About a month ago I was sitting outdoors next to a friend of mine in Palm Springs. It was a hot day in July and I was enjoying her company and her beautiful pool. She and I started talking about skin care and I was a little alarmed when I learned how she was using Vitamin C serum. I love Vit C serums, but there are clearly 5 important considerations when using a Vitamin C serum.
Let’s first consider the benefits of Vitamin C serum. High-quality serums stimulates skin cell regeneration. This produces a healthier epidermis. When Vit C is used consistently it will visibly brighten and smooth the skin. It increases the production of collagen and elastin, thus increasing firmness. There are many more benefits of Vit C serums, which is why they are so popular. However, with great benefits come some real risks.
Let me share a story a heard in esthetician school. One of the instructors had a friend who had an area on her left hand that was wrinkled and darker then on her right hand. They were perplexed by the differences until the instructor was at a pool party with her friend. Her friend loved the sun and loved her tequila. Every evening after work and on the weekends, she spent at least an hour by the pool enjoying her shots of tequila. She would pour herself a tequila and then put lemon on her left hand to lick after the shot. The area where she put the lemon was the exact spot that was problematic and of concern to the woman. Let’s take a look at what was happening
5 Important Considerations When Using Vitamin C Serum
- If your serum has oxidized you run the risk that you will start seeing dark spots on the area where you are applying the serum. To help reduce oxidation of your products follow these best practices: purchase small quantities, store in dark glass containers, and store in a dark cool location where the temperature is controlled.
- When applied to the skin and exposed to strong sunlight, it can oxidize the formula on your skin. This may cause the skin to darken in that area. The woman in my story had damaged her skin by over exposing it to the acid in the lemon, which was then compounded by the direct exposure to the sun.
- According to a study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, topicals with 20% do not “increase its biological significance and, conversely, might cause some irritation”. As with any cosmetic purchase, use care in the selection of your individual products. Make sure that the ingredients are a good fit with your desired outcome.
- Vitamin C reacts with common compounds found in cosmetics which can cause sensitives, rashes or other side effects. As an example, vitamin C serums can irritate your skin if used with other retinol creams and serums. Retinol creams and serums also contain acids so your skin is in a sense being over treated.
- Vitamin C serum may result in yellowing of the skin, stinging, or dryness. Researchers who studied Vitamin C serums in India advised users to use caution when applying around the eyes. Every person I know who has Vitamin C serums use them around the eyes. Most professionals recommend using Vitamin C serums at night to reduce the impact that sun exposure with have on our skin.
As with most skin care enthusiasts, I love Vitamin C topicals, including serums. However as with any product that is highly effective, proper use is critical. Remember to shop wisely, purchase small quantities that are properly stored, and use at night. If you start seeing negative changes in your skin, stop the use of the product and consult with an esthetician to find a better solution.