beauty

4 vitamin C skincare myths you probably believe (but actually shouldn't), according to a beauty writer.

The Iconic
Thanks to our brand partner, The Iconic

Vitamin C, we are still talking about you because well… you are the it skincare ingredient. 

And similar to any major celebrity, your fans have read about the bold claims, drama, trials and tribulations with confusion. Is all vitamin C really the same? Does the beloved ingredient actually have drama with other acids and niacinamide? Misinformation is a plain nuisance. 

So backup was called. In celebration of Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum landing in THE ICONIC, it's only fitting to draw on the expertise of the King of vitamin C himself, THE Danish skin cosmetician Ole Henriksen. 

Forget the falsities and consider these four vitamin C skincare myths ‘debunked’, with the help of Tasmanian dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald.

Myth #1: Vitamin C is basically your sunscreen.

We're not too sure who you've been chatting to! While it’s true that vitamin C helps protect your skin against the sun’s UV rays, it's definitely not – and should not be used as – your sunscreen! Don't go thinking it's a replacement for your SPF.

But wait, there’s more science-y goodness to help set this straight. Instead, combining your vitamin C products and your broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect well against UVA rays has shown to be more effective at neutralising free radical damage from sun exposure, than just using your sunscreen alone. So think of your vitamin C and SPF as a power couple who back each other up when used together.

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Dr Cara explains that if we want optimal, skin health benefits from vitamin C, it’s worth using a product in “high enough concentration to exert its effect at the target in the deep layer of the skin.” This is where I highly recommend Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Serum as a ‘does-it-all’ treat for the skin. 

With its ability to instantly awaken the complexion, gently shed dead skin cells and defend the skin of free radical damage (thanks to the 15 per cent vitamin C content), it’s a surprise to me that it doesn’t also reduce the HECS debt. Such an overachiever.

The Banana Bright Serum is from Ole Henriksen TRUTH collection, designed to address concerns around anti-ageing and dullness by brightening and firming with more potent vitamin C favourites like their cleanser, essence, gel creme and eye creme. Adding to my basket immediately.

Image: Supplied. 

Myth #2: Vitamin C is too unstable and cannot be used with other acids, retinol or niacinamide.

Confusion overload. Is vitamin C a mingler? Or a strong, independent antioxidant?  

There is some truth to this myth, vitamin C is a complex ingredient to combine with other actives. However, (*enter professional advice*) Dr McDonald confirms that layering vitamin C and niacinamide does not cause irritating nicotinic acid. 

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In fact, new studies highlight its efficacy and safety. So bring on the layering. 

As for retinol/retinoid products, this can be achieved when they are used at different times of the day to your vitamin C products. Otherwise, the acidic nature of vitamin C will reduce the effectiveness of our beloved retinol/retinoids; something no-one asked for. So opt for vitamin C in the morning and leave your vitamin A for nighttime. 

Lastly on this point, we can breathe a sigh of relief; our treasured alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) will not disrupt the stability of vitamin C. 

Just be mindful of how much your skin can handle when layering an AHA product with vitamin C, as irritation can occur. Dr McDonald reassures if your skin is robust and oily, combining the two can be beneficial. But for the love of healthy skin, please do not forget your SPF. 

Ole Henriksen confirmed this busted myth himself with his formulation of Banana Bright Serum. With 5 per cent Poly Hydroxy Acids to “resurface and smoothen your skin,” it’s a tribute to how a correctly formulated vitamin C serum can mingle with your other gentle acids. 

Myth #3: All vitamin C is the same.

Not all vitamin C is created equal and that’s a good thing. Why? It means options galore! 

Ole Henriksen shares a few of his personal vitamin C treasures. Amongst the crowd his chosen ones are “3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, then [the Ole Henriksen brand] works with ascorbic acid itself, ester-C, calcium ascorbate, and finally tetrahexyldecyl ascorbat.” 

Additionally, Dr McDonald ensures “an ideal concentration for vitamin C tends to be around 15 per cent, which provides optimal biological activity in the skin without excessive irritation.” Think, result driven without damaging the outer barrier. Don’t you just love skincare science?

Image: Supplied. 

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In short, it’s all about formulation. Your serum preference may contain a gentle approach to vitamin C with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, or perhaps potent formulas are up your alley? These benefits will occur when vitamin C is combined with other antioxidants. 

For example, Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Serum contains vitamin E to aid in stabilising the vitamin C. In the wise words of Oprah Winfrey, your skin type gets a vitamin C! Your skin type gets a vitamin C!

Myth #4: Your skin develops familiarity with vitamin C and eventually stops working.

Do you ever fear that your skincare will just… stop working? A common error that circulates the skincare world, is the gut wrenching thought of vitamin C skincare being ineffective after prolonged use, or if those ‘it must be working’ tingling sensations have stopped. 

Dr McDonald confirms that “vitamin C does not stop working once your skin is used to it.” In fact, she jokes this would be the ideal situation. Irritation and side-effects are not what we strive for when it comes to skincare application. 

“The skincare results we are after mostly arrive with long-term consistent use,” Dr McDonald explains. Similarly, Ole Henriksen himself insists that “a daily dose of vitamin C can do wonders for your skin.” And I can personally testify that vitamin C has earned ‘powerhouse’ status with my skin. 

So keep up the consistency and don’t look back.

With the overwhelming amount of skin-formation at our doorstep, it’s a breeze stumbling across false claims. Let this be your guide to the facts surrounding one of the most respected skincare ingredients in the game. Good old, radiance boosting, vitamin C. 

Shop Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum from THE ICONIC. 

Explore more best-selling vitamin C favourites from Ole Henriksen's TRUTH collection, including the Banana Bright Eye Creme, Truth Juice Cleanser, C-Rush Gel Creme and NEW Barrier Booster Orange Ferment Essence.

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia/Instagram @olehenriksen

The Iconic
No One Does Vitamin C Like Ole. We are the original Vitamin C brand. Joy & results in every bottle. Award-winning Vitamin C skincare since 1983. Now available at THE ICONIC