Summertime, and the livin’ is C-sy: Part 1
We all know that vitamin C is important and it helps prevent and treat the visible signs of UV damage – but – what does vitamin C actually do, and how do we know when and how to use it?
Firstly, vitamin C as an antioxidant is photo-protective, treats existing photo-damage, is a co-factor in collagen synthesis, is essential for wound healing, helps to prevent dryness and transepidermal water loss, lightens and brightens skin coloration, and is anti-inflammatory. It performs a lot of functions for one little vitamin, and most of these functions are related to one another in some way. There are, however, some tricks we have to look at to make sure that we are using our topical vitamin C properly for maximum efficacy.
The biggest challenges with vitamin C are bioavailability and uptake. Vitamin C is most readily absorbed in an acidic environment, and the biggest barrier to vitamin C absorption is the gnarly epidermal wall we lovingly refer to as the stratum corneum.
In practical terms, this means that top priorities pre-application of a topical vitamin C solution are to make sure the skin is exfoliated and restored to it’s naturally acidic pH. If your client is receiving regular peels and keeping up with a mechanical exfoliation regimen at home (i.e.: using a scrub 1-3x/week depending on skin type and goals), she or he likely has the exfoliation part covered. Step 2 – tone, tone, tone: because vitamin C is most readily absorbed in an acidic environment, we don’t want to waste any product by applying it to skin that is not ready to drink it up immediately. Restore the natural skin pH after cleansing by using your toner of choice before applying a topical vitamin C.
In theoretical terms, only vitamin C solution formulation can take further steps to tackle the goal of providing a stable molecule that can get to the target depth of where it is useful. Each vitamin C product in Skin Fitness Therapy’s arsenal has a slightly different modality of making sure that happens:
Vital C 20% with Ellagi-C Serum uses the power of the Anogeissus leiocarpus. That’s the Ellagi-C part. It is a natural extract from an African tree bark that essentially escorts the vitamin C molecule to exactly where is needs to do it’s work on the collagen fibroblast. Vital C serum also combines a variety of other anti-oxidants in the form of black currant seed extract that synergistically compound the effects of the vitamin C molecule itself.
Cell-Tex Vitamin C Moisturizing Cream combines vitamin C in three different molecular forms that penetrate to specific levels. These compounds include water soluble forms and fat soluble forms. While water soluble molecules can penetrate through most of the epidermis, the fat soluble forms are able to make their way much deeper, similar to the way transdermal delivery of a compound requires an emulsifier to penetrate the skin in order to reach skeletal muscle. Even more importantly, this formula contains DHEA, the most common hormone in the blood stream and skin which reacts synergistically with the vitamin C signaling connective tissue to reproduce.
Vitamin C Peel 30% is a strategically formulated combination of fruit enzymes and ascorbic acid (a water soluble form of vitamin C) activated in a vitamin E and shea butter liquid solution. As a treatment, this professional formula takes care of the exfoliation, the break down of ascorbic acid into its usable parts, and the delivery of the vitamin C mixed into a fatty acid emulsion for deeper penetration. The use of the multiple fruit enzymes and vitamin E provide the synergistic antioxidant power that maximizes the formula’s efficacy in treating photo-damage.
So, knowing the formulas are strong and effective, how does the vitamin C do what it actually does?
Check-in in a couple of weeks for Part 2!