Vitamin C, also known as L-Ascorbic acid, is one of the most important antioxidants you can use on your skin, so much so that it has been considered a gold standard by industry experts. This is because it is so effective at neutralizing free radicals. These are molecules which are triggered by various environmental factors including pollution, smoke, and UV rays. Free radicals are your skin’s enemy, as they can break down your skin’s collagen and cause more visible signs of aging. This can include wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, dry patches and more. When you treat your skin with Vitamin C, you can help neutralize free radicals and minimize the damage they cause on the skin’s surface. In fact, vitamin C is the only antioxidant proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, as well as minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C cannot be synthesized by humans, but we can get it from our diet, including citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables. However, absorption via the digestive system is limited, and the most effective bioavailable form of Vitamin C is by topical application directly to the skin. Vitamin C can degrade when it comes into contact with light, so it must be kept in an opaque or dark container to ensure it remains optimally active. It is best to use Vitamin C in the morning, followed by a physical sunscreen (at least SPF30).
Retinol, or other members of the retinoid family, is valued in skincare as it can provide a wide range of benefits to the skin. Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, and naturally occurs in the skin. It has been proven to help to increase skin firmness, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin tone and texture, and reduce acne and pore size. It also helps to build collagen and elastin. Retinol is a powerful product and should be used with care. Retinol can increase the skin’s sensitivity to light, so it is important to only use retinol in the evening, and always follow with a physical sunscreen the following morning. Since retinol is quite powerful, most experts recommend starting with a lower concentration of the ingredient and slowly working your way up to help build your skin’s tolerance. Start by using retinol once or twice a week, and gradually increase the frequency as needed to every other day, or every night as tolerated. Use an encapsulated formulation of retinol if possible, as this delivery method releases the retinol slowly into the skin, thus reducing the risk of irritation.