3 myths about vitamin C in skin care (and how to achieve its full potential)

3 mita o vitaminu C u njezi kože (i kako ostvariti puni potencijal njege)

How many times have you heard that vitamin C should never be applied before going out in the sun because it causes hyperpigmentation? Or that it should not be used in parallel with other activities? Below, find out why these 3 myths about vitamin C still prevail, why they are not (entirely) true, what context actually stands behind such allegations and how to realize the full potential of care with this valuable antioxidant.

1. Vitamin C should only be used from autumn and only in the evening

It is still very common to hear that vitamin C is by no means for the summer, even less for the morning routine and the period when we are exposed to the sun. Unfortunately, these myths still persist, despite the fact that the benefits of using vitamin C on warmer days and in the morning have been well proven. Namely, antioxidants are necessary to mitigate and/or prevent damage caused by free radicals caused by exposure to UV rays, i.e. the sun. It is primarily necessary to protect the skin from the sun with dedicated products with UV filters, i.e. SPFs. However, it is very possible to improve and optimize this protection. This is possible precisely with topical antioxidants. In this case, vitamin C does not absorb UV radiation as UV filters do, but neutralizes its harmful effects, which SPF alone does not do in the same way. In this way, the protection itself is somehow "rounded off" and improved. [1] What is also important to emphasize is that the action of vitamin C can be additionally enhanced with other antioxidants, primarily vitamin E and ferulic acid.

Vitamin Emulsion C+

Ferulic acid is particularly interesting here, since it shows an extremely dual antioxidant property - it protects the formulation itself from oxidation, but also protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. It is interesting that its effect is strengthened precisely by exposure to UV radiation. This is why it is useful in products that are applied in the morning with SPF. Feel free to use your vitamin C products in the morning, especially if they contain the addition of ferulic acid and vitamin E, as is the case with Vitamin Serum C+ and Vitamin Emulsion C+ . Exceptions are formulations that also contain retinol or, for example, AHA acids, which are not recommended to be used in the morning. In such cases, the product can also be applied in the evening.

2. Vitamin C should not be used with retinol and niacinamide

Technically speaking, this myth arose due to the fact that classic ascorbic acid is not the best combination with niacinamide, especially due to different pH values. Namely, in order to be effective and somewhat stable, ascorbic acid requires a very low, acidic pH of the product itself. Niacinamide, on the other hand, needs a slightly higher and more neutral pH. In this specific case, when one product is applied simultaneously to another, the decomposition of niacinamide (hydrolysis) may occur on the skin, and such a reaction may trigger the so-called blushing effect, i.e. temporary redness. We repeat, this applies exclusively to pure and classic ascorbic acid, and today there is a whole series of different derivatives on the market that require an almost identical, more neutral pH as niacinamide. Moreover, some products are formulated with both active ingredients at the same time.

As for the Professional serum, Vitamin Serum C+ and Vitamin Emulsion C+ can technically be used in the same routine with Vitamin Serum B3 because it is ethylated ascorbic acid, which enables a more neutral pH of the product. In practice, the decision on this depends on the skin itself, tolerance and needs, so most people will still find it convenient to divide the product in the morning and in the evening, or alternate the days. The same applies to retinol - technically there is no obstacle to simultaneous use in the same routine, unless it is classic ascorbic acid, which is somewhat more irritating to the skin due to its more acidic pH. Another "obstacle" is that vitamin C is recommended for the morning, and retinol for the evening. However, if the skin is comfortable using a vitamin C derivative together with retinol in the same routine, that is technically absolutely fine.

Professional Fluid SPF 50

3. Vitamin C is not suitable during pregnancy and breastfeeding

With active ingredients, the matter is actually very simple. Technically speaking, only vitamin A derivatives (retinol, retinal, retinyl palmitate and other forms) are not recommended during pregnancy due to a potential teratogenic effect on the fetus in the first trimester. Salicylic acid as an active ingredient (in higher doses of about 1% to 2%) is also not recommended. Although it is important to follow such instructions, especially if they come from the doctor himself, it is also not out of place to know how these are precautionary measures, since for ethical reasons the actual impact of such activities on pregnant women is not monitored. The use of retinoids and salicylic acid during breastfeeding is primarily a matter of agreement with the doctor, personal decision and preference. Technically, if there is no direct skin-to-skin contact and similar situations, there are no obstacles to this - especially in the case of products like Microexfoliant , which are left on the skin for only a few minutes and then washed off. Vitamin C, therefore, is suitable for use both during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, just as it brings benefits in oral form. When it comes to cosmetics, it is important to know how to check the entire formulation and assess whether it is suitable for use in your case.


[1] Pumori Saokar Telang. Vitamin C in Dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/, accessed 10/4/2023.

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