Our summer (and quite frankly, year-round) skincare mantra? Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN. Without a doubt, SPF is the single most important thing you can do for your skin during the summer, but it’s not the only secret weapon against sun damage. Enter vitamin C: your other summer skincare BFF. Below, we break down why this potent antioxidant is the perfect sunny-weather ingredient, and what vitamin C-infused products you need to put in your routine ASAP.
It reduces dark spots
Let’s get sciencey for a sec: vitamin C blocks the effects of something called tyrosinase—an enzyme that’s responsible for melanin production in the skin. It also reduces the oxidation of existing pigment, preventing it from getting darker. In other words, vitamin C prevents dark spots from forming and also fixes them post facto. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties (perfect for those struggling with acne or rosacea), making it your ticket to a gorgeous, even-toned complexion.
It boosts sunscreen effectiveness
SPF is essential to protecting skin from damage, but it’s not the be-all, end-all solution. If you’re serious about sun protection, it’s a good habit to apply vitamin C in tandem with your morning SPF. (You ARE applying SPF every morning, aren’t you?) Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it’s going to add an extra layer of protection by helping to neutralize free radicals. Basically, it supports and strengthens skin cells to fight against environmental aggressors such as UV, IR, and pollution—the main culprits of oxidative stress in skin. (Oxidative stress is a fancy way of saying sun damage, btw.) So, while vitamin C is not an alternative to sunscreen, it is a great way to boost your SPF’s effectiveness and minimize the damage you can’t see.
It stimulates collagen production
Fun fact: vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, the protein that keeps our joints healthy and our skin smooth. Applied topically, vitamin C stimulates collagen production to reduce wrinkles, plump skin, and increase firmness.