Why You Should Use Vitamin C On Your Face

09.30.2020 — The Frenshe Editors

When you think of trending skincare ingredients, we bet that vitamin C immediately comes to mind. The hero ingredient is found everywhere from serums to moisturizers and much more. For those of you who are just getting started on your skincare journey, or are looking to revamp your current routine, you’ll want to learn more about what vitamin C can actually do for your skin. We’ll start by saying that it’s absolutely a skincare staple, and the benefits are so worth investing in a vitamin C-infused product (or products!). Vitamin C is known for its brightening and antioxidant-like properties—yes, that means it has the power to fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation over time. We caught up with Allison McNamara, founder of MARA to discuss all things vitamin C-related, from the benefits to ingredients it should not be mixed with, and more.

Vitamin C 101

So, what is actually vitamin C? Let’s start with the basics. “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is found naturally in plants like strawberries, citrus fruits, herbs, and vegetables,” says McNamara. Mara uses 15% THD Ascorbate in its Sea Vitamin C Serum, the most stable form of vitamin C in ester form, along with 14 natural sources of vitamin C, like Kakadu plum, strawberries, papaya, blue sea kale, thyme, and more. “When used topically, it wards off free radical damage from the sun, pollution, and blue light, as well as improving the look of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and naturally increasing collagen,” she adds. Some of what you’ll notice upon continuous use of the powerful ingredient is brighter and much healthier-looking skin when. “When taken internally, like in our new Sea Vitamin C Glow supplement, vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps naturally stimulate collagen production, rectify oxidative damage, and promotes a lit-from-within glow,” she says.

Vitamin C in Skincare

While vitamin C is found in a variety of skincare products, it’s most commonly found in serums. “It works best when applied directly to clean skin so it can absorb first, which really allows your skin to benefit from it,” says McNamara. The MARA Sea Vitamin C Serum is oil-soluble, which allows it to penetrate well into the skin, without any sticky residue. “I prefer single-active skincare routines, so if I’m using a vitamin C product in my morning skincare routine, I don’t like to mix it with other actives,” she explains. It’s recommended to use vitamin C in the morning and wait until the evening to apply any other actives such as acids or retinol. “I believe actives work best when they are used separately, so the active ingredient can really do its job,” she says. Mixing different actives together can cause irritation, inflammation, and can possibly cancel out each other’s benefits. 

The Benefits and Who Should Use It

We’ve already touched on vitamin C’s brightening power, but it can do a lot more than that. Vitamin C can help visibly improve the look of dark spots, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin texture. “I really think that everyone should be using vitamin C, it’s what I like to refer to as a core-active ingredient and should be a part of your main ingredients in rotation,” she explains. “Those with excess sun damage, acne scarring, or blemishes can definitely benefit from using vitamin C, as it really helps target those skincare concerns,” she adds. If you live in a climate with a high amount of environmental aggressors present, such as pollution, vitamin C can protect your skin and prevent damage from those free radicals. 

[Photo: Instagram/@themarabeauty]

Mixing Vitamin C with Other Products

As mentioned above, it’s best to avoid mixing vitamin C with another active ingredient. “Vitamin C does not work well with acids or retinol; however, you can use them the same day just not at the same time,” says McNamara. She also explains that you technically can use vitamin C with niacinamide or hyaluronic acid if you choose. “I prefer to follow this simple mantra: cleanse, treatment, hydrate (+SPF),” she says. I like rotating between Algae Retinol Face Oil and Farmacy Honeymoon Glow Lactic Acid in the evening. 

Different Concentrations

There are different vitamin C concentrations, which can determine how most people use products. “Most vitamin C serums are in the 10-20% range, and it really comes down to how balanced a formula is–a higher percentage does not always mean better or more effective,” she explains. McNamara advises that anyone using vitamin C starts slow and builds from there. “For this exact reason, I added soothing, anti-inflammatory adaptogens to Sea Vitamin C Serum along with hydrating ingredients moringa, squalane, and passionfruit to ensure our customers see all of the benefits of vitamin C without any of the irritation,” she says.

The Results

As you all know, skincare isn’t universal and results may vary. While some vitamin C users see brighter, more-radiant skin almost immediately, others may not. Some clients of ours notice “Full results usually take 4-6 weeks of consistent use—great skin doesn’t happen overnight,” she exclaims. 

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[Lead images: Instagram/@themarabeauty]
The Frenshe Editors