A rookie’s guide to hero skincare ingredient Vitamin C

In this week’s Healthyish Podcast episode beauty editor Kelsey Ferencak and host Felicity Harley talk all about skincare hero Vitamin C. Who can use it? What does it do? How does it work? We’ve answered it all here.

Vitamin C is one of those one-size-fits-all ingredients everyone should be including in their daily skincare routine – just like retinol. It’s also the topic of this week’s Healthyish beauty episode.

The all-rounder is a star at keeping complexions radiant and protected. But, be sure to include lots of Vitamin C-boosting foods in your diet, too.

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What is Vitamin C and how does it work?

Vitamin C is one of the most well-researched and beneficial vitamins you can apply topically. However, it’s tricky to formulate correctly so when shopping around for it be sure to look for it in its most active form: L-ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C in this form is a potent antioxidant that works to neutralise free radicals – the nasties responsible for accelerated ageing, they include UV radiation and pollution. They damage the skin by creating inflammation, and even break down collagen.

When you apply Vitamin C topically it can help limit the damage done by free radicals, it can help to lighten pigmentation and brighten skin and even stimulate collagen.

Who can use it?

The best part about it is that unlike many other staple ingredients, it suits all skin types and can be used during pregnancy. Although high concentrations may cause breakouts in those prone to acne, so be wary if this is you.

What should we know before using Vitamin C?

It is vulnerable to destabilising when exposed to air and light. That means, to get the most out of your product only choose those that come in opaque tubes, air-restrictive bottles, or pumps that help keep it stable.

Also, when it comes to application. It’s best used in the daytime under sunscreen. It can help lessen skin damage from UV exposure (redness, sun damage, pigmentation) but doesn’t act as a UV filter so don’t use it instead of SPF. They’re great together.


SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Vitamin C Serum, $218 at Adore Beauty

Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster, $62 at Paula’s Choice

MECCA Cosmetica Brightening Vitamin C Serum, $55 at MECCA

All products featured in this article are selected by our editors, who don’t play favourites. If you buy something, we may get a cut of the sale.