Vitamin C is one of those vitamins you’ll see added to many beauty products across the board. There are many studies that cite Vitamin C as necessary to skin health and is depleted when the skin is exposed to health. By adding it to our bodies externally and internally we can combat sun damage, and in some cases reverse it. Vitamin C builds collagen, lightens hyperpigmentation, and is safe for long term use on the skin. Cool stuff!
The way to add it to our regimen is not that simple however. Taking a supplement of 500-2000 mg a day is helpful internally for building a reserve to build collagen. However applying it externally is tricky. What surprised me in my research was finding out that Vitamin C is unstable in liquid form and lasts only two weeks max after added to a liquid as it begins to oxidize. What that means is many products on the shelf have very little active Vitamin C by the time you purchase it. There may be products with techniques to preserve the Vitamin C. However I have my reservations about what chemicals would be necessary to preserve the Vitamin C content. Will leave it to their marketing departments to explain.
So the challenge with Vitamin C is the question of how much active Vitamin C in it. A solution would be adding inexpensive crystalline Ascorbic Acid to your water soluble cream, lotion, or serum of choice.
I did a little experimentation adding Vitamin C crystals to water and lotion bases.
Fail on adding Vitamin C to the lotion! I didn’t even bother trying the Aloe. After mixing the crystals into a water based lotion (crucial if you go this route as Vitamin C is not soluble in oil) a reaction occurred and the product separated into two layers of film. No go!
Now for pure water. I found a perfect shaped serum tube that fit 2 tablespoons of water and 1/8 a teaspoon of the Vitamin C. I started with that approximate dose per the recommendation here.
The water worked best! I was able to shake the little vial until the crystals dissolved. The two tablespoons last me about two weeks and I not redness or sensitivity. Keep in mind Vitamin C is an ACID. So go slowly and start with the lowest recommended dosage, which is approximately 5% Vitamin C. Make sure you buy 100% pure Vitamin C (ascorbic acid),
Recipe for Vitamin C serum:
Mix 1/4 tsp of Vitamin C crystals into 2 tablespoons (6 tsp) of filtered or distilled water. Let it sit and dissolve completely or shake it to dissolve it completely. Use every other day to build up tolerance to Vitamin C (it can irritate your skin if too much is used), then use every day. After two weeks, make a new batch. You can increase the strength of the Vitamin C by 1/8th a teaspoon every two weeks until you reach 1 1/4 teaspoon (~20% strength). Store in the fridge for longer preservation.
I started with the following approximate percentages:
- 2% – 1/8 tsp Vitamin C to 2 tbsp water
- 4% – 1/4 tsp Vitamin C to 2 tbsp water
- 8% – 1/2 tsp Vitamin C to 2 tbsp water
- 16% – 1 tsp Vitamin C to 2 tbsp water
- 20% (MAX recommended) – 1 1/4 tsp Vitamin C to 2 tbsp water
If you want to check out variations on Vitamin C ratios check out these recipes:
I use a few squirts Vitamin C in the morning before applying oils, lotion, sunscreen, and makeup.
Finally, just because it is winter it doesn’t mean we don’t have to protect our skin every day. Keep on putting on sunscreen and wearing those hats!
Pictured below: Successful Vitamin C serum and unsuccessful Vitamin C lotion.