Vitamin C: A Powerful, Protective Antioxidant

Ingredient Investigation

Vitamin C: A Powerful, Protective Antioxidant

By Chrissy Carrano

Filed Under

Vitamin C is a time-tested, proven ingredient in skincare, which is why you see it so often in products. The ingredient, the same molecule that you get from a good clementine, is known for its protective, brightening, and collagen-promoting properties.
How it Works

As an antioxidant, it protects. If your skin was in a high school cafeteria, the free radicals are the bullies (UV light, air pollution, stress, etc.) and the antioxidants are the security guards that take care of them. Vitamin C is the Head of Security.

The vitamin is also acidic (you may see it called L-ascorbic acid), triggering skin to repair and create more collagen. And finally, vitamin C naturally inhibits the pigmentation process, keeping dark spots at bay.

Science has shown that a diet with plentiful Vitamin C can positively impact the skin, too. Beyond oranges, enjoy those baked sweet potatoes, curried cauliflower, roasted red peppers, and summery cantaloupe.

Easily one of the most time-tested, proven ingredients in skincare, vitamin C supports critical skincare needs—it protects, brightens, and boosts collagen.

Make it Routine

If you're concerned with pigmentation, your dream team includes an effective exfoliation to move things along, plus a sunscreen and vitamin C serum to keep future pigmentation away.

This lightweight, moisturizing serum supports overall skin health and brightens with vitamin C.

Bestseller
Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum

Image Skincare

Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum

This nourishing serum softens signs of aging and boosts elasticity for a radiant complexion.

Dehydration

Fine Lines

As the name says, brighten up with this lightweight vitamin C serum packed with other hydrators like aloe, sunflower seed oil, and shea butter.

Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum

Ursa Major

Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum

Brighten dull-looking skin while instantly hydrating to make way for an even tone.

Dehydration

Hyperpigmentation

Wait—One More Thing!

When on the hunt for vitamin C, you may see it under many names that aren't as straightforward as what Tropicana puts on the packaging. You'll see l-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and more.

Why? While the benefits are known and widely celebrated, vitamin C is tricky when it comes to integrating into formulas. As a molecule on its own, it's highly unstable, which is why it's often synthesized in laboratories. (Those images of a syringe pulling out vitamin C from a leafy orange aren't really a thing.) That's also why a good vitamin C product needs to be in an opaque or amber bottle, away from the ability of light to break it down.

It also isn't a highly penetrating ingredient, which means it has to be purposefully built into a formulation to get to where it needs to go in the skin to have the desired impact.

Product Finder

  • any product
  • any condition
    .