Antioxidants in Skin Care: Vitamin C Serum by Deborah Tosline

The mainstream Standard American Diet (SAD) has not served us well. What about mainstream skin care? We can do better. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) skin care provides an excellent alternative to retail products. DIY methods produce premium skin care that is pure, easy, simple, and saves money.

Basic skin care includes cleansing, removing dead skin cells, and applying products suited to personal needs. Advanced skin care involves use of cosmeceuticals and methods to stimulate skin and muscles.

A cosmeceutical is considered to be a cosmetic that is combined with a pharmaceutical or active ingredient that promotes biologic function of the skin. Antioxidants are one category of a variety of cosmeceutical ingredients. 

Antioxidants reduce inflammation, prevent oxidative damage and neutralize free radicals. Free radicals contain unpaired electrons that result in molecular and cellular damage.

As we age, naturally occurring antioxidant concentrations in the skin decline. Antioxidant levels may be increased by consuming food and nutraceuticals and also with direct application to the skin. Using an antioxidant facial serum will help reduce free radicals, prevent and repair skin damage, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

A serum is a thick liquid that penetrates the skin deeper than a cream due to a high concentration of active ingredients, smaller molecules, and a watery base. Serums deposit nutrients in the skin and are tailored for specific concerns. They are applied after washing the face and before moisturizer.

Vitamin C is one of the most studied and proven antioxidants for skin care maintenance. It has been shown to increase skin thickness and to protect against sun damage. Vitamin C is essential for biochemical functions. It helps to maintain a strong immune response, supports vitamin E regeneration, reduces hyperpigmentation, helps to heal wounds, and promotes the production of collagen and the development of new blood vessels increasing nourishment to the epidermis. For men and women alike, using a vitamin C serum is a simple, cost effective way to improve skin quality.

A high concentration, high quality, stabilized vitamin C serum typically costs $80 to $120 per ounce retail. If this cost exceeds your monthly budget, it is easy to make a DIY premium vitamin C serum that is stable and effective.

Vitamin C serum is typically made using L-Ascorbic Acid (LAA) which is water-soluble. There are a variety of ways to blend a vitamin C serum ranging from un-stabilized serums for immediate use to stabilized serums for long-term storage. Always test a new cosmeceutical for potential allergic reactions on arm skin for 24-hours before applying to the face.

The simplest and least expensive way to add a vitamin C serum to your skin care routine is to make it fresh daily for morning application. Add a pinch of 100 percent vitamin C powder to water in the palm of your hand, blend it and apply it to the face, neck, and chest. When LAA is blended with water and exposed to the atmosphere it begins to oxidize and degrade and must be used immediately.

Using a single antioxidant on the skin is beneficial. Using a blend of antioxidants produces a synergistic or combined effect that enhances each of the individual antioxidants used. For example, several antioxidants may be added to a vitamin C serum, including ferulic acid to stabilize the blend and vitamin E to preserve. The synergy of this combination produces an enhanced antioxidant serum that increases protection from sun damage.

This is a simple serum. The ingredients are relatively easy to purchase. Vitamin C powder and vitamin E oil are available from local stores; ferulic acid powder is available from Internet stores. The ingredients are measured, the vitamin C powder is dissolved in water and the ferulic acid is dissolved in vodka. The solutions are blended together and after adding a couple drops of vitamin E, the serum is finished. Easy. The blend is stored in a sterile bottle in the refrigerator. The process takes about a half an hour. The DIY serum costs just a few dollars per ounce. Use it every morning after washing the face and before applying other products. 

There are dozens of vitamin C serum recipes on the Internet. Many of them do not include use of ferulic acid or another stabilizer; in this case make only what you will use that day. Otherwise, get yourself some ferulic acid and make a premium, stabilized vitamin C serum for use in your healthy skin care routine. My book, Skin Remodeling DIY: An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skin Care, contains an enhanced vitamin C serum recipe as well as information about basic skin structure, use of cosmeceuticals, blending instructions and references to resources.

It takes an average of six weeks for new skin cells to move to the skin’s surface. To observe the results of using a vitamin C serum, take a photo of your skin in natural light before beginning the new routine. Six weeks after daily use of the serum, take another photo in the same light at the same time. Compare results. Take another photo six weeks later.

Adding vitamin C serum to your daily skin care could be your best new routine.