Everyone I Know With Amazing Skin Uses This One Scientific Product

From bakuchiol to CBD, 2021 has already seen it's fair share of trending skincare ingredients, and I've tried them all. From overcoming my resistance to retinol to embracing a more pared-back approach to my skincare routine, I love experimenting to work out which ingredients are truly worth putting on my skin.

There's one key ingredient, however, that I've wholly neglected to sing the praises of this year. Despite using it every single day in my own routine, this ingredient has been somewhat overlooked in favour of the buzzy new launches that have been leading the way. Yet ask anyone with amazing skin which scientific ingredient it is that they swear by, and I guarantee it will be this one.


(Image credit: Monikh)

The ingredient in question? Vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C might not be anything new, but it's certainly a bit of a wonder ingredient if you aren't already using it. Found naturally in a wide range of fruit and vegetables, it's essential to help maintain a healthy complexion by protecting your skin cells and promoting healing.

As someone with acne-prone skin, I started using a vitamin C serum daily when a facialist advised me that vitamin C is a great ingredient to use if you're looking to fade pigmentation or dark spots caused by old blemishes. But I was interested to find out what other benefits this ingredient has to offer. After all, since using it regularly, I've noticed that my scarring has diminished and my complexion looks all-around brighter and healthier. 

To find out, I asked two skin experts for the professional angle on all things vitamin C—including what it does, how to use it and what the best vitamin C products on the market are. Keep scrolling to find out.

The benefits of vitamin C


(Image credit: @_MARISAMARTINS_)

"Vitamin C is a marketer's dream, as we all know it’s healthy," explained Georgie Cleeve, founder of skincare brand Oskia. "For skin, it not only plays a vital role in cell health but has hugely beneficial effects on skin condition. From reducing hyperpigmentation and evening skin tone to reducing fine lines and making skin stronger, suppler, healthier and more glowing."

Lisa Franklin, an award-winning facialist and skin salon owner, agrees. "Vitamin C has so many benefits for the skin. It's an antioxidant, increases collagen synthesis, boosts skin luminosity and smoothes skin tone," she explained. "Topical application of vitamin C has been shown to reverse some of the age-related structural changes in the dermis and has also been shown to prevent and treat UV-induced photodamage."

Rushing out to stock up on vitamin C serums yet?

The flip side of vitamin C 


(Image credit: @ALYSSAINTHECITY)

"However, there are also huge problems with using vitamin C," warned Cleeve. "Mainly, its famous instability and ability to oxidise almost immediately. Additionally, its penetration to skin cells is also problematic." This means that choosing a formula that will actually benefit your skin can be tricky.

Thankfully, there have been huge developments in the production of vitamin C products this year alone. "The quest for stable vitamin C derivates has caused a vast amount of research and many new derivates," said Cleeve. "The most stable form, which can be used at lower levels, is the oil-soluble ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, which has been clinically proven to be hugely effective at lower levels due to its stability and penetration qualities." Keep your eyes peeled for it in some of my vitamin C skincare picks below.

Using vitamin C


(Image credit: Monikh)

"I believe very strongly that in your 20s, protection is key," said Cleeve. "Retinols can wait until your 30s (unless you have a skin condition you want to treat), but vitamin C is perfect for all ages above 16."

Franklin is keen to point out how beneficial vitamin C is to combat early signs of ageing, too. "It regulates collagen synthesis," she says. "Regular application will decrease wrinkles, reduce protein fibre damage and smooth the skin's surface."

The good news is that it works quickly, especially when you're using it morning and night. "Some people claim a brightness almost immediately, but expect six weeks before visible differences occur," advised Cleeve.

"Regular topical application for at least three months will show an overall smoother, brighter, younger-looking complexion," Franklin explained. "People with dry skin will notice improved moisturisation, and acne sufferers will notice reduced inflammation."

Choosing a vitamin C formula


(Image credit: Lucy Williams)

All skin types can benefit from using vitamin C. Although, Franklin pointed out that sensitive complexions might experience some irritation to start with, while Cleeve advised that those with pigmentation, dullness, and acne will see a more marked result. When it comes to choosing a vitamin C formula, though, what should we be looking out for?

"Be cautious not to fall for the 'the higher percent is better' line," said Cleeve. "It's about formula and clever formulations. As an easy guide, if a vitamin C product changes colour or has a colour or smell, it has oxidised. If it contains water, be cautious. Ideally, oil-soluble capsules or airless pumps are a must—and choose a brand you trust with good science and proof."

Franklin also has a trick up her sleeve. "Look for products that also contain vitamin E, as it stabilises vitamin C for maximum skin protection," she advised.

Keep scrolling to shop the best vitamin C products:

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Next up, I swapped my expensive skincare routine for an under-£98 one and here's what happened.

Mica Ricketts