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The ABC of Vitamin C

by Aubrey Lee


Vitamin C should be on everyone’s shelf but ever wonder why exactly is it so vital to the skin? We dive deep and read about our love affair with this powerhouse ingredient!



NOW THAT WE HAVE LEARNT ALL ABOUT NIACINAMIDE, the skincare ingredient that took the centre stage in 2020 from our previous ingredient spotlight series. If you have not, you can read about it here.

But now let’s shine a light on Vitamin C! We all know it, we all consume it but how much do you really know about Vitamin C?


What is Vitamin C?


Unlike niacinamide, our body is incapable of producing vitamin C by itself. Vitamin C or known scientifically as L-ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant found naturally in fruits and vegetables. When it comes to skincare, benefits of vitamin C are best applied directly on-skin (5% to 20% concentration) as compared to oral consumption. This is because the bioavailability of vitamin C is limited by our gut absorption. Pure vitamin C is hard to formulate due to its unstable and acidic properties.


The Many Types of Vitamin C


In the market, you’ll notice there are many names for vitamin C such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl glucoside, etc. These are derivatives of vitamin C, they are more stable and easier to formulate. They deliver the same benefits as L-ascorbic acid but with lower efficacy; hence it might take longer time to see results.




What are the Vitamin C Benefits?


# 1 Vitamin C has Anti-Oxidant & Photo-Protection properties

Give your skin the protection it needs! Vitamin C is good on its own but when formulated along with vitamin E, they are even more effective in combating free radicals and UV damage. With the addition of Ferulic acid, which acts as a stabilizer for vitamin C and vitamin E, this enhances both vitamins’ photoprotection abilities of skin.

# 2 Vitamin C is Anti-Inflammatory

Keep acne at bay! Vitamin C inhibits the activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, promotes wound healing as well as prevents post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

# 3 Vitamin C Fades Hyperpigmentation

Bring back the glow in your skin! Acne scars and brown spots are caused by overproduction of melanin. Incorporating vitamin C helps to interrupt the key steps in melanogenesis, the process where hyperpigmentations are formed, and reveal a brighter complexion.

# 4 Vitamin C is Anti-Aging

Vitamin C prevents aging by increasing collagen production to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. It plays an important role in stimulating collagen synthesis because it acts as cofactor for enzymes that stabilize and cross-link the collagen molecules, which result in firmer looking skin. Apart from that, vitamin C also stimulates lipid peroxidation, this process produces malondialdehyde. The malondialdehyde produced will then activate collagen production.





What are the side effects?

Some common side effects of vitamin C are tingling sensation, redness and itchiness. These can easily be treated using a basic, no-frills moisturiser. If irritation persists, opt for a lower concentration vitamin C or its derivatives.

The packaging matters!

We would say that we shouldn’t judge a product by its cover but with Vitamin C packaging plays a role in preserving the effectiveness by preventing oxidation.

When choosing a vitamin C product, look for dark-tinted and air-tight packaging. When exposed to UV or air, vitamin C turns yellowish in colour. This is the sign that your ascorbic acid has oxidized into dehydro ascorbic acid and lost its potency.

However, there is an exception for ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate, the vitamin C derivative used in Purpose All-Nighter Skin Reset. Our All-Nighter Skin Reset serum does not come in a UV protective bottle, because it doesn’t need to!

Here’s why, ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate or known as ascorbosilane for short is made of 3 ascorbic acid attached to methylsilanetriol (CH6O3Si), the silicon in CH6O3Si is what keeps our All-Nighter Skin Reset highly resistant to UV and oxygen, so it can stay in your shelf longer while retaining its potency!