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The Obsession Edit: Vitamin C

You may have caught our #AskPatty series on Instagram where we answered all your burning questions around Vitamin C - here's the lowdown.


Every now and then, an ingredient reaches cult-level status and ends up permanently taking over our skincare routines. Vitamin C is one such ingredient. When used on a daily basis, it can help brighten dullness, diminish acne scars, even out skin tone, hydrate the skin and even protect it from pollution. Also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant found in many skincare products such as serums, moisturisers and face masks.



So why is it so obsession-worthy you ask? To name a few benefits, it can:

- Help boost collagen and improve skin elasticity
- Protect the skin from sun damage and free radicals
- Brighten skin and reduce discolouration
- Reduce the signs of ageing
- Minimise redness and inflammation
- Increase the effectiveness of sunscreen



Vitamin C is perhaps the most potent topical antioxidant we have and it’s a staple in my morning routine. Whether you’re just starting to venture into the world of anti-ageing or just want to look a little bit perkier, be consistent with it and you’ll see great results in no time!

But with any cult-status ingredients, there are a lot of burning questions about vitamin C. What exactly can it do for your skin? Is it really worth the fuss? Below you'll find my answers to some of these frequently asked questions:

Does vitamin C serum really work?

Yes, vitamin C can help with just about any common complexion concern: uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, acne scars and general dullness.

When should I apply vitamin C to my face?

Apply vitamin C right after cleansing and before moisturising. It’s recommended you use vitamin C during the day to protect the skin from UVA/UVB and pollution. Remember to always use SPF!


Can I apply vitamin C serum overnight?

You can apply it overnight, but you may get the most benefit from using it in the morning. Plus, if you’re using acids or retinol at night, I suggest applying it in the morning so you aren’t mixing too many actives at once.

Can I use vitamin C serum everyday?

Yes, you can use a vitamin C serum every day. If you have sensitive skin it's advised you start off with 2-3 times a week though. Maybe patch test if you're unsure.

Can I mix vitamin C serum with my moisturizer?

If it's in a powder form then yes you can mix it in with your moisturiser or a basic serum. If it’s in a serum form, apply it on its own to a cleansed face to get the best results.

Can I mix vitamin C and hyaluronic acid?

Yes you can, and there are many formulas that actually combine the two. If you're using two separate products then I recommend you apply vitamin C first due to its highly reactive properties.

What can you not mix with vitamin C?

As a general rule, you shouldn't mix vitamin C with benzoyl peroxide, AHAs/BHAs and retinol. If you're unsure, always check with the product manufacturer who will be able to tell you exactly what can and cannot be mixed with their product. Always better to be safe than sorry!

Should I use vitamin C or retinol?

Vitamin C and vitamin A are an important part of my skincare routine and I recommend using both (just not at the same time)! It’s recommended that you use vitamin C during the day to help protect the skin from UVA/UVB and pollution. Vitamin A should only be used at night combined with a soothing moisturiser.


Does vitamin C lighten skin?

Vitamin C-based products may lighten patches that are darker than the rest of your skin (called hyperpigmentation). This means it's great for encouraging brighter, less dull-looking skin.

Does vitamin C reduce pore size?

Yes, vitamin C can improve skin texture and the appearance of large pores. I did tell you it was a wonder worker!

What are the side effects of vitamin C serum?

This will vary from person to person. Some people may experience itching, redness, skin irritation or a tingling sensation when applying depending on how sensitive their skin is. Always patch test if you’re unsure or have slightly more reactive/sensitive skin. Vitamin C may also cause breakouts if the formula is too strong for your skin.

Which vitamin C serum is best?

Before we get into my personal favourites, there are a few essential factors to bear in mind when buying your vitamin C skincare. Because vitamin C is an unstable ingredient, it’s recommended that:


- It’s a low pH of 3.5 so that it can penetrate the top most layer of skin
- It comes in a dark container to protect from light damage
- It comes in an airtight container to protect the product’s longevity
- It contains additional ingredients such as vitamin E and ferulic acid that improve the stability of the formula



As for some of my personal favourites? These are the vitamin C formulas I can’t get enough of at the moment:



My top vitamin C tips:

- Use a vitamin C serum in the morning
- For serums, apply your vitamin C to freshly cleansed skin. For vitamin C containing moisturisers - apply those at the end of your routine
- Use the right concentration for your skin type and concern - Dry and sensitive skin should use lower concentrations which are less likely to be irritating. Those with oily skin and higher levels of pigmentation can handle higher concentrations
- Vitamin C should be colourless or a light straw shade. If it is oxidized, it becomes yellow or brown, and is likely to be less effective.


So there you have it, the lowdown on all things vitamin C. It really is no wonder it’s such a sought after ingredient, and with such a long list of benefits, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t add it to your routine. Just remember to patch test. Happy glowing!

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