Is This the Most Important Part of Your Skin Care Regimen?

Dr. Janet Zand
March 15, 2019

Most people have the basics of skin care down. Cleanse, moisturize, maybe apply an eye cream. This is a good start. But if you want your skin to look its best, you need to add a step. I know, I know – everyone is looking to simplify these days. But this step is simple – and simply transformative.

I’ve told you about this before. But there’s a lot more to this simple step than we’ve covered so far. In fact, it can fight oxidative stress in your skin, protecting it from aging and sun damage.

This vital step is applying a vitamin C serum. If the only time you think about vitamin C is when you’re fighting off a cold, you’re missing out on so many of the benefits it can offer topically.

One of the reasons vitamin C boosts health is that it’s a powerful antioxidant. It can bring those antioxidant properties to the skin too. Oxidative stress contributes to fine lines and wrinkles and other signs of aging. By neutralizing the threat of free radicals, vitamin C can prevent and even reverse skin aging. If you don’t have wrinkles yet, vitamin C can help you avoid them in the future. But that’s not all it can do.

Fights Oxidative Stress in the Skin

Vitamin C can also help keep free radicals from forming in the skin in the first place. That’s because it provides protection from UV radiation. As you know, the sun is a major source of oxidative stress and aging. Vitamin C provides protection from both UVA and UBA rays. Vitamin C isn’t a substitute for sunscreen. But it can actually help sunscreen work more effectively.

Not too long ago, a study published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology used ultrasound to evaluate the effects of topical vitamin C on participants' facial skin.

For this study, 60 female participants applied either a vitamin C-based or a placebo moisturizer for 60 days. The researchers took ultrasonographic images of their facial skin before they began treatment, at 40 days, and at 60 days. They evaluated the thickness of the participants' epidermis and dermis, the number of low (LEP), medium (MEP), and high echogenic pixels (HEP), and the number of LEP in the upper and lower dermis (LEPs/LEPi).

They found that LEP went down significantly for all of the participants who used the vitamin C, particularly in those who were under the age of 50. MEP and HEP levels, which relate to protein synthesis, went up for all vitamin C users, but especially the youngest participants. This suggests that vitamin C helps stimulate collagen synthesis for all age groups and can be especially effective for younger users. The study also did not identify any significant side effects to using vitamin C.

More Benefits of Vitamin C

Plus, the skin needs vitamin C in order to make collagen. As we get older, we produce less and less collagen. The structural integrity of the skin declines. Wrinkles form. Collagen keeps your skin firm and smooth. Collagen breakdown leads to saggy, dull skin. Your skin can use the vitamin C from your diet (if you’re eating enough). But applying it topically gives it a direct infusion to use. So vitamin C will not only protect you from the stress that breaks collagen down, it will actually help you make more of it.

Vitamin C can help improve the tone and color of your skin as well. It can brighten under-eye circles and reduce the inflammation that promotes skin redness, dullness, and other discoloration. It can help fade brown spots as well. And because it supports the immune system, it can speed up the skin’s healing process. That means you’ll say good-bye to pimples, scars, and other blemishes more quickly.

Vitamin C will even help you recover from a sunburn (though I hope that’s a rare experience). People report that it offers relief from the burning, itching, and stinging. Plus, as mentioned earlier, it reduces redness – including redness from angry, burned skin.

Vitamin C even moisturizes the skin. Once again, it’s not a substitution for other products – you should still use a day moisturizer and a night moisturizer. But it can help relieve dryness and flakiness, allowing your skin to lock in moisture for hours.

When you apply vitamin C serum, it’s best to do so after you wash your face but before you apply your moisturizer. Give it a minute to absorb before you apply another product. Use it sparingly around your eyes – a little goes a long way here.

Look for a vitamin C product that’s concentrated to give you the most bang for your buck. That’s why I recommend a serum. Vitamin C is completely natural and typically gentle enough for everyday use, even in concentrated form. No matter your age or skin type, you’ll likely see benefits from adding vitamin C to your routine.

What’s the Best Base for Topical Vitamin C?

If you really want your vitamin C serum to work, it has to be in the right base. When we were developing Système 41, we thought long and hard about the most effective and safest ingredients to use. We knew we wanted to develop a vitamin C serum that would give us all the benefits of vitamin C without the dryness. We decided upon an aloe vera and hyaluronic base. This unique combination gives you the benefit of vitamin C, the antioxidant and restorative protection of aloe vera, and the strong moisturizing effect of hyaluronic acid. I think of it as an anti-aging triad.

This has proven to be remarkable. Not a week has gone by since we released the serum that I have not received dozens of emails thanking us for the anti-aging triad. During the winter months, our skin tends to become dehydrated. Consider reaching for the luxurious nutrient dense Vitamin C Serum for tone correction, hydration, and skin restoration. Let me explain why the base is so important.

If you've ever gotten a bad sunburn, you probably know that one of the best ways to bring relief to your burning skin is by applying aloe vera gel. People have used aloe vera for centuries to help with everything from wound care to laxative needs. It works so well in part because it has over 75 active ingredients. And studies on some of these 75 active ingredients give us plenty of evidence that aloe vera shouldn't just be something you store in the back of your refrigerator in case you forget to reapply sunscreen.

Take for instance a study published a few years ago in the journal Organic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters. In this study, the researchers investigated and quantified a number of these benefits. The researcher found that aloe vera has significant antioxidant capacities, in part because it is full of polyphenols and flavonoids. This allows aloe vera to help your skin repair itself from the damage the sun can cause.

We know that premature aging, also known as photo aging of the skin, is most often characterized by wrinkles and unwanted pigmentation. In well done, scientific studies, aloe vera has exhibited the exceptional ability of reducing photo damage. Research has shown that aloe vera protects and maintains the integrity of the skin membrane at a cellular level.

Even better, aloe vera pairs antioxidant capacities with antibacterial effects. In another study, the researchers found that aloe vera can inhibit the growth of a number of different strains of bacteria. This means that aloe vera can be helpful in fighting off infections, which is one reason it was effectively used for wound care long before the advent of modern medicine.

So using aloe as the base has proved to be vital for women as they use the vitamin C serum to heal their damaged skin. But don’t stop with aloe.

Add Some Tea to Your Vitamin C

One of the best partners for vitamin C is tea extract. Red, green, and white teas all contain compounds that can work together with vitamin C to enhance the skin’s radiance and strength. Tea extracts contain antioxidants that aid in protecting the skin from damage and reduce inflammation. The cumulative effects of oxidative damage are a significant factor in the aging of our skin, so the less damage we sustain, the younger our skin will look.

Green tea in particular is beneficial because it contains a phytochemical called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG for short. You may recognize EGCG as one of the reasons you are told to drink green tea. Taking it internally also helps to additionally protect the skin from UV damage and from DNA issues. But it turns out that applying green tea topically is beneficial as well. Green tea contains oligomeric proanthocyanidians (OPCs), which help reactivate skin cells damaged by sunlight, pollution, or a poor diet. Plus, it protects against typical signs of aging while making your complexion appear moist and supple.

Tea extracts even contain some vitamin C themselves, providing reinforcements for any vitamin C you’re already using to support the skin.

Since green tea is such a good assistant to vitamin C, we included it in our Vitamin C Serum. Vitamin C and green tea work hand-in-hand, alongside a few more powerful ingredients, to give you youthful, radiant skin. Consider it your partner in looking your best!

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