The Wonders of Vitamin C
We’ve been hearing about Vitamin C since we were kids. Might get a cold? Take some vitamin C. Sore throat? Have some lemon and honey. Winter blues? Have a fresh orange juice. We know the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C for our immune health - having enough ascorbic acid, as it is also called, is vital for our cells to be able to perform their tasks properly. What we are only recently learning though – is how incredibly valuable the topical application of Vitamin C is, to our skin. Only a few studies have been conducted so far on Vitamin C and your skin, so our knowledge is still limited but what we know is exciting – Vitamin C has the capacity to actively change your skin and make it stronger, just like it does with your immune cells.
Vitamin C is a normal part of our skin and can be found in both our dermis and epidermis layers. The content of Vitamin C is higher in the outer layers of the skin and it is associated with collagen production and protection against UV radiation. However, as we age, there is a decline in the Vitamin C content in our skin. This is compounded by exposure to certain damaging forces like pollutants (ozone and cigarette smoke being the worst) and UV light. Usually we get the Vitamin C in our skin from our bloodstream, which is why it is vital that we keep up our intake – the body doesn’t store Vitamin C so we need a daily source. Skin scientists are still working on finding out what the optimum level of Vitamin C in our skin cells should be.
This is where topical application comes in. Extra Vitamin C applied to the skin is absorbed directly into the upper layers of the skin, allowing it to work its protective and restorative magic more quickly and effectively. It has to make its way through the skin, but if the pH levels of the product are just right, this is not difficult. The real difficulty, is that Vitamin C is very un
stable and when it is exposed to heat, light or air it begins to degrade in a process called oxidisation. Which means any Vitamin C that is mixed with a skincare product is not actually very effective at all. This makes it difficult to figure out a valuable delivery system. Many companies have simply turned to synthetic derivatives of Vitamin C instead of finding a more innovative way to deliver it. Others add antioxidants to try and keep it stable. The further they move away from the pure product, the less effective it is on the skin.
The challenge for a natural skincare company is two-fold – where can we source high potency non-synthetic Vitamin C and how can we keep it stable?
Vanessa Megan’s Two Phase Brightening System
VM sources our vitamin C powder from completely 100 per cent natural sources. This includes the Australian ingredient Kakadu Plum, which is known to have the highest natural content of vitamin C on this planet (60 times more than and orange!) It is also antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. From this we make a Vitamin C powder that we keep isolated and in an airtight container, ready for delivery to the skin. Rather than trying to stabilise it in a product and losing the potency, we decided on a two-phase system.
The second component of the process is the serum. The serum acts as a carrier to dissolve the potent Vitamin C powder, so it can absorb into the skin. The serum is aloe and olive base which are very nourishing, and also contains natural antioxidant extracts of marsh mallow, cranberry, licorice root, bearberry, kiwi and elderberry. The potent combination means that the skin is gently but powerfully bombarded with Vitamin C.
The advantage of using Vitamin C in this way is that it lasts longer, is fresher and more active and it also allows the user to mix the percentage of Vitamin C their skin can tolerate. As a very active substance, it can irritate some skin; so different people will want to use a lower percentage than others. People with very sensitive skins can use less powder and more serum; thicker and stronger skins can add more powder to Serum.
A lot of vitamin c serums are measured in per cent age of active vitamin c but with the VM powder component, you get 100 percent Vitamin C, which means you control what percentage goes on your skin when you mix it with the serum. We recommend starting with about 10% powder and working up to a stronger percentage. It’s powerful stuff after all.
The best time to use Vitamin C products is at night on cleansed, make-up free skin. Use it in place of your moisturising one a week, or, if you skin really needs a boost, you can do a continuous course each night for a week, or even a month. When you skin is stronger you can also exfoliate first so that the Vitamin C penetrates more deeply.
And while we know what it does on a cellular level – what changes will it make to the visible skin? Well Vitamin C is very good for anyone concerned with signs of ageing on the skin. It is incredibly healing for people with scarring and is the best vitamin for anyone with unwanted pigmentation concerns. People with sensitive and open skin concerns such as rosacea, acne, eczema and dermatitis may need to wait for the skin to strengthen and heal prior to using vitamin C. If you are unsure of when and how to add it into your skincare routine seek professional advice before using it. We recommend at least three months of use of our Holy Trinity products before you advance to Vitamin C, just to really soothe and strengthen your skin and make it as healthy as possible.