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Vitamin C Benefits for the Skin

Yes, This Skincare Ingredient Can Change Your Life

All hail vitamin C!

Vitamin C is the science-backed and expert-approved underdog of the skincare world. There are several benefits to adding this potent ingredient to your skincare routine, but for a first-time user, the sheer number of products, formulations, and instructions can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be that way! Vitamin C isn’t as complex as it seems. Here’s why. 

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant known as Ascorbic Acid or L-Ascorbic Acid. It helps protect your cells against free radical damage which, in short, are unstable molecules that cause damage to cells resulting in premature ageing, dark spots, breakouts, and wrinkles. Vitamin C is one of the best studied ingredients in skincare and it’s so celebrated that it even has its own dedicated day – Vitamin C Day is marked annually on April 4th! 

Before I go into the benefits of vitamin C, I want you to understand that although it does have incredible benefits, it’s not a quick-fix product. In fact, it can take up to 12 weeks to see visible differences. Think of vitamin C as a product to prevent skin damage and protect your cells like an armour. Another important thing to remember is that not all vitamin C serums are created equal, and formula and clinical studies matter. 

The Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin

When Vitamin C is paired with vitamin E and ferulic acid, it can enhance the product enormously. But this may be hard to find as the vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid combination is actually patented by Dr. Sheldon Pinell (the founding scientist and chief medical advisor of SkinCeuticals), who was the first to discover how effective this combination was through years of research and clinical studies. He currently has 10 patents on his products.

What Does Vitamin C Actually Do?

In a nutshell, it can have the following functions.

Vitamin C prevents:

  • Free radical damage
  • Skin sagging
  • Loss of firmness
  • Sun damage

Vitamin C encourages:

  • Collagen and elastin formation
  • Wound healing

Vitamin C reduces: 

  • Pigment production
  • Redness
  • Scarring

Vitamin C improves:

  • Skin tone and texture
  • Photodamage
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Skin’s natural regeneration process
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Radiance

Is It a Must in My Routine?  

In my opinion, yes! You wouldn’t go to war without armour, so why stop now? Vitamin C helps in protecting yourself and preventing damage. It works in perfect synergy with sunscreen for even further protection, though there are some differences in opinion. If you want to protect your skin from any of the above issues, it can be achieved by using other ingredients, too. However, as mentioned before, vitamin C is still a highly acclaimed ingredient in skincare – not without reason!

Does Price Matter?

When it comes to skincare, you can always find a bigger price tag, but does it actually make a difference? Not necessarily. 

 Vitamin C Benefits

The costs of such products could stem from a variety of things ranging from rare ingredients, concentration, potency, and clinical studies to marketing and packaging. So, a more expensive product does not always mean a better product. When looking for skincare products, consider available clinical studies, potency of ingredients, and formula. 

How and When Should I Use Vitamin C?

Use it first thing in the morning, after cleansing, and follow up with sunscreen. Sunscreen works in synergy with your vitamin C serum and improves UVA and UVB protection. One application of three to four drops on the face and neck will last you 24-72 hours without needing to reapply, depending on the product. Some brands may direct you to use the product in the evening, but that really depends on the ingredients. For instance, if it contains resveratrol, it may be a repairing antioxidant that can be applied in the evening, but as a rule, most vitamin C serums should be used in the morning to give you better protection when paired with your sunscreen.

Vitamin C in Forms Besides Serum – Yay or Nay?

In short, the type of vitamin C product you use comes down to your preference, budget, and time, but each form has its own pros and cons. 

Powder Form

Pros

  • Longer shelf life 
  • The most stable form
  • Relatively cheap

Cons 

  • Messy 
  • You must be careful with how much you apply – too little is not effective, too much can be irritating 
  • You must dissolve it into a serum with the correct pH level, something that most people are unlikely to do
  • Could be unsuitable for sensitive skin

Oil and Silicone Form

To identify these products, look at the texture – is it oily or does it have a silicone feel, unlike water?

Pros

  • More stable than water-based serums as oils and silicones are protected from water, oxygen, and light in this form. Hence, it lasts longer and can safely be stored for a long period of time

Cons

  • The texture is an acquired taste and can be slimy and gritty
  • Those with oily skin may not like this form as they won’t like the feeling of oil or product on their skin

Serum Form

This will have a water-based consistency.

Pros

  • Absorbs quicker
  • Easy to use 
  • Good texture

Cons

  • Shelf life isn’t as good as the other forms
  • Some people can be put off by the scent of water-based vitamin C – it’s commonly thought to smell like coffee or hotdog water

Why Does My Skin Tingle When I Use Vitamin C? 

This can happen for several reasons.

  • The potency may be too strong
  • Incorrect pH level
  • If you’re using the powder form, you may have used too much that, again, increases potency and causes it to become unstable
  • Skin sensitivity – try using a lower percentage (around 10%)
  • Rosacea – if you suffer from rosacea, start with a lower percentage (around 10%)

How Should It Be Stored?

Store it in a cool, dark place. You’ll find that some vitamin C serums come in brown, blue, or green glass bottles to protect the serum from breaking down due to light and heat exposure. If this happens, you’ll notice the serum becoming darker.

Vitamin C Product

Vitamin C serums should be almost colourless or very light in colour. Once the serum degrades, it changes colour to yellow, orange, dark orange, and then brown. The darker the colour, the less effective the product will be. If your vitamin C serum becomes dark quickly, the formula may not necessarily be that great or it may have expired.

Can I Use Other Acids/Products Alongside Vitamin C? 

Benzoyl peroxide is known to oxidise vitamin C, so avoid using this at the same time as it can make your vitamin C less effective. But aside from that, yes, you can use other acids and retinols or retinoids. Just use them in the evening as it may otherwise cause irritation.

Are Vitamin C Products with a High Percentage Better?  

The maximum L-Ascorbic acid you can use is 20%. After that, it doesn’t do much more than lower percentages. High percentages can actually be irritating, so they aren’t always recommended. 10-15% is optimal.

Woman shopping for skincare products.

With So Many Vitamin C Products Available, How Do I Choose One?

When trying to find the perfect vitamin C product, consider the following.

L-Ascorbic Acid

Always look for this type of vitamin C as it is the gold standard. It must have a concentration between 10% and 20% (less isn’t effective, more is unnecessary).

Formula

For better efficacy, find a formula that also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid. If you have acne or breakout-prone skin, I advise against getting vitamin E and try to shop for an alternative.

Packaging

Buy products with dark or tinted glass, or airtight packaging. 

Formulation 

As discussed before, each formulation has its own pros and cons, so pick based on your preference.

pH of 3.5 

A pH of 3.5 allows for optimal absorption. Also, be sure to avoid products with unnecessary ingredients, fragrance, low potency, and no clinical studies. Personally, I recommend SkinCeuticals antioxidant serums as they remain universally unmatched. If you have the budget, go for it!

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Back To Basics: The Skincare Routine For Oily & Acne Prone Skin

A simple and effective way to care for oily and acne prone skin types.

In our last Back to Basic Skincare Series we looked at how to implement a minimalistic skincare routine for dry and dehydrated skin with the right products. In this blog, we are reviewing a skin care routine for oily skin and sharing with you the best skincare routine for oily skin, and best products and formulations to keep your skin healthy and looking its best!

We know how difficult it can be to care for and balance out an oily skin type. The challenge is even greater for those suffering from regular acne breakouts with the wrong oily skin care routine. Although we can’t make them disappear overnight, there are ways to diminish their appearance and get your skin to be less reactive with a concise and effective regime. In order to achieve those results, we need to clear up some popular myths surrounding the skin care routine for oily skin, excess oil production and breakouts.

Oily or combination skin types are genetically predisposed. This is the type of skin that you were born with and not a condition you can treat and cure. Oily skin types exist when there is an overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands of the dermis which gives a shine and greasy look to the skin. This hyperactivity produces excess oils that overfill the pores and enlarge them. The sebum in the pores mixes with dirt and bacteria. Dead skin cells get trapped and form blackheads and whiteheads under the surface of the skin.  Blackheads and whiteheads are a different type of skin condition collectively known as acne. 

How Do I Know if I Have Oily Skin?

You can look out for the following signs and characteristics such as excessive shine. Oily skin tends to have a persistent shine, particularly in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). This shine can be noticeable throughout the day, even after washing your face. One might even notice enlarged pores. Oily skin often has visibly larger pores, especially in the aforementioned T-zone area. These pores can be more noticeable and may even be clogged with oil, debris, or blackheads.

If you suffer from frequent breakouts, that’s because oily skin is prone to acne breakouts, including whiteheads, blackheads, and other forms of pimple-like blemishes. See if your breakouts appear more frequently and may be concentrated in the T-zone. This is a sign of oily skin.

Have you noticed your makeup melting? If your makeup tends to slide off or lose its matte finish quickly, it could be an indication of oily skin. The excess oil can interfere with the adherence and longevity of makeup products.

Let’s talk about greasy texture. Oily skin often feels greasy or slick to the touch, especially on the surface of your face. When you blot your skin with a tissue or blotting paper, you may notice oil residue on the paper.

If you experience a combination of these signs, it is likely that you have oily skin.

Step-by-Step Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin

The best way to address oily skin care routine, oily skin types and reduce acne is to follow a good skin care routine for oily skin that helps balance out the oil production on the skin while keeping it well hydrated and avoid any disruption on the dermis barrier. Avoid the use of any harsh or drying products such as alcohol and other astringents, or irritating ingredients like menthol, lemon, eucalyptus as well as, aromatic oils and solid rich formulations such as bar soaps that clog the pores, making matters worse by exacerbating the oil secretion on the skin.

For a simple and effective skin care routine for oily skin we recommend the following steps:

Skincare For Oily & Acne Prone Skin

Step 1: Cleanser

Cleanse your skin twice daily, in the morning and night, using a mild water-soluble facial cleanser to remove excess oils and avoid buildup in the pores. As mentioned above, avoid any aggravating ingredients and/or harsh scrubs and cleansing tools. Remember, the tingling sensation does not equal cleaner skin, it’s a sign of irritation that is not good for any skin type.

Our picks:

  • Clean & Clear daily pore cleanser oil free
  • Garnier skinactive micellar foaming gel cleanser combination to oily skin, even sensitive
  • Cerave renewing SA cleanser
  • Kiehls ultra facial cleanser for all skin types

Oil-Free Daily Pore Cleanser, PRP AED 21.95, available at head2toes.ae

Micellar Gel Face Wash Sensitive Skin, PRP AED 25, available at asos.com

Foaming Cleanser Normal To Oily Skin, PRP AED 50.31, available at caretobeauty.com

Ultra Facial Cleanser, PRP AED 98, available at kiehls.ae

Step 2: Toner

This is one of the most important steps of a skin care routine for oily skin. A well formulated, alcohol-free exfoliating toner will replenish your skin with antioxidants and calming ingredients, minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and remove any residues of makeup or dirt that could possibly clog the pores. An exfoliating toner that contains BHA’s such as salicylic acid is a fantastic fit for oily skin types as it is oil soluble and can get deep down in the pores unclogging them from the roots and keeping those black and white heads at bay.

Our picks:

  • COSRX BHA blackhead power liquid
  • Bioderma sebium pore refiner
  • The Inkey List PHa toner
  • Derma e soothing toner with anti-aging

Bha Blackhead Power Liquid, PRP AED 120.15, available at carethy.net

Sebium Pore Refiner, PRP AED 77, available at carrefouruae.com

Pha Toner, PRP AED 64.95, available at cultbeauty.co.uk

Anti-Wrinkle Toner, PRP AED 49, available at asteronline.com

Step 3: Moisturiser

Contrary to common belief, oily skin types need to stay well hydrated to keep the dermis acting and looking healthy. Proper levels of hydration on the skin are fundamental to keep it functioning and regenerating at is best. To learn more about the differences between dehydrated and dry skin check our first Back to Basics skincare instalment. When choosing a moisturiser focus on an oil-free, lightweight water-based formulation, that will effectively hydrate your skin without clogging your pores or leaving a heavy and greasy feeling to it.

Our picks:

  • Clinique moisture surge hydrating lotion
  • Glow Recipe watermelon glow pink juice moisturizer
  • Elf oil control liquid lotion
  • Drunk Elephant f-balm electrolyte waterfacial

Moisture Surge Eye™ 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate, PRP AED 220, available at sephora.ae

Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, PRP AED 97.50, available at cultbeauty.co.uk

Oil Control Liquid Lotion, PRP AED 70.99, available at amazon.ae

F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial, PRP AED 195, available at cultbeauty.co.uk

Step 4: SPF

Nowadays they are so many elegant and sophisticated sun block formulations that are oil free and non-comedogenic. The Gaggler prefers products in a lotion form that contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and or titanium dioxide which have been proven to prevent acne breakouts. In addition, proper sun protection as part of a skin care routine for oily skin helps you prevent any pigmentation scaring.

Our picks:

  • Shiseido ultimate sun protection SPF 50 sunscreen + wetforce for sensitive skin + children
  • Peter Thomas Roth Mineral Naked Broad Spectrum SPF 45
  • Neutrogena ultra sheer face sunscreen SPF45
  • La Roche Posay anthelious 50 mineral ultra light sunscreen fluid SPF50 face

Expert Sun Protection Lotion Wetforce SPF50+ Face And Body, PRP AED 147.70, available at sweetcare.com

Max Mineral Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 45, PRP AED 153.86, available at revolve.com

Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF45, PRP AED 114, available at noon.com

Anthelios Spf50+ Shaka Fluid, PRP AED 110, available at uae.sharafdg.com

Step 5: Specific treatments and serums

If you suffer from acne prone skin and regular breakouts you would want to introduce a treatment serum on your regime that contains benzyl peroxide to help regulate oil production during the day while reducing redness and inflammation; and a retinol serum to keep skin clear and rejuvenated at night time. Another great ingredient you can include in your regiment is the powerful antioxidant niacinamide that helps out with the appearance of enlarged pores, while also soothing and calming the skin and providing anti-aging benefits.

Our picks:

  • Drunk Elephant framboise glycolic night serum
  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 2%
  • Proactiv emergency blemish relief
  • La Roche Posay effaclar duo corrective unclogging care

Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, PRP AED 450, available at noon.com

Niacinamide Plus Zinc Serum, PRP AED 41, available at lookfantastic.ae

Emergency Blemish Relief, PRP AED 173, available at noon.com

Effaclar Duo[+] Corrective Unclogging Care, PRP AED 81.27, available at caretobeauty.com

Things to Avoid

When it comes to caring for oily skin, there are a few key things to avoid. Firstly, steer clear of heavy, oil-based moisturizers and skincare products that can exacerbate the oiliness. Instead, opt for lightweight, oil-free or water-based alternatives that won’t clog pores. Secondly, avoid harsh cleansers or soaps that strip away too much oil, as this can lead to increased oil production. Opt for gentle, non-comedogenic cleansers that won’t disrupt the skin’s natural balance. Next, refrain from over-washing your face, as this can strip away essential oils and trigger more oil production. Stick to washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Lastly, try to avoid heavy makeup and opt for oil-free or non-comedogenic formulas to prevent clogged pores and breakouts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best night skincare routine for oily skin?

A night skincare routine for oily skin should focus on controlling excess oil production and preventing breakouts. Start by thoroughly cleansing your face with a gentle, oil-free cleanser to remove dirt and sebum. Afterward, use an exfoliating toner containing salicylic acid to unclog pores and reduce oiliness. Next, apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to hydrate your skin without adding extra grease. Consider using a spot treatment on any active acne or blemishes. Lastly, before bed, apply a thin layer of oil-free or gel-based night cream to help balance oil production while you sleep.

How do you take care of oily skin everyday?

To take care of oily skin everyday, start by cleansing your face twice a day with a gentle, oil-free cleanser. Use oil-free or gel-based products that won’t clog pores. Apply a good sunscreen to protect your skin. We do strongly recommend the use oil-absorbing sheets throughout the day to control excess oil. It’s best to not use heavy, pore-clogging makeup and hydrate your skin with a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer.

How can I maintain my oily skin naturally?

The mantra is simple:
Cleanse, Hydrate, Exfoliate!

Opt for natural exfoliants like sugar or oatmeal. Our team at The Gaggler recommends natural exfoliating recipes:

  1. Use a Sugar Scrub: Mix equal parts of brown sugar and coconut oil. Gently massage onto damp skin in circular motions, then rinse off with warm water.
  2. We love a good Oatmeal Scrub: Combine ground oatmeal, honey, and a few drops of lemon juice. Apply to your face, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently scrub and rinse off.
  3. Weekend Coffee Grounds Scrub: Mix used coffee grounds with a bit of olive oil or honey. Massage onto the skin in circular motions, then rinse off.
  4. The Famous Baking Soda Scrub: Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water. Apply to damp skin and gently rub in small circular motions before rinsing off.

A controlled diet is always recommended. It’s best to consume a balanced diet with less greasy or fried foods, as they can contribute to oiliness.

Staying hydrated is the secret sauce to great skin regardless of the skin type Drink enough water to keep your skin hydrated from within, which can help balance oil production.
Try our latest water bottles to help you reach that 2 litre goal!

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The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will, too.

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