Skin care enthusiasts tout vitamin C skin treatments and serums as having a range of benefits, such as balancing skin tone, reducing hyperpigmentation, and reducing the signs of aging.
Many manufacturers package vitamin C products as serums, which are thinner in consistency than lotions or creams.
This article will look at the various cosmetic benefits of vitamin C serums, as well as some potential side effects to consider.
1. Sun protection
Vitamin C serum may help protect the skin from sun damage, but a person should continue to use sunscreen as well.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant. This means that it reduces the damage that free radicals may otherwise inflict on the body. Free radicals are particles that cause inflammation.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, some of the antioxidant effects Vitamin C has on the skin include:
reducing premature cell death
reducing the release of cytokines, which are inflammatory compounds
reducing damage resulting from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light
While a person should not replace sunscreen with topical vitamin C for skin protection, applying topical vitamin C as well may help protect against harmful effects from the sun.
2. Preventing premature aging
Vitamin C cannot reverse the appearance of wrinkles that develop naturally over time. However, vitamin C serums can help reduce premature aging by protecting the skin from the untimely skin wrinkles that sun exposure can cause.
Vitamin C also helps reduce premature wrinkling by stimulating the growth of collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin.
A small scale study found that applying a 5% vitamin C solution for 6 months helped increase skin thickness compared with a placebo solution. Thicker, collagen-rich skin is less likely to show wrinkling than thinner skin.
Although the study enrolled only 60 participants, it shows promise in supporting vitamin C as a collagen booster.
3. Creating an even skin tone
Some people apply topical vitamin C to treat hyperpigmentation. These are areas of skin that appear darker than the surrounding area. Sun exposure or hormonal changes linked with aging usually cause these darker areas.
Researchers theorize that vitamin C may help reduce melanin production, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
Melanin is a pigment responsible for the darker appearance of hyperpigmented areas. By reducing its production, a person may help reduce the appearance of darker areas.