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Vitamin C for skin

Aesthetic nurse specialist Julie Brackenbury is our go-to expert when it comes to skincare. She's answered your burning questions on the ingredient of the moment: vitamin C.

Is vitamin C good for the skin, and what does it do?

Vitamin C is a must for any skincare routine and has been described as a 'brightening' agent. It is a well-known antioxidant, which means it protects the skin from free radical damage caused by UV exposure from the sun.

Furthermore, it helps to lighten dark patches (hyperpigmentation) as well as improve the appearance of brown spots which are caused by an over-production of melanin.

This star vitamin also improves the skin texture by renewing cells and producing collagen, which keeps the skin tissues and cells intact and firm. Similarly, it assists in balancing out uneven skin tone, leaving the skin more radiant.

In addition, this multitasker vitamin helps reduce fine lines and acne scars, and boosts general dullness – what's not to love?

What is the best source of vitamin C for skincare products?

There are many different sources of vitamin C, but one key source is the kakadu plum, also known as the billygoat plum. This particular plum, native to Australia, is an amazing source of vitamin C and an excellent source of antioxidants.

In fact, it has the highest recorded level of natural vitamin C content of any plant in the world – more than 100 times that of oranges. You can find it in the Daily UV Defence SPF50 vitamin C facial cream – a must for protecting the skin from free radicals and the sun.

What other ingredients may work well in combination with vitamin C?

In the Replenish Intensive Pigmentation Reducing Complex cream you will find a range of beneficial ingredients that work really well with vitamin C, including retinol vitamin A, kojic dipalmitate, and phytoestrogens of soybean and red clover.

Retinol is a very important skincare ingredient that works synergistically with vitamin C. It is one of the most proven anti-ageing ingredients available over the counter without a prescription. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, and it is more suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Older woman putting cream on face Retinol is an important skincare ingredient that works well with vitamin C.

Another ingredient in the Replenish Intensive Pigmentation Reducing Complex is active kojic dipalmitate (an ester of kojic acid), which offers superior stability to help treat unwanted pigmentation and reduces the signs of sun damage on the face, hands and chest.

It also helps to brighten and lighten the skin by stopping the production of melanin – the pigment that colours the skin, hair, and eyes. In addition, kojic acid dipalmitate fights against age spots, stretch marks, freckles and other pigmentation problems.

Meanwhile, phytoestrogens of soybean protect the skin against oxidative stress and exert an anti‐ageing effect on the skin via oestrogen receptors.

Powerful plant oestrogens also increase collagen content and the production of hyaluronic acid. Along with the skin-soothing properties of red clover extract, this product is a must for ageing skin.

Should I use vitamin C in my night-time skincare routine?

Yes. Another essential skincare product to add to your routine is the Intensive Night Treatment Cream, an anti-ageing, overnight treatment for the face, neck and chest.

It contains three of the most effective ingredients for mature or menopausal skin; vitamin A (pure retinol), vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. These all work effectively together to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles and age spots for a brighter complexion.

In particular, hyaluronic acid is a very clever ingredient as it brings moisture to the surface of the skin due to its ability to draw and hold water.

Often described as 'nature's moisturiser', it occurs naturally throughout the human body and is one of the most hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules, with numerous benefits for the skin.

Julie Brackenbury (RGN, INP) is an experienced Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner She specialises in all aspects of non-surgical cosmetic treatments and skin care and has had over 30 peer reviewed articles published. She also sits on the editorial board for the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing and the British Dermatological Nursing Group.

Find out more about Julie Brackenbury, or read more about Healthspan's beauty, skin and hair experts.