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Demystifying Vitamin C: 8 Facts About the Anti-Aging Ingredient

Demystifying Vitamin C: 8 Facts About the Anti-Aging Ingredient

Dear friend,

Making the decision to introduce a new treatment into your skincare ritual is a major step; it can even feel like your future hangs in the balance. Will this finally be the “holy grail” product for me? What if I have an adverse reaction? How do I know that this treatment is the right one for me?

The Tatcha family believes deeply in the power of caring for your skin. Our company founder, Victoria Tsai, personally knows the extent to which skincare can change your life. After all, it was her own painful struggle with acute dermatitis that inspired Vicky to begin treasure hunting, eventually discovering the pure Japanese ingredients and beauty secrets that we are so honored to share with you today.

Because we want you to experience the same life-changing magic that we have, it’s our mission to help inform your choices about what might be best for your skin. Each skincare ingredient has its own nuances, so today we’re focusing on answering all of your questions about Vitamin C: an integral component of our new Violet-C Brightening Serum and the fan-favorite Violet-C Radiance Mask.

Question: What does Vitamin C actually do for skin?

Answer: Vitamin C helps to boost skin cell turnover, revealing a healthier-looking complexion. It’s also a strong antioxidant, helping defend against free radicals caused by pollution and UV rays that can damage skin and cause signs of premature aging to appear.

Question: What types of Vitamin C are there in skincare treatments?

Answer: There are dozens of derivatives of Vitamin C, but there are two that we focused on for the Violet-C Brightening Serum: a fast-acting derivative that absorbs quickly into skin to fight premature aging from daily free radical assault, and a long-lasting one which helps to protect skin from UV-induced oxidative damage for brighter skin over time. Balancing each of these derivatives helps us provide a more holistic approach to Vitamin C.

Japanese beautyberry helps to set our serum apart by boosting and stabilizing both Vitamin C derivatives, maximizing the treatment’s efficacy by preventing spoilage.

Question: Why does Vitamin C have a reputation for being so difficult to formulate with and stabilize?

Answer: Vitamin C degrades in water systems, making it challenging to stabilize. It also easily oxidizes in sunlight, which makes it more difficult than other ingredients to formulate and package. Plus, other ingredients can destabilize when used in the same formula system as Vitamin C if they’re not carefully paired.

Question: Why does the percentage of Vitamin C in a treatment matter? What do higher or lower concentrations mean for skin?

Answer: Vitamin C for skin is a lot like in your diet: for optimum health, you should strive to consume as many vitamin- and antioxidant-rich ingredients as possible. And, like a multivitamin, it's incredibly important to use your Vitamin C treatment daily to maintain general skin health.

When choosing a Vitamin C treatment, you should seek out the highest percentage of Vitamin C that you can find in a formula that doesn’t present irritation or stability concerns — it’s all a matter of finding the right balance. Our Violet-C Brightening Serum, which is 20% Vitamin C, offers one of the highest concentrations of the ingredient on the market in a serum format, yet is perfectly stabilized to prevent oxidation and work gently on skin while you sleep.

Question: Why do some Vitamin C products smell… not great?

Answer: One question that we are asked frequently about Vitamin C, and specifically our Violet-C Brightening Serum, is whether it will take on the vague “hot dog smell” that some Vitamin C products on the market produce. Our answer is no, and that’s because this scent typically comes as the result of oxidation and instability — even if masked with a perfumed citrus scent, oftentimes unstable or oxidized Vitamin C treatments will have a lingering metallic scent that can smell quite distinct.

The Tatcha Institute worked for years to perfect our formula to achieve optimum stability; because our Vitamin C formulation is truly stable, it doesn’t have any fragrance — let alone hot dogs. The Violet-C Serum is clear and fragrance-free because we have nothing to hide.

Question: Is Vitamin C supposed to pill on skin?

Answer: No, a pilling effect typically has more to do with the base of the formula you’re using — emulsifiers and oils used to create the treatment — than the ingredient itself. Nothing active in the Violet-C Brightening Serum should create a pilling effect.

Question: Is Vitamin C known to shrink pores?

Answer: No, Vitamin C is not known to shrink pores, but it can help to resurface and cleanse them. In this way, the appearance of the pore can shrink by eliminating debris.

Question: What precautions should I take while using Vitamin C products, and why?

Answer: Everybody is unique and it’s always possible that you might have a personal sensitivity to Vitamin C, it’s a good rule of thumb to spot test a new treatment before introducing it to your ritual.

We recommend doing a small patch test — try somewhere like the area of your neck near your ear, or on your inner forearm — for a day or two before applying to the face. Personal sensitivities, while relatively uncommon, will usually make themselves known shortly after application.

As with all skincare treatments, take care to avoid getting product in your eyes when applying Vitamin C. And, especially if using a Vitamin C + AHAs treatment like the Violet-C Brightening Serum, be sure to wear daily SPF and be careful about sun exposure.

Have even more questions about how to care for your skin? Many common queries about adopting a new product into your ritual are answered in our general skincare efficacy guide. Tatcha’s team of experts would also be delighted to be of service in answering any lingering questions. Please do not hesitate to contact us any time.

Wishing you a bright journey,

The Tatcha Family

Published February 7, 2019
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