MYTHBUSTING WITH AVÈNE: VITAMIN C
As the holy grail of skincare actives, there’s a lot of (mis)information about Vitamin C out there. Being the hero ingredient in our new A-Oxitive range, we thought we should dig deeper and demystify some commonly held Vitamin C beliefs consulting dermatologist, Dr Alice Rudd from Skindepth Dermatology.
MYTH #1: ANY C WILL DO
Nope! Vitamin C is not created equal.
Whether you’re after brighter, more radiant skin or simply trying to fight those pesky fine lines, Vitamin C might just be your golden ticket – but it’s important to understand there are many forms of Vitamin C out there. In skincare products, Ascorbic Acid (pure Vitamin C) is the most common, but it’s also the least stable and where Vitamin C gets its harsh reputation – it can be irritating, especially on sensitive skin. Additionally, according to Dr Rudd, Vitamin C is very “difficult to formulate so by the time it gets to skin, it might not be doing what you think it should be doing!”.
For that reason, a Vitamin C precursor or Pro-Vitamin C can be a better choice, as they are not as sensitive to light and air and therefore are much more stable. They can also be far less irritating on your skin.
A-Oxitive for example, uses Vitamin C precursor Ascorbyl Glucoside, with Gradual Release Innovation, which transforms to Pure Vitamin C on contact with the skin, and slowly releases it throughout the day – meaning it’s much gentler and better tolerated by sensitive skin. Dr Rudd also points out that “one of the main advantages of a Gradual Release formula like in A-Oxitive is that you have ongoing antioxidant protection all day long.”
MYTH #2: THE HIGHER THE PERCENTAGE, THE MORE EFFECTIVE
Of course, a higher concentration of Vitamin C may get you seeing results in your skin more quickly, but at around 20%, you’ll hit a Vitamin C plateau where the efficacy tapers off. Huh? This means that 30% pure Vitamin C or even 50% isn’t going to increase the benefit – it may in fact cause much more harm than good.
If you have sensitive skin, a higher concentration may be irritating so the experts generally recommend sticking to the lower end of percentages.
In fact, a lower dose of Pro-Vitamin C is capable of achieving the same results as high concentrations of Pure Vitamin C. A-Oxitive Serum for example, gives the results equivalent to 15% pure Vitamin C* in a much gentler way. The Gradual Release property of Pro-Vitamin C allows Pure Vitamin C to be released efficiently throughout the day, only when the skin needs it.
MYTH #3: VITAMIN C INCREASES SUN SENSITIVITY
Unlike hydroxy acids or retinol derivatives, Vitamin C does not make the skin more vulnerable to sunlight. But that does not mean you get to skip on SPF! Sunscreen is an essential part of your everyday skin care regime – it is the best prevention of ageing.
With your Vitamin C layered underneath your sunscreen, you’ll get the best of both worlds as it will neutralise free radical damage even further. No matter how you put it, SPF will always be a crucial step in any skincare routine. As Dr. Alice Rudd puts it, “if you’re not wearing sunscreen, the rest of it is pointless!”.
MYTH #4: PEOPLE WITH SENSITIVE SKIN SHOULDN’T USE VITAMIN C
Again, this will highly depend on the type of Vitamin C used and the concentration. People with sensitive skin will have a hard time tolerating pure Vitamin C without irritation, but that doesn’t mean they should avoid it altogether. “The problem is that Ascorbic Acid, the active form of Vitamin C, is very difficult to compound. It’s extremely unstable as it reacts with oxygen and oxidises, and the low pH also makes it very irritating on most people’s skin”, says Dr. Rudd.
The good news for those of us with sensitive skin is that the Vitamin C in A-Oxitive, Ascorbyl Glucoside, is much less likely to cause irritation as it will only be broken down to Ascorbic Acid when absorbed into the skin.
MYTH #5: VITAMIN C OXIDISES AND LOSES POTENCY OVER TIME
Although not entirely a myth, this is only true of some forms of Vitamin C. Precursor forms of Vitamin C, such as our Pro-Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Glucoside), are stable forms of Vitamin C that prevent it from oxidising and turning brown in contact with light and air. This allows Pure Vitamin C to be released efficiently throughout the day, only when the skin needs it.