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Vitamin C: Everything you need to know

What exactly is Vitamin C? And what does this wonder prod do to your skin?

'Vitamin C is one of the best skincare actives in the world,' says dermo-pharmacist Dr Colette Haydon, referring to the super antioxidant skincare ingredient that is commonly hailed as one of the few ingredients that can really change how skin looks. There are different forms; the purest and most effective (according to research) is Ascorbic Acid but it’s also the least stable – which means that it oxidises when exposed to light which can cause more damage to skin (the process of oxidisation creates skin-damaging free radicals). 'There are a number of Vitamin C derivatives, too,' says Dr Haydon, 'Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate are two more stable ones but they are less effective than Ascorbic Acid.'

Is vitamin C good for skin?

If there’s one ingredient that’s going to get you that elusive glow, it’s vitamin C: 'If you regularly apply it, it boosts collagen, regulates melanin production and scavenges free-radicals, making skin brighter and more evenly toned,' says Dr Haydon. The more collagen you have, the more plump your skin will be (and the fewer fine lines you’ll see) and likewise when melanin production is regulated, you’ll be less likely to succumb to hyperpigmentation and dark spots will be faded, too.

Add to that the fact it’s a highly potent antioxidant, which means it defends skin against external aggressors like pollution and helps speed up cell turnover (to help skin function healthier), and you’ve got a pretty impressive ingredient.

How do you use vitamin C?

As mentioned earlier, Vitamin C products can be unstable so it’s important to use products that are (ideally) in air-tight packaging or those that are designed to be used only once, like capsules. 'I recommend applying each morning,' says Dr Haydon; this way, you benefit from the daily antioxidant protection while also complementing the use of a retinol at night (they’re known as a bit of a dream duo). Use it as regularly as you can for best results.

How long does vitamin C last for?

'Once a product is opened, you usually have around six months to use it,' says Dr Haydon, 'and if it turns a very orangey brown, bin it.'

What are the benefits of vitamin C?

All skins can benefit from it, particularly if your skin is tired, radiance is dulled and it’s looking a little lacklustre.

What are the best products with vitamin C in?

Vitamin C serums:

Glossier Super Glow, £24, glossier.com

Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%, clinique.co.uk

Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum £77 Cultbeauty.com

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, £4.90, cultbeauty.co.uk

MZ Skin Brighten & Perfect 10% Vitamin C Corrective Serum, £245 net-a-porter.com

Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid, £10 victoriahealth.com

The Hero Project Vit C-30 Ultra Brightening Serum, £39, lookfantastic.com

Vitamin C face masks:

Sanctuary Spa 1 Minute Daily Glow Face Mask, £14, superdrug.com

Rodial Vit C Energising Sheet Mask, £14, rodial.co.uk

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, spacenk.com

Vitamin C creams and eye creams:

Sunday Riley C.E.O. + E Antioxidant Protect + Repair Moisturiser, £60, spacenk.com

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vitamin C Glow Powder, £32,

Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream £79

LIXIRSKIN Vitamin C Paste, £32, cultbeauty.co.uk

Exuviance Vitamin C Capsules, £59 Skinoracle.com