Vitamin C serum by Dr. Jo
Here are 9 facts on vitamin c serum and a Homemade recipe to make your own vitamin c serum from Dr Joanne Turner and her Blog Skin Revision .

9 facts on vitamin C products and how to make you own C serum Is it all hype?

I recommend everyone put Vitamin C and E onto their face daily because they protect against UV induced cell damage. It is this sun damage that not only causes premature aging but also skin cancers. However Vitamin C has other properties including being one of the few ingredients that has a science base to show that it reverses signs of aging to the skin.

Vitamin C was originally used in skin care products in the form of ascorbic acid. At a 10% concentration and low ph, ascorbic acid has been shown to stimulate collagen, decrease wrinkle depth and have lightening effects on pigmentation. It was thought that a minimum 10% concentration was required but newer information indicate that lower concentration (5%) may have benefit. It is best to stay with products that have this concentration or above.

9 Facts about vitamin C serums

1. Consumer beware – not all products contain sufficient vitamin C to be of benefit Most products on the market do not have sufficient concentration to be of benefit to the skin. Many companies, keen to cash in on the market trends for antioxidants in skin care, put only miniscule amounts in and consumers unknowingly will buy a product that will be of no benefit. Unfortunately you cannot judge from the prestige or price of the product you buy, you need to look at the concentrations. See blog post on topical antioxidants.

2. Vitamin C does not work in everyone For reasons that are not yet known, Ascorbic Acid at a good concentration does not work in everyone. It may only be 60% of the population who get the age reversing benefits of vitamin C. Some people who do not respond to Ascorbic Acid however still get anti-aging benefits from the newer vitamin C derivatives. (Discussed later). Vitamin C, however is a potent antioxidant and you still should get the benefits of protection from UV induced cell damage even if it does not keep you looking younger.

3. Vitamin C in the form of Ascorbic Acid is very expensive Vitamin C is very unstable and difficult to get into a formulation this in part explains why ascorbic acid skin products tend to be very expensive.

4. Your Vitamin C may oxidise before you get to put it on your skin The biggest problem with Ascorbic Acid creams and serums is that because they are unstable, they are oxidised very quickly and once it is oxidised it does not provide any benefit to the skin at all. Even in stabilised formulations there is a risk that before you get your precious vitamin C cream or serum home, it will already be useless and worse may even because more damage to your skin than good.

5. Watch for yellowing of your serum- it indicates oxidation As it undergoes oxidation the ascorbic acid takes on a yellowish tinge, so it is important to check your creams or serums before you put them on your face, and if there is any yellow discolouration, DISCARD.

There is a problem with the colour check as the first stage of oxidation is colourless, so prior to going yellow it can be in an oxidised state that cannot be detected.

6. Do not buy vitamin C preparations that are tinted yellow or orange The second problem with using a colour test is that many vitamin C serums are tinted and you will not be not be able to detect if it is oxidised by visual checking. Why a company would do this is beyond me, when they know the difficulties of instability of vitamin C formulations oxidising. If you didn’t trust them you would think they are deliberately trying to mislead. Do not buy tinted formulations of vitamin C.

7. Vitamin C derivatives are more stable, less expensive and effective at lower concentrations There are newer derivatives of Vitamin C: Ascorbyl palmitate, Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and some of these are proving as effective as ascorbic acid in collagen stimulation. Refer Smartskincare an excellent science based skin care site. These derivatives are effective in lower concentrations, are more stable and less expensive and as such may be a better choice. There is a battle among some of the big cosmetic houses as to which is most effective but the newest Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate if particularly promising, and seems to work in some people who are resistant to Ascorbic Acid.

8. There is nothing special about the base cream or serum that the vitamin C (or any other active product) is delivered in Thinking about it logically, if a product has 10% ascorbic acid in stabilised form, or 2% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (the active ingredient) then no matter what the cost it will be equally effective, as there is no base serum or cream that has properties that make it effective in anti-aging-and that is the truth.

This is illustrated with my recent comment on Boots no 7 perfect and protect – where a chain store anti-aging cream is matching up to more expensive prestige brands and winning. The reason: it is the active ingredients that has the effect, no matter what advertising trys to seduce you – REMEMBER THIS FACT.

9. You can make your own Vitamin C Serum There is however some ingredients that are now considered state of the art in modern skin care. Among these is a group of base ingredients that help protect the skin and maintain the intercellular network. Refer Cosmetic Cop – Paula Begoun cosmetic ingredients dictionary on natural moisturising factors. These do not have anti—aging benefit but protect the skin and assist in repair. Glycerin is one of these, other very good protectants and natural moisturisers are ceramides and silicones.

Glycerin is the one I am particularly interested in, as this next post I will give you a very simple recipe for a vitamin C serum made from glycerin and ascorbic acid you buy at the chemist store, so you can make your very own 10% ascorbic acid serum. This will cost you a fraction of what you would pay off the shelf and because you make it fresh you know it will not be oxidised and it will work.

Dr. Jo is down in Australia and they call pharmacy ” local chemist store”

Make your own Vitamin C serum

The recipe makes an approximate 10% concentration of vitamin C serum, using simple ingredients you can buy from your local Chemist store. The advantages of doing it yourself – apart from the obvious – ‘it will save you a lot of money’ is that you can make it fresh, store it in your refridgerator and know that it will not have oxidised- so in fact you will get fresh active product onto your skin. It is best only to make up small quantities at a time, to ensure it is always fresh and unoxidised.

Take care- these are active ingredients At this concentration it will have a relatively low ph, and in some people this will be too irritating for the skin. If this is the case, try making a half or even quarter concentration to start with. Use this for a week or two until you know you skin is tolerating this, and then slowly increase to a higher concentration. If after you apply it, you find your skin is tingling excessively, wash off immediately.

The recipe is divided into active ingredient, the one that has been shown to stimulate collagen, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and protect against sun damage and a simple base formula. Any product you buy over the counter with active ingredients consists of this.

Vitamin C serum Active Ingredient : 1-1.2 grams Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) (approximately 1/4 teaspoon) (The active ingredient must be L-ascorbic acid, not vitamin C tablets, or calcium Ascorbate) This can also be purchased from Skin Actives.

Base Ingredients. 5 ml glycerine (1 teaspoon) 5ml water (1 teaspoon) You should be able to buy both the L-ascorbic acid and glycerine from your chemist store.

Process. 1. Dissolve 1gram of L-ascorbic acid in 5 ml of water (preferably distilled), in small glass container using a stirrer. Make sure it is fully dissolved before proceeding to next step.

2. Add 5 ml of glycerine and mix.

3. Put in a sealable jar, (not clear glass as this allows light in, and light degrades vitamin C.) Store in cool dry place.

Voila – your own fresh vitamin C serum. Apply to skin once per day to start with (preferably at night), and increase to twice daily if tolerated.

Post note This serum is published to illustrate that it is the active ingredient that has benefits and to get you to challenge the notion that you need to pay a lot of money for active skin care ingredients. You must exercise caution when using this as with any product you put on your skin, if any signs of allergy or reaction develop desist immediately. In my last post I give two good sources of companies that provide products, including base creams and various active ingredients that allow you to make your own active creams at home.

Articles by Dr. Jo

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