from the imposters. Dr Mahto has your vitamin C phrasebook at the ready:
“Any type of vitamin C in your moisturising serum and lotion will likely offer some skin benefit. There are several different types of vitamin C used in skincare products, so you want to look out for things like L-ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate and retinyl ascorbate on the ingredients label. Retinyl ascorbate has the most amount of scientific research surrounding its benefits and L-ascorbic acid helps to boost collagen production and smooths and firms skin, as well as preventing photo-ageing.”
“Other ingredients you should look for in vitamin C products include magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (this is the most stable and preferred vitamin C compounds), disodium isostearyl 2-0, L-ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbic acid sulphate and tetraisopalmitoyl ascorbic acid. The effects of topical vitamin C can also be enhanced by other agents such as ferulic acid and vitamin E.”
Investing in a skincare product that combines vitamin C with its helpful henchmen can result in even better skincare results. Dr Zamani highlights what the likes vitamin E can bring to the vitamin C party:
“Vitamin C can be combined with anti-ageing, UV damage fighting antioxidant vitamin E, or hyaluronic acid, which penetrates into the dermis boosting the elasticity and hydration of the skin. The protective barrier on the skin locks in moisture, which gives the skin a youthful appearance. It is also often combined with ferulic acid, a powerful antioxidant that combats the free radicals in your skin.”
You’ve got your product mixology down, but of the myriad of formulations out there, should you opt for a cream, mask, wash or another specific treatment?
Some delivery methods are better than others
In other words, there’s only so much C you can get if you’re washing a vitamin-rich product down the sink. The experts agree that one delivery method in particular excels above the rest. Dr Mahto gets real:
“Vitamin C is available on the market in a variety of creams, serums, and transdermal patches. Of these formats, it is usually the serum that contains active vitamin C.”
Truth serum is where it’s at, and Dr Zamani is in agreement:
“Serums are a concentrated way to get anti-aging ingredients into the skin which can then be layered with other products with no interference.”
Before you spend big on said serum, make sure it’s gone belt and braces in terms of high quality formula and physical delivery. Packaging serves a more important purpose that it’s given credit for in the skincare sphere:
“Vitamin C is an unstable molecule which oxidises quickly on exposure to light. Its stability is usually maintained by keeping a low (acidic) pH of less than 3.5. Not all vitamin C derivatives are physiologically effective so it can be helpful to check product ingredients. It’s also worth noting that when antioxidants are exposed to light and air too frequently they can break down, so it’s best to opt for formulas in air-tight packaging, pumps or single-use, individually wrapped products.”
It’s a morning vitamin
In general, you’ll get the most out of vitamin C in the morning. Dr Zamani supports the early bird catching the skincare worm theory here:
“Because vitamin C serum helps to shield your skin from free radicals and can help to boost the protection offered by your sunscreen, it is recommended that you apply it in the morning to prevent damage to the skin during the day- once a day is fine but I recommend it twice daily. It should go without saying that the application of sunscreen on top is essential.”
There’s growing evidence that applying at night time too won’t hurt, as Dr Mahto reveals:
“Some research suggests that free radical damage continues to affect your skin overnight, so you could add in vitamin C to your end of day routine as well.”
Just bear the following in mind before you apply willy nilly…
It’s got a few enemies
Just to bring back the school playground analogy, vitamin C isn’t best pals with all of the ingredients in your skincare repertoire. According to Dr Zamani there are a few notable incompatibilities which could provoke adverse reactions such as stinging and redness:
“Active ingredients in skincare have different purposes and using them at the same time as vitamin C in high concentrations may result in irritation. It’s best to avoid retinol, glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid when using vitamin C or to gradually implement these actives to produce less visible skin irritation.”
Go easy on the acids, but Dr Mahto notes that certain skin types may also find other ingredient combinations troublesome:
“Besides vitamin C induced irritation, some people breakout from vitamin C products because of their base. For example, some vitamin C serums may contain silicones or other inactive ingredients (to help keep the vitamin C stable longer) that can be problematic for acne-prone or sensitive skin, so make sure you read the ingredients thoroughly.”
Still struggling to show face after a vitamin C session? Dr Zamani advises ‘baby steps’ for beginners:
“Vitamin C is formulated at a low pH which can be irritating to the skin and cause flaking. You can avoid these side effects by using it properly; don’t start off using the strongest serum, you can work up to it.”
Wondering how? See below for your handy vitamin C skincare shopping list.
No7 Youthful Vitamin C Fresh Radiance Essence, £19.50
A two week vitamin C ‘course’ rather than a serum per se, this gel like elixir has an element of the DIY about it- you click of the cap of a 5% strength vitamin C powder and shake it together with the essence (which incidentally also contains vitamin B) to make a stable solution, although it’s vital to keep your bottle away from light.
Repavar Active Vitamin C Ampoules, £21 for 20 capsules
Lightweight, oil-free and fragrance-free and with 5.5% ascorbic acid, this is a gentle, easy way to slip vitamin C into your daily routine in the perfect dosage. Snap off the top, smooth under your usual skincare and go.
Clinique Fresh Pressed™ Daily Booster with pure Vitamin C 10%, £58 for a month’s supply
Another ‘course’ lead vitamin C option, the month-long Fresh Pressed™ booster pack was favoured over the range’s powder cleanser option in terms of return on investment in the radiance stakes. Our tester noticed a difference in terms of brighter, healthier looking skin in a week (which was as promised by the brand) by mixing it with moisturiser AM and PM, and the nifty packaging isolates a vitamin C powder until you’re ready to use it by shaking it into an emulsion.
Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Gel, £150 for 30ml
Pricy, yes, but Phloretin is prized by the world’s top dermatologists for its status as a superior, scientifically proven topical antioxidant. The serum has a water base, so is particularly suited to oily or breakout prone skin, and the much prized ferulic acid enhances the effects of the 10% strength vitamin C.
MZ Skin Brighten & Perfect 10% Vitamin C Corrective Serum, £245 for 30ml
Dr Maryam Zamani’s very own vitamin C based serum aims to nip pigmentation in the bud in particular, with added azelaic acid and peptides to regulate the pigmentation cycle and inhibit the formation of future dark spots.
Beauty Pie Superactive Capsules Pure Double Vitamin C & E Serum, £50 for 60 capsules or members pay £11.92
Encapsulated for maximum stability (the orange serum pods are biodegradable), this 10% vitamin C ‘shot’ tingles very slightly when applied, but the fact that it’s combined with moisturising vitamin E in a fragrance-free formula lowers the risk of irritation – just introduce it gradually if you’ve got sensitive skin. I’ve been popping a pod under my sunscreen every day for the past month and a half and I’m praying it comes back in stock soon as my skin has been looking a lot more even.
Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester 15, £104 for a month’s supply
At 15% strength, these four vials give your skin a relatively potent hit of vitamin C in one go (roughly five ‘dabs’ per application), along with small amounts of vitamin E to help it along its antioxidant way. Not cheap, but at this percentage you should notice results in terms of a more unified skintone and texture within the month, as our tester did.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, £129 for 30ml
Skinceuticals’ more hard-hitting vitamin C option, the cult C E Ferulic combines 15% L-ascorbic acid with vitamin E and ferulic acid to knock free radicals out of the park/ away from your face. A few drops go far- I eked my bottle out for almost a year.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, £67 for 30ml
This brings the jazz hands to all-day vitamin C action, combining 15% L-ascorbic acid with vitamin E, exfoliating fruit enzymes and hydrating sodium hyaluronate to leave skin smooth and bright from every angle. Plant oils provide additional nourishment which makes this newbie to the UK particularly suitable for dry skin.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, £5 for 30ml
This one’s throwing the kitchen sink at skin brightening and barrier strengthening with whopping 23% strength powdered L-ascorbic acid and spheres of dehydrated hyaluronic acid added to the formula for additional skin barrier support. Expect tingles, especially within the first fortnight- you may wish to add it to your regular moisturiser in small quantities until your skin is accustomed to the C sensation. Go especially easy if you’re sensitive of skin.
In the dark about retinol? Check out the skin experts’ guide to another sought-after skin vit
Follow Dr Zamani on Instagram @DrMaryamZamani, Dr Mahto @DrAnjaliMahto and Anna @annyhunter
How to Add Vitamin C Powder to Your Skincare Routine
Vitamin C has a range of skincare benefits from firmer skin to fewer wrinkles and dark spots—but the ingredient is notoriously finicky. As an antioxidant, it’s prone to oxidizing, meaning that it breaks down when it’s exposed to air, light and heat. If you’ve ever had a vitamin C serum that turned orange or brown in color, you’re familiar with this concept. There are vitamin C derivatives out there that are more stable than others, but research shows that they’re not as powerful as pure vitamin C, or l-ascorbic acid.
Enter vitamin C powder. L-ascorbic acid powder is highly stable and can be mixed into your skincare products for an antioxidant boost. Because you mix the powder into a dollop of a serum or moisturizer before applying, it’s like mixing up a fresh (and guaranteed potent) dose every time. If you decide to try a vitamin C booster powder, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Look for a vitamin C powder formulated for skin (like Good Molecules Vitamin C Booster Powder). The powder has to be processed properly in order to penetrate into the skin, so indigestible vitamin C powder (the kind you find in the vitamin aisle) isn’t ideal.
Add the powder to water-based products like serums, essences, and lotions. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so it works best when mixed with light, watery textures until the powder dissolves.
Aim for 20% concentration or less, or about 1 part powder to 4 parts product or less. If your skin is sensitive, start with less powder. It’s always smart to patch test on your arm before trying it on your face.
You may experience some tingling, stinging or irritation while your skin adjusts to vitamin C. It’s best to use less vitamin C powder in the beginning and increase the amount as your skin develops a tolerance.
Shop Good Molecules Vitamin C Booster Powder or browse other skin treatments for your beauty routine at Beautylish.
Vitamin C can be about as finicky as dating. One second, all could be going well. It makes your skin happy and bright. The next, everything could turn take a turn for the worse when you least expect it. And by everything, I mean, the brightening serum could turn yellow or orange overnight, rendering it useless. Sound familiar? Well, The Ordinary is about to drop the perfect solution to your vitamin C woes. (I’m not sure how it could help your dating life, though.) The Internet’s favorite skin-care company is coming out with 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder. (Psst, ascorbic acid is the fancy scientific name for vitamin C.)
In this powder form, the vitamin C is a pure, raw chemical ingredient, Jim Hammer, a cosmetic chemist, tells Allure. “It is 100 percent active and has not been diluted in any way,” he adds. Because of this, it will last a lot longer than your ride-or-die vitamin C serum, which can quickly expire when exposed to ultraviolet light. New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner notes that this is why these products usually come in dark or opaque containers. Also, because you’re mixing it with water yourself, you’re ensuring the stability and effectiveness of the product, he adds.
Other than extended shelf life, vitamin C powder has its pros and cons. On one hand, you have a more potent vitamin C formulation to slather your face with. Serums usually only have about 15 percent of ascorbic acid and are diluted with the other ingredients in the formula, Hammer says. As mentioned, the powder is a 100 percent pure concentration. However, Hammer says, “The serum may also contain other ingredients which add to its effectiveness, like bioflavonoids, which would not be found in the pure powder.”
The powder is suitable for all skin types, Hammer adds, but you may want to proceed with caution if your skin freaks out easily. “The pure powder may be more irritating to those with sensitive skin,” he says. Noted.
The Ordinary hasn’t announced an official launch date for the 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s in stock here. You can expect to spend $5.80 on it. Count me in. Sure, you have to mess with mixing the powder with water, but that’s a lot easier than dealing with dating, right?
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Now, watch a Target skin-care haul:
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As of late, I’m obsessed with a brightening serum that I will probably use until the last drop (hi, Glow Recipe). My skincare habits are extensive and at times, exhausting because my 2019 vision board says “get glowy skin” in the upper right corner. And I never turn down a challenge. So, of course, going beyond my basic cleansing routine and investing in all the “in-betweens” is a must. For me, that no longer includes Vitamin C serum because my skin has always reacted adversely to it. But according to some experts, a Vitamin C face powder would probably deliver opposite results. Okay…I’m listening.
First, let’s back up a little bit. For those who don’t know, Vitamin C is basically the Beyoncé of brightening ingredients. Its popularity eclipses that of other skin brighteners and its proven, multi-tasking benefits extend beyond elevating a dull complexion. First, the ascorbic acid has the nutrients necessary for repairing tissue and supporting the body’s immune system. “Vitamin C has a potential anti-inflammatory activity and can be used in conditions like acne vulgaris and rosacea,” says Joobin Jung, Global Business Manager of Vitabrid C12. “It can promote wound healing and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”
And it doesn’t stop there. The antioxidant can also offer protection from the radicals that generate and attack the skin after UV exposure. Lastly, it can assist in collagen production, thus keeping your face supple and firm.
The downside to Vitamin C according to Jung is that it’s “an unstable compound and it easily oxidizes once exposed to air, sun or moisture, losing ‘antioxidant’ properties.” And because it’s water-soluble, penetrating the lipid membrane (your skin) can be challenging. It also doesn’t mix well with other products that are just as popular and likely to be a part of your routine.
“Vitamin C and retinol work optimally in different pH environments, and thus, should typically not be combined,” says Jung. “Benzoyl Peroxide is not recommended to mix with Vitamin C as they can counteract each other’s effects: the benzoyl peroxide can oxidize Vitamin C.” If you must have your retinol, use it at night and your Vitamin C in the morning. But all of this makes me wonder why there are so many serums out there, given its difficulty in penetrating the skin and being unstable to begin with. That’s why brands including Jung’s Vitabrid C12 are leading the charge in formulating powder alternatives.
“Vitamin C in powder form is more stabilized and able to deliver its benefits to the skin,” Jung says. “Also, in cosmetic formulations, you can only put a small amount of Vitamin C due to its stability issue compared to the powder.” It’s only a matter of time before more brands catch on, but until then, here are some of the best-selling ones.
Vitabrid C¹² FACE Brightening Powder
Generally speaking, this can be mixed with any moisturizer, essence, cream or serum due to its stability.
$60 at Barneys New York
Versed Found the Light Powder with Vitamin C
This lightweight powder’s base is tapioca starch, a safe and natural alternative to talc.
$19.99 at Target
FRESH Vitamin Nectar Vitamin C Brightening Powder
30 seconds is all you need to lather this 20 percent Vitamin C powder onto the face for a healthy glow.
$40 at Sephora
Neogen Real Vita C Powder Lemon
This Soko Glam exclusive is 17 percent Vitamin C and free of artificial fragrance, mineral oil, and alcohol for a soothing finish.
$20 at Soko Glam
Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream
A highly-concentrated Vitamin C formula to mix with your serum or cream for a brighter complexion.
$88 at Net-A-Porter
Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder
This daily topical can be mixed into your serum, moisturizer, eye cream, or sunscreen.
$39 at Sephora
Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C
A water-activated brightener gentle enough for everyday use.
$29.50 at Sephora
BajaZen Vitamin C Raw Mask
French red clay and Vitamin C combine to banish dirt and grime so your complexion can shine through.
$25 at Free People
OSEA Vitamin C Probiotic Face Polish – Booster Size
Vitamin C is housed in this bamboo and rice powder polish to remove build-up and reveal a more vibrant complexion.
$20 at Osea Malibu
GoopGlow Morning Skin Superpowder
If the consistency of damp powder on your face is off-putting, you can try drinking your Vitamin C instead (though the results may not be as quick as a face powder).
$60 at goop Beauty
Homemade Vitamin C Powder
Years ago, I posted my recipe for Homemade Chewable Gummy Vitamins, which I later updated to include homemade Vitamin C gummies for when you’re really wanting to boost your immune system.
What I realized, however, is that I never posted my all-natural homemade Vitamin C powder to go with it! I mean, I mention using Vitamin C powder in that recipe, but who wants synthetic Vitamin C mixed with sweetener when you can easily make your own natural version?
(Well, don’t think tooooooo highly of me here – I’ve used Emergen-C and other synthetic Vitamin C sources just as often as I’ve made the natural version, so just give yourself a pat on the back when you actually take the time to make the natural version. It’s not difficult AT ALL – you just have to be willing to take the few minutes to cut up the peels and keep an eye on them while they dry.)
And what’s especially odd about the fact that I haven’t posted this recipe per se, is that I have posted it in a completely different form. Namely, I use this same method for making our non-toxic kitchen cleanser! Yet taking homemade Vitamin C powder as a supplement is a far more important use for ground up citrus peels than cleaning the kitchen sink, so go figure…..
Good thing citrus fruits are multi-functional. 🙂
So, how to make an all-natural Vitamin C powder? Basically, you dry out a few citrus peels, pulverize them into a powder, then use that as a natural supplement, either by stirring it into water (not my favorite way) or adding it to other foods, like the aforementioned gummies, yogurt, a spoonful of raw honey (great for sore throat), etc. when you need a boost or just want to help your maintain overall health.
And the thing is – citrus fruits are known for being a great source of natural Vitamin C, but the peels are where the nutrients are concentrated. For example, 100 grams of orange peel provides about 136 mg of vitamin C, while the fruit provides about 71 mg per 100 grams – that’s nearly double! So, by ingesting the peels – pith and all – you take in far more bio-available Vitamin C than you do either eating the fruit or taking synthetic Vitamin C.
Ever wonder why your pee turns bright yellow when you take a high-dose of store-bought Vitamin C? That’s because your body can’t absorb it all, so it flushes it out of the system. The same can be true with naturally bio-available Vitamin C, but it absorbs much more before it reaches its level of saturation.
And by drying the peels out, you get the convenience of a powder that remains shelf stable for several months. 🙂
So, here you go: homemade Vitamin C powder.
How to Make Homemade Vitamin C Powder
Organic fruit is a MUST in this application, since insecticide and pesticide residues may reside deep inside the peels due to multiple applications throughout the growing season, thus it’s not always possible to wash those residues off.
You can use any citrus fruit for this application – oranges are certainly popular, but this will work with any citrus rinds. Grapefruit is a close second for me. 🙂
An even more fresh and potent way to benefit from the enzymes in the peel in addition to the Vitamin C is to add thinly sliced strips of peel to your smoothies or other purees – what a great way to boost immunity!
I usually count on one large navel orange (or any other kind with a thick rind) producing about 1/4 cup dried powder.
First, select organic fruit that is free of bruises and blemishes, then wash the fruit VERY thoroughly to remove agricultural residues, insect eggs, and other possible contaminants – yes, even from organic farms.
Next, remove the peels from the fruit, making sure as much as the pith comes with the outer peel as possible.
Third, dry the peels (see options below). The peels are done when they snap and break when bent.
To air-dry the peels, tear them into dime-sized pieces and let them sit for 3-4 days out on the counter.
To dehydrate the peels in a food dehydrator, slice the peels into thin strips, then place them in a dehydrator at 100ºF for 6-9 hours (time will vary widely depending on the thickness of the peel and the size of the pieces).
To dehydrate the peels in the oven, place them on a baking sheet and set in a slightly warm oven set on the absolutely lowest temperature it has. At about 150F, the peels will dry in 1 – 1 1/2 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices. When dry, remove from the oven and let cool.
When the peels are fully dry, place them in a spice grinder or blender and pulverize them into a fine powder.
Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place for up to three months or in the freezer for up to six months.
So I want to plant a little idea in your head. I’m just going to leave it there and let it germinate for a bit…
You can make your own vitamin-rich superfood powders. For cheap. Even, basically, for free.
Yep, it’s true. Let me explain. This vitamin C powder is made from something you were just going to throw out or compost anyway, orange peels. That’s right, those peels are quite valuable. In fact, there’s more vitamin C found in an orange peel than in the juice from the orange itself (almost double the amount). This vitamin C powder is so easy to make, and there’s so many uses for it! The obvious one, is to supplement your diet.
Since I’m not a scientist, I don’t have the means to test the powder and tell you exactly how much vitamin C you can get per teaspoon, for example. Some sources say one teaspoon is enough to fulfill your daily need of vitamin C, but I like to think of this as a boost, and rely mostly on whole foods to reach my recommended intake of nutrients. The nice thing about this homemade vitamin C powder is that it’s made from real food, meaning that although it doesn’t boast 2,000% of your RDI of vitamin C (like some synthetic powders), you’re actually going to get more bioavailable vitamin C than if you take a supplement or even just eat the fruit only.
Just a few awesome factoids about Vitamin C:
Is a potent antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals to protect from age related diseases
Helps detoxify our bodies and promote faster healing
Has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties
Supports healthy gut bacteria
Supports a healthy immune system
Uses for Homemade Vitamin C Powder
The best way to use this powder, in my opinion, is to mix a teaspoon into your smoothie. You could also stir it into water, but just be aware that it isn’t going to dissolve. It could also be added to a cup of tea for an orange flavor, but I think it’s best if using it as a vitamin boost to stay away from heating it, since you run the risk of destroying some of the nutrients. It can be added to recipes that call for orange zest, and save you a bit of time. It will add a nice bright orange flavor to desserts, dairy-free yogurt, salad dressings, and sauces. I would love to try adding this to a nice cold pressed oil, to make a orange flavored oil for use in salads and other dishes.
This vitamin C powder also makes a great addition to your homemade beauty products. I simply mixed a little ground oats, vitamin C powder, and a little water and apple cider vinegar to make a thick paste. Spread over your clean face and allow to sit for a few minutes and rinse. This simple mask made my skin so smooth and soft! I’ve also made the mask using some of the almond and coconut pulp leftover from making homemade coconut and almond milk. Talk about getting the most out of your food! Some claim that using orange peel powder on the skin can help eliminate acne, blackheads, wrinkles, and can brighten and tone the skin. I can attest to the fact that after using my simple mask, my skin was soft and smooth, plumped, and the pores on my nose had all but disappeared. I will definitely be using this on a regular basis.
In addition to giving your body and beauty a healthy boost, you can also use dried orange peels to make natural house cleaning products, deodorize trash receptacles and refrigerators, use as a natural air freshener to make your house smell lovely, and also as a natural bug and pest deterrent.
You don’t need a dehydrator to make this powder, you can just let your orange peels sit out for about a week, or dry them out in your oven on the lowest setting. Then simply grind them up in blender or food processor until you’ve created a fine powder. Easy!
I have more ideas sprouting in my noggin for other superfood and vitamin boosting powders, and maybe I’ve got the seed planted in your head as well!
Homemade All-Natural Vitamin C Powder
- Orange peels – use organic peels ONLY (I saved mine for about a week in a plastic bag in the fridge, from maybe about 8 oranges or so) you could also use peels from other citrus fruits as well
- a good blender, food processor, or even a coffee grinder to grind up the dried peels
Dry your peels. Leave the pith intact, this is full of vitamin C as well! I used my dehydrator and sort of tore my peels up into little pieces and dried them overnight. Or you can just set them out where they won’t be disturbed, for about a week until they are completely dry. You could also dry them in your oven on the lowest setting, this will be faster so keep checking them often. Once dry, use your blender or coffee grinder to mill them into a fine powder. I used my bullet type blender with straight grinding blade attachment. Store in in a small jar in the fridge. I got almost 2 cups worth of powder.
Did you know you can make your own Vitamin C supplement at home – without GMO, additives and fillers?
Would you like to save a lot of money in the process as well?
Homemade vitamin C powder is better than any store-bought supplement, it’s much cheaper and you can make it in a certain way that even your kids will love it.
(In fact, it’s so easy a 5-year-old can make it… )
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As you know, proper doses of Vitamin C are essential for your immune system, your bones, your muscle cartilage, your dental health and the list goes on.
(Our body does not make Vitamin C which makes it an important nutrient to have on hand.)
Why Homemade Vitamin C is Better
Currently, most vitamin C supplements you buy are made from genetically modified corn (yuck) and some filler chemicals that serve as binding and coating ingredients.
The shockingly simple homemade version is made from lemon peels and contains all the enzymes that allow the Vitamin C to be 100% assimilated in your body.
It also contains its natural source of rutin, hesperidin, and bioflavonoids.
(Can I mention the money-saving potential here once more?)
How to Make Your Own Natural Vitamin C Supplement
All you’ll need is a few organic lemons (or any other citrus fruits).
You’ll be using the peels because they are loaded with Vitamin C, much more than the fruit itself.
For example, 100 grams of orange peel provide about 136 mg of Vitamin C, while the fruit provides about 71 mg (in 100 grams of fruit). That’s almost double!
By ingesting the peels – pith and all – you take in much more bioavailable Vitamin C than you would by eating the fruit or taking a synthetic supplement.
Note: it is important that the fruit is organic as you don’t want to be eating peels sprayed with nasty chemicals.
Follow These Steps:
- Wash the fruit (I use about 5 lemons for 2 weeks supply) and peel off the skin.
- Cut the peels into small squares, or leave them as strips.
- Dry them out, you can choose either of these methods:
– Air Drying – place them on a cloth and put by the window in the sunlight. Allow them to dry and shrivel for a few days.
Once they’re dry, use a coffee grinder like this one, or a similar device, and turn your peels into a powder.
Store your Vitamin C powder in an airtight container.
Using this method you can use the powder for about a week, stored in the refrigerator.
– Dehydrator – place the lemon peel strips in your dehydrator at 100ºF for 6-9 hours. Then grind it into a powder and put in an airtight container.
Using this method, the powder can be used for about 3 months, stored in a cool and dry place, or 6 months in the freezer.
Voila, you’ve just made your own natural, organic Vitamin C supplement at home!
Lemon Peel Vitamin C Candy for the Kids
All you need to do to make this homemade Vitamin C child-friendly is to sprinkle a little Stevia on the lemon peel strips before you place them in the dehydrator.
When it’s ready, your kids will love munching on these sweet lemon peels, loaded with immune-boosting goodies.
If you want to take this a step further, here’s an awesome recipe for homemade chewable Vitamins that your kids will love – from Wellness Mama.
Ways to Use Your Homemade Vitamin C (+Dosage)
Just one rounded teaspoon of your homemade vitamin c, mixed in your smoothie, juice, or on top of your salad – Is more than your required vitamin C dose for the day, regardless of your size.
Note: Do not add it to hot drinks or foods, the heat will destroy the enzymes.
This homemade supplement can obviously be used to help home-treat the flu, the common cold, and just about anything else that involves your immune system.
In these cases, you can safely double your daily dose.
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How to Make a Vitamin C Drink
Here’s another way to boost yourself with a lot of Vitamin C: The heavenly delicious fruit smoothie.
This drink contains 4 of the fruits with the highest levels of Vitamin C. You can freeze it in ice-cube trays for up to 4 weeks.
To make a smoothie, combine 2 cubes with 1/2 cup yogurt or almond/rice milk.
- 12 ounces fresh strawberries (preferably organic)
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/4 cup lemon juice – freshly squeezed.
Combine the ingredients in a blender for about 1 minute.
Stir well before pouring and serve cold. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but if you don’t freeze it – It’s better to drink it right away.
How to Make Vitamin C Tablets (Pills)
If you prefer pre-made Vitamin C tablets, here’s an easy way to make about 35 pills:
- 1 tablespoon rose hip powder
- 1 tablespoon acerola powder
- Raw organic honey
- Orange peel powder
Mix together the powdered ingredients and pour just a little bit of warm honey into the mix, until it holds together.
Make sure it’s not too sticky or moist.
Pour the mixture into pea-size molds.
Bonus Tip: Make Your Own Multi-Vitamin Supplement
If you love DIY health care as I do, you’ll love learning this simple way to make your own 100% natural multivitamin supplement at home.
Here’s my combination of some of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet:
– 1 part lemon peel powder – Vitamin C anyone?
– 1 part Alfalfa Grass Powder – alfalfa is known as nature’s multivitamin, and for good reasons.
It is mildly cleansing and the greatest source of nutrition and minerals of any of the grasses.
It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll.
– 1 Part Spinach Leaf Powder – spinach is one of the best sources of Iron, which is most absorbed in the presence of Vitamin C (already in the recipe…).
Spinach is also a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K and is famous for their “blood building” ability.
– Stevia – optional for taste.
Mix the ingredients and add 1 teaspoon to your juice, smoothie or salad – it tastes great!
Getting your daily dose of Vitamin C is amazingly simple – no need for expensive, store-bought additive-filled supplements.
All you need is a few citrus fruits. You can dry them up and make them into a powder, you can make a juice out of them – whatever you want.
And you’ll get the best bioavailable Vitamin C – for you and your family – for a fraction of the cost.
What about you? Have you ever tried making your own vitamin supplement at home? Tell me about it in the comments below…
To your health and happiness,