Vitamin C offers many different benefits, but there’s also a lot of confusion about what exactly this potent antioxidant does and what roles it plays in a skincare routine. If you’re not sure what vitamin C does, or whether or not you’ve been using it correctly in your routine, here are 10 vitamin C that you probably believe, but that aren’t true!
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Myth #1: All vitamin C products are the same.
There are many different products that fall under the vitamin C umbrella — in fact, there are multiple derivatives of vitamin C alone! And that doesn’t even account for the other ingredients in the skincare product. Every single brightening serum has a unique formulation, and your skin will also react differently to each product that you try. Thanks to all the options on the market, there is definitely a vitamin C product out there that will work for your skin!
Myth #2: Vitamin C will irritate the skin.
Pure vitamin C can be irritating to the skin, but cosmetic companies formulate their products to reduce this risk of irritation as much as possible. If you have tried a vitamin C product that irritated your skin, then you might need to switch to one with a lower percentage or a different form of vitamin C (such as camu camu) that will be gentler on your skin. Also be sure to check the ingredient label to see if it contains any other ingredients besides vitamin C that might have potentially caused the irritation.
Myth #3: You shouldn’t use vitamin C during the day.
One of the major vitamin C myths is that it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. In reality, vitamin C actually protects your skin from free radical damage when applied during the day, so you can definitely use it in your morning skincare routine. However, there’s nothing to stop you from applying vitamin C at night, either, you just won’t get the free radical protection.
Myth #4: Higher percentages of vitamin C are better.
More isn’t necessarily better when it comes to skincare ingredients, and this is as true for vitamin C as it is for anything else. While some people’s skin is able to tolerate very high amounts of vitamin C, others may need a product with a lower percentage. A stable serum with a lower percentage of vitamin C will also be more effective than an unstable formulation with a higher concentration. It may take some experimentation to figure out what vitamin C concentration works best for your skin.
Myth #5: You can get enough vitamin C through diet alone.
You do need to ingest a certain amount of vitamin C through your diet and/or supplements each day, roughly 75 mg a day for women and 90 mg a day for men. However, vitamin C ingested orally won’t have the same effect on your skin as applying a topical product directly to the epidermis. Ideally, you should be getting your vitamin C from both the inside out (diet and supplements) as well as the outside in (skincare products) to ensure that your skin is in the best shape possible.
Myth #6: Your skin can grow resistant to vitamin C.
Your skin can develop a tolerance to certain topical products, in particular antibiotic creams, so that they stop working over time. However, since vitamin C doesn’t react with any specific receptors in the skin, your skin can’t develop a tolerance for it either. This means that you can continue to use vitamin C daily and reap the benefits from it for many years to come.
Myth #7: Vitamin C can’t be mixed with other active ingredients.
You may have heard that pure vitamin C shouldn’t be used with other active ingredients such as exfoliating acids and retinol. While it’s true that some people do experience irritation when using vitamin C in the same routine as other products, this depends on the products themselves as well as the individual’s skin sensitivity. If you find that your face gets irritated when using vitamin C with another active, use one in the morning and the other at night.
Myth #8: Vitamin C can stain or discolor the skin.
Vitamin C oxidizes easily, and it can temporarily turn the skin a darker color through the same mechanism as fake tanning. This is more likely to happen if the serum has already gone off in the bottle, so be sure that the seal is airtight each time you close it, and store the bottle in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Myth #9: Vitamin C replaces your sunscreen.
The antioxidant effects of vitamin C do not mean that it can act as a replacement for your sunscreen. In fact, the ideal morning routine should include both a vitamin C serum and a sunscreen for maximum benefits. The vitamin C will protect your skin from free radical damage, while the sunscreen will protect it from UV radiation. Also be sure to practice other sun safety habits, such as wearing hats and seeking shade.
Myth #10: It’s safe to DIY your own vitamin C serum.
Oranges might contain vitamin C, but putting orange juice on your face won’t give you the same effect as a skincare product formulated specifically for topical application. In fact, DIY skincare carries a big risk of unintentional side effects, including rashes, irritation, breakouts, and more. Stick with actual brightening serums for the best results.
Vitamin C is only one of the many different beneficial ingredients that you can incorporate into your skincare routine. Wondering which other ingredients work best for your skin concerns? Try this personalized skincare quiz to find out.