Vitamin C’s the hottest thing to hit skincare since sliced bread. We’ve got a big dose of everything you need to know about this antioxidant and why we’re crushing on it right now.
As the new ‘it’ ingredient in skincare, Vitamin C has been adding muscle to our beauty regime over recent years with its antioxidant super powers. We up the vitamin internally in the winter, so externally, it’s logical to utilise the superhero’s properties to help fight those unavoidable free radicals in the environment – these arch enemies of our skin.
Winter especially ravishes our faces with free radicals such as pollution, and the drying effects of cold winds and moisture-zapping home heating. We need plenty of collagen in our skin and neutralising antioxidants to be able to fight back – Vitamin C does both.
The vitamin’s role in collagen is essential. It is the structural protein our bodies need to create the connective tissues for our entire body. This building-block protein plumps skin with firm elasticity and luminosity. Collagen synthesis sadly decreases with age in our bodies, so the more help we can get from both inside and out to infuse the powerful C into the skin’s structural matrix, the better. By incorporating the vitamin in a form that is readily bioavailable to our skin, quality beauty products can now help heal, nourish and protect from the outside.
And the science does stack up quite nicely. From serums to creams, the new age in skincare claims, in many cases, to help prevent and even reverse signs of aging such as wrinkles and age spots. Vitamin C as an antioxidant helps regulate skin tone. In a multitude of game-changing new products, it works in effective synergy with other antioxidant skin savers. Packaging and storage is also important to protect the vitamin’s effectiveness from light, heat and air.
Yet another little trick up its beauty sleeve, Vitamin C neutralises chlorine, which can dry the skin. So for a bath that doesn’t smell like a swimming pool, add around 1000mg of Vitamin C in powder or effervescent tablet form to counteract chlorine tap water. It’s really a wonder that Vitamin C only comes third in the alphabet – but it comes first in our toiletry bags this winter.
You know how your grandma said to take care of your possessions so they last a lifetime? Well your skin is no different. For all of winter’s seasonal highlights – hitting the slopes, snuggling by the fire, chunky knit throws and spiced mulled wine – the downside is the drying effect it has on our skin. So, while winter is the time to update your wardrobe, it’s also the time to update your skincare regime. We’ve pulled together some top tips for looking after your skin throughout the cool months of winter.
1. Our skin is the barrier that keeps water inside of our bodies. When it is dry and cold, that water is able to evaporate off the surface faster and easier. So throwing back an extra glass or two of water each day over the cooler months can help restore the moisture in your skin.
2. It may seem like common sense, but moisturising is the first step to keeping skin hydrated throughout winter. So invest in the best. This is one time when quality really does trump quantity. Body oils are also a great option, as they can create a barrier before having a warm bath to prevent skin from drying out.
3. While it’s tempting to get home on a cold day and jump into a hot shower, taking hot showers and not immediately moisturising after can result in small cracks in the surface of the skin which expose the skin nerves to air, creating what’s known as ‘winter’s itch’; dry, itchy and irritated skin that can feel like eczema. If you do have a hot shower, lather on the moisturiser while the room is still nice and steamy.
4. This is one time of the year when it’s OK to chill on the exfoliation routine. Too much exfoliating during the winter months when it is cold and dry can compromise your skin’s barrier.
5. Cleanse gently. Harsh cleansers can strip away natural oils, leaving your skin exposed. Cream-based cleansers, preferably with moisturising attributes, will remove the day’s dirt and makeup while keeping the moisture in.
6. Slapping on sunscreen in winter may seem like the last thing on your mind, but sunscreen is just as important during winter to protect skin from those harmful UV rays – especially in New Zealand. Opt for a sunscreen with at least SPF30 and if you’re heading up the slopes, make sure you reapply every two hours – or immediately after heavily sweating.