Mar 2, 2020

The Science Behind Vitamin C for Skin Care

Deciding on the custom formulation of your private label skincare product is not something you should rush. It takes time and deep consideration since your formulation will determine what skin care problems you are addressing, and who your target market is. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind vitamin C for skin care to determine why this ingredient isn’t just a buzzword. First, it’s an antioxidant. Second, it boosts collagen production. Third, it helps reduce pigmentation or dark spots. How does one ingredient solve three very different problems? Let’s investigate.

How Vitamin C Reduces the Appearance of Wrinkles

One of the main ways we can describe the aging process is the effect that free radical damage, also called “oxidative stress,” has on our cells. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron, making it unstable and highly reactive. It damages surrounding cells by taking on an electron from those cells, which then causes another unstable molecule, starting a chain reaction. This electron transfer causes the chemical bonds in some important biological molecules to break.  Free radicals form during the body’s biological processes like breathing, so it’s not something you can really avoid. External factors such as pollution and sun exposure also cause free radical damage.      

You’ve likely heard antioxidants are great for your skin, but what do they do? Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. They are stable molecules with an unpaired electron that intercepts and neutralizes free radical molecules so that they don’t damage biological molecules. You can use a topical antioxidant such as a serum containing vitamin C to protect skin that is exposed to the sun and experiences a lot of free radical damage. Select the concentration of vitamin C used in your skin care formulation carefully. Most subjects reacted well to concentrations between 3% and 10%, while anything above 20% actually inhibits absorption and is less effective. 

How Vitamin C Boosts Collagen Production

Collagen strengthens your skin and gives it an elastic quality. A lack of collagen will result in more wrinkles developing. Age, sun damage and pollution reduce collagen and increase wrinkles in our skin.  

Vitamin C plays a vital role in producing finished collagen filaments. It interacts with the amino acids in the collagen cells, adding hydrogen and oxygen to the amino acids that in turn helps with collagen production. It is therefore an essential cofactor for enzymes that crosslink and stabilize collagen. Without sufficient vitamin C, collagen production will slow down. 

How Vitamin C Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Vitamin C has been found to reduce brown spots on the skin when applied topically. Hyperpigmentation (brown spots or age spots) occur when there is an excess production of melanin or skin pigment. Doctors aren’t always able to determine why hyperpigmentation occurs, but common culprits are skin aging, sun exposure, and other forms of UV light exposure such as light from tanning beds. Vitamin C addresses the problem in two ways. It inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme that is responsible for producing melanin. It also donates electrons to brown melanin molecules, making it colorless. It has also proven to help reduce acne scarring and get rid of roughness on the skin.   

Custom Skincare Formulations

When deciding on the best formulation for your private label skincare product, it is imperative that you investigate how ingredients interact and complement each other. At times, adding a specific ingredient could increase the desired effect of your formulation. An excellent example is SkinCeutical’s Vitamin C serum that combines 0.5%  of the potent antioxidant ferulic acid to 15% vitamin C and 1% vitamin E. This combination of ingredients makes the vitamin C in the serum eight times more effective. Since SkinCeuticals patented this formulation, they can ask an exorbitant price for it and be sure that no competitor will undercut them with the same formula. 

It is worth taking an in-depth look at your custom formulation since this will set you apart from the competition. If you can solve a problem that your competition doesn’t, it will take very little convincing for consumers to select your brand over a competitor’s. You won’t have to resort to flowery language and empty promises to grow your market, the science will back you! 

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