One of my favorite products is a good vitamin C serum! Why? Because Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, boosts collagen production, and brightens dark spots.
Here’s the breakdown! First, Vitamin C helps to reduce visible signs of aging by combating the free radical damage arising from sun exposure, heat exposure, and other environmental stressors (like pollution). When speaking to my patients, I often explain that free radicals are like tiny missiles, and they destroy everything in their path. They are highly reactive forms of oxygen whose effects can damage cell membranes and other structures in the body, including DNA and collagen. When you are exposed to a lot of free radicals, it means you are suffering from oxidative stress, and too much oxidative stress can lead to premature aging, skin cancer, and chronic skin conditions like acne.
Second, Vitamin C promotes new collagen which firms the skin, minimizes the appearance of pores, and smooths out fine lines. Vitamin C is actually a cofactor that is required by enzymes to crosslink and create new collagen. However, to boost new collagen, the Vitamin C has to penetrate through the surface layers of the skin and reach the deeper layer, called the dermis. Vitamin C made in the lab has been shown to boost collagen, but I have yet to see convincing studies showing that natural forms of Vitamin C have the same effect.
Third, vitamin C is one of our most effective brightening ingredients, lightening dark spots on the skin to create a more even skin tone and complexion. The way vitamin C brightens the skin is by binding to the copper ions that are required by the enzyme tyrosinase, so this notorious pigment-producing enzyme is basically rendered incapable of pumping out more pigment. Eventually, the darker, stained layers of skin are sloughed away.
Here are some of my favorite Vitamin C serums: