photography by PHUONG NGUYEN
You may drink vitamin C every morning in your daily glass of orange juice, but do you also use it in your daily skincare regimin? Dr. Charissa Tagupa, Director of Clinical Operations at New York Dermatology Group, gives us the case for slathering it on your face as well. In her opinion, “It’s a great product to use on a daily basis.”
Read on for Dr. Tagupa's vit C recommendations and how-to tips.
Cool, but what exactly does vitamin C do to your skin, anyway?
Vitamin C is a natural exfoliant. It is a product that helps exfoliate and smooth out the skin, but it also helps with the fine lines around your eyes and mouth.
Oh okay, well, this sounds great. What type of skin is vitamin C effective on?
People who tend to use vitamin C would expect it to only be appropriate for combination skin or oily skin, but that’s not true. It’s also safe for sensitive skin, and those who are prone to redness as well.
So everyone! Wait, everyone?
I’d recommend that if you’re sensitive to the sun, vitamin C could magnify your sensitivity. So, if you started with vitamin C in your regime, it’s best to try it out at night first, and also use sun protection during the day (of course). If you’re going to use it during the day, always make sure to put moisturizer on top of it, as well as a sunscreen. Because the risk is, an exfoliant like vitamin C could cause hyperpigmentation or more inflammation from redness. But it’s a great product if you use it properly—moisturize afterward, and always use sun protection.
Are there any products that interfere with vitamin C?
If you're using a Retin-A or Retinoid, that is another exfoliant. It does have the same function as vitamin C, but it’s a little more aggressive. So, I’d tell patients to alternate days between vitamin C and Retinoids, or use one in the morning, and a very mild one at night.
What should you be aware of when looking for a vitamin C product?
Sometimes, it's mixed with other acids, like salicylic or glycolic acids. So, you just want to make sure it’s a low percentage of those other acids (below five percent), as it could cause more irritation and dryness. Sometimes, a lot of vitamin C is mixed with aloe vera and other moisturizers or hyaluronic acids, which is really great to calm the skin.
Okay, you convinced me, doc. How do I use it?
First, do a test spot—always. It’s super important to start small, like every other day, to begin. For someone who is more combination or oily, it’s safe to do every day, or every other day to start. It should be only once or twice a week for very sensitive people, but if your skin is dry, take a break for a day or two, and then head back.
Now that your vitamin C interest is piqued, take a look here at a roundup of our favorite must-haves.