Vitamin C serum is a treatment for the skin made with Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that is thought to have a number of benefits for skin. The problem with Vitamin C serum has long been that the purest forms of the substance were also the most unstable, and would rapidly deteriorate when exposed to air or light. However, new advances in packaging technology and in formulating the serums have led to a proliferation of Vitamin C serums available on the market for use as a skin treatment.
Benefits of vitamin C serum
Free radicals are naturally-occurring molecules that are thought to have damaging effects on skin. The free radicals are molecules that have an unpaired electron and therefore seek to bond with an electron from another molecule it encounters; it is thought that these free radicals damage lipids and proteins in our bodies, leading to visible aging. While free radicals lead to rancidity in oil and brown discoloration in apples, they are also believed to cause wrinkling, thinning and discoloration in skin. Vitamin C serum is thought to provide anti-aging benefits to skin by helping skin repair itself, firming and toning while brightening the skin color. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C fight free radicals by neutralizing them and giving them an electron so that they can no longer damage surrounding cells.
Vitamin C serum for sun damage
According to one source, up to 90% of premature skin aging is attributed to sun exposure. In addition to using sunscreens and avoiding direct sun, the use of Vitamin C serums has been shown to be effective in treating existing sun damage and preventing further damage from occurring to the skin.
Many clinical trials have been undertaken to study the benefits of Vitamin C serum for the skin. One 2001 study found that applying antioxidants to the skin before exposure to sunlight can actually provide a level of protection and reduce the oxidation of the skin. Another study in 2002 found that applying antioxidants after sun exposure can decrease the overall effects and prevent further damage.
Vitamin C serum has also been shown to reduce the formation of melanin, the pigment found in skin. One symptom of sun damage is dark, blotchy spots on the skin, and using Vitamin C serum can reduce these spots and fade them over time. These spots, also known as “sun spots,” can add many years to appearance and can be frustratingly stubborn to fade with other treatments. However, Vitamin C serum has been shown to be effective in their treatment, as well as in the treatment of dark skin around the eyes.
The problems of Vitamin C serum
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and as such is quite unstable. Unless in a dry form, Vitamin C will quickly oxidize after being exposed to air or light. It is estimated that up to 90% of the potency of Vitamin C has already been lost in the first month after a product has been opened. Using such a formulation will provide minimal benefits. Newer Vitamin C serums attempt to overcome this problem by mixing the Vitamin C with other substances that provide a protective role, keeping the serum active and potent for longer. It is also important for the serum to be quickly absorbed so that oxidation while on the surface of the skin is minimized.