Out of all the so-called “miracle” ingredients on the skin–care scene, it can be hard to tell which ones are the real deal and which are little more than buzzy words with not much ground to stand on. One nutrient that’s proven to be worth the hype? Vitamin C—a powerful, safe, science-backed compound that doesn’t just brighten and refine your complexion, but actually protects it from future damage.
Here, we break down how to harness vitamin C’s benefits for your skin.
How Does Vitamin C Benefit Skin?
Vitamin C is an anti-aging must-have for several reasons. First, it aids in the production of collagen—the protein fibers that give skin its elasticity, making it look smooth and supple. (Starting at age 20, collagen production starts to decline by 1% per year, so just about anyone can benefit from a little boost in this department.)
Vitamin C also works as a powerful antioxidant. Every day, your skin is bombarded by stressors like UV rays and various air pollutants, resulting in free radicals—harmful compounds that damage skin cells. The oxidative stress they create can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. But an antioxidant, such as vitamin C, treats the damage caused by free radicals while defending cells against environmental assailants—which means it also helps stave off the visual evidence of future damage.
As if that weren’t enough, this potent active ingredient also has major skin-brightening benefits. With regular use, its acidic pH allows it to slough away dead skin cells, revealing a more youthful glow.
The Best Forms of Vitamin C for Skin
You already likely know that vitamin C should be a key part of your diet. But did you know that applying the nutrient topically effectively delivers its many benefits directly to your skin?
Here’s the thing, though: while you might see vitamin C splashed across the front of a product’s label, you won’t always spot it on the actual ingredients list. That’s because gentler derivatives of pure vitamin C are often used—two of the safest being tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Both lead to the same end result, but they’re used in different types of formulas. (Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is fat-soluble and more easily absorbed, which is why it is in our No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is water-soluble and used in our No 1. Brightening Facial Mist.)
To get even more protection and brightening benefits, our All Bright C Serum packs a one-two punch of vitamin C derivatives. The game-changing formula combines five percent tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and five percent bis-glyceryl ascorbate for an ultra-potent 10% blend that works to moisturize, reduce the appearance of dark spots, and provide antioxidant benefits that can help shield the skin from environmental stressors.
Given how effective this simple nutrient is, it’s no surprise that we use it in many other products too, including our Cleansing Balm and Color Pinch Cream Blusher. Clearly, it’s a safer skin-care hero—and worthy of a spot (or several) in your daily beauty routine. Ready to stock up? Shop all our vitamin C skin care and get ready to glow.