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by sarah kester

For years, many of us have equated vitamin C with a cup of OJ in the morning. However, this powerhouse vitamin is also chock full of skin benefits just waiting to be discovered.

“Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient that I recommend everyone incorporate in their skincare routine as a preventive treatment for aging and sun damage,” says Caitlin Hart, Licensed Aesthetician and Owner of Prism Face Lab.

Eager to learn more? We spoke to the skin experts to find out exactly why you should be using vitamin C on your skin.

What is vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a powerful skincare ingredient that brings with it bright results.

According to Stephanie Ivonne, a Licensed Esthetician for Smart Style Today, it’s safe to use on all skin types, but she says that those with ultra-sensitive skin might experience irritation as a reaction to the high levels of acidity.

Because of this, it’s recommended that you start off slow. “When it comes to any new product, it's highly recommended to start off slow and work your way up with the frequency to avoid any adverse reactions from occurring,” she explains.

While vitamin D as a skincare product can be found in many forms, such as serums, lotions and creams, the experts recommend a serum.

“Serums are a perfect way to easily allow the ingredients to absorb thoroughly into the skin. With adding the cream, you're adding extra moisture as well as locking in the skin's hydration,” Hart tells Lively.

“I personally find applying a vitamin C serum followed by a vitamin C facial lotion every morning makes my skin appear more awake and refreshed even if I'm tired and didn't get a good night's sleep.”

It brightens the skin and fades dark spots

Get a handle on hyperpigmentation (aka dark spots) with the anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C.

It works by inhibiting the melanin in your skin, which is what causes the hyperpigmentation and discoloration, explains Ivonne. “It helps in preventing these types of dark spots from appearing on your skin, giving you a brighter glow and an even skin tone.”

It promotes collagen and elastin

“Collagen gives you a plump and youthful appearance, but as you age, your body starts breaking down your collagen supply causing the appearance of hollow, dull, older looking skin,” says Ivonne.

Build that structure right back up with vitamin C, which promotes collagen and elastin, another protein responsible for the skin’s youthfulness. 

“The two are necessary to have that younger-looking appearance as it plays a huge role in hyaluronic acid's synthesis,” says Ivonne. (She likes Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum).

“It allows the skin the boost it needs to speed up the healing process and heal itself naturally.” This benefits other parts of the body as well, such as the hair and nails.

Looking to up your collagen intake? Try Vital Proteins products, such as our Original Collagen Peptides, which boasts hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, as well as our bovine collagen. Following a plant-based diet? Reach for our Beauty Boost capsules and our Hyaluronic Acid Super Surge capsules

It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

“Vitamin C is essential in plumping up the skin and supporting skin structure, which leads to a much slower aging process,” says Ivonne.

When looking for a product that contains vitamin C, Hart says to look for “Ascorbic acid” high on the ingredient list. You can use vitamin C day or night, but she says that during the day is especially important since it provides important antioxidant protection. 

It protects the skin from free radical 

Vitamin C is one of your best lines of defense in the fight against free radicals.

These are the “rogue molecules that encourage premature skin aging,” explains Dr. Alain Michon, MD, Medical Director at Ottawa Skin Clinic. Think environmental exposure that’s hard to avoid, such as air pollution and UV rays from the sun. (Hart calls these “cellular zombies.”)

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Dr. Michon says that these free radicals could negatively impact the collagen in the skin, leading to skin dryness, wrinkles and fine lines.

Thankfully, vitamin C offers the skin the protection it needs. “Research has shown that a derivative of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, neutralizes free radicals and can help reverse DNA damage,” explains Dr. Michon.

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.