Reader Question: How to Use a Vitamin C Serum!

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Happy Wednesday everyone!

I had a question about how to use a vitamin C serum and that is such a great question.  I mean, how many times have you purchased a product that sounds like a great addition to your skincare arsenal and then realize you have no idea how to use it?  Happens to the best of us. 🙂

In a nutshell, the use of vitamin C results in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes the formation of collagen, protects the skin from UV damage and can also reduce pigmentation due to its brightening properties.  (For more information on vitamin C, click here.)  The best and most efficient way to use it is during the day underneath your moisturizer and sunscreen.  This will give you that extra antioxidant protection your skin needs from the sun’s harmful rays, which plays a prominent role in the breakdown of collagen.

I hope this helps!

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie 

 

 

 

Hands of Time

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“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

– Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

This quote has stuck with me since my days as an undergrad English major, while taking a class in the Harlem Renaissance .  Albeit this quote was not aesthetically intended, my mind was always revolving around this concept, particularly on how it can tie into skincare.  How?  Simple.  Time will answer the question as to how well you took care of your skin.

Most of us spend so much time focusing on taking care of our face but forget about other telling signs: our hands, neck and décolleté,  These overlooked areas are also prone to sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and redness.  If you have inadvertently neglected these areas, here are some solutions to rectify these issues.

Sunscreen /Targeted Creams

Inarguably the least expensive and easiest to use is broad spectrum sunscreen.  When we are driving, UV rays penetrate the glass causing damage to our hands and décolleté leading to pigmentation later on.  Extending your sunscreen application to these areas (which we should already be doing anyway) will help.

Certain creams can also help with the appearance if sun damage is minimal.  PCA Skin Perfecting Neck and Décolleté and Revison Skincare Nectifirm are examples of great products to look into.

Microdermabrasion/Chemical Peels

Exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels can provide improvements in the color, tone and texture of treated areas and typically don’t require much downtime.

Other Options

For skin that has extensive damage, a visit to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon would suit best where they could perform IPL treatments, lasers (Fraxel, Active FX or Thermage), Botox or surgery, depending on the results you are looking for.

Remember that prevention is always the best rule to adhere to and will save you time and money in the long run. 

 

Sephora Sun Safety Kit Review

Sephora Sun Kit

Sephora Sun Safety Kit, $32

Last week, Sephora released their annual Sun Safety Kit and I believe it is perfect timing since May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.  Since 90% of skin cancer is caused by the sun, I love that this kit provides an array of sunscreens you can try out.  This year, they included a lot more self-tan/bronzing products, which in my opinion is okay, but I would personally prefer more sunscreens.   All products are great for traveling and you can toss them in your purse, making it easier to reapply.  $20 of the proceeds go towards the Skin Cancer Foundation. Here is the breakdown of the kit, along with my thoughts and/or experience.

Sunscreens 

Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 20

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This is both a moisturizer and sunscreen, which is great if you want to cut down your morning/afternoon skincare routine time.  I find it has a slight medicinal-sunscreen like fragrance that while not overpowering, is prominent.  However, the scent does not linger after it is applied.  It feels a bit thick but it absorbed quickly into my skin and so far, has not broken me out.  Ingredients like enantia chlorantha bark extract and biotin can help control oil and it does contain a bit of vitamin C. *Note: No synthetic fragrances are added.

 

Bare Minerals ready Touch Up Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Translucent 

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I really like that they included a pressed powdered sunscreen instead of the loose powdered one.  Definitely not as messy.  I also love that this is an easy way to reapply SPF, especially if you are wearing makeup.  It also can work to keep shine at bay for those with oilier skin.  It’s also formulated with antioxidants like green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E, and grapeseed oil.

 

Clarins UV Plus HP Ecran Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Titanium Dioxide 

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This is a 100% mineral based sunscreen (titanium dioxide).  Personally, this is not my favorite as it leaves behind a white cast on my face and feels like a heavy sunscreen.  I do keep this in my purse though and apply to my hands while driving to keep them protected.  It does contain two notable antioxidants, green tea and vitamin E.  However, I also see that alcohol is listed as an ingredient but it doesn’t state which kind so it may be irritating to some.

Ole Henrikson Protect The Truth SPF 50+

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I don’t particularly love this sunscreen but I don’t hate it either.  The consistency is light-weight but it leaves behind a little bit of a white cast effect too.  It’s easily covered when you apply your foundation on top though, works fairly well under makeup and it contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are excellent antioxidants.  Another downside: There is a minute amount of fragrance added but it appears last on the ingredient list.

Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer with White Tea 

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Another time saver in the morning as it is both a moisturizer and sunscreen.  The scent is kind of herbal and citrus like and it does tend to linger a bit.  The texture is lightweight and it is oil-free.  The addition of  white tea and resveratrol are great antioxidants and can strengthen the efficacy of the sunscreen.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a complete list of the ingredients online, so I can’t tell if it has any added fragrance.  Bottom line: It’s good but not my favorite.

Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion Sunscreen Lotion

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This sunscreen definitely smells like a traditional sunscreen and it does feel a bit heavier.  While it didn’t make me break out, it tended to make my skin feel a bit more oily.  *Note: It is a chemical sunscreen, so if you are sensitive to chemical sunscreens and are looking for a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide/titanium dioxide), you may want to skip this one.  Noteworthy ingredients: Vitamins A,C and E, allantoin (a calming and soothing ingredient) and panthenol (pro vitamin B5 which is an humectant).

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream+ Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ 

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Since the texture of this sunscreen is heavier, hence the cream factor, I think those who have a dry skin type would benefit from this.  What is great about this sunscreen is that it has the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal Of Recommendation for those who are active.  This means it “should protect the wearer from extended sun exposure, such as exposure received outdoors during recreational activities.”  It has also been found to include a water resistance factor, although as with any sunscreen, you must reapply every two hours or so, especially when outside.

Sunscreen Oil

Supergoop Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam Broad Spectrum SPF 50 

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I have not tried this one as I glanced through the ingredients and it contains coconut oil.  Although coconut oil may work for some, it makes me breakout when I use it on my face.  I feel this would really make me breakout and I would have to do more research on sunscreen oils.  Not entirely convinced on this idea yet. It is also a chemical sunscreen and lists tocotrienols (members of the vitamin E family), argan oil, grapeseed oil and shea butter among other ingredients.

Lip SPF

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15

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I am glad that the kit this year included a lip product with SPF as sometimes we (yes, even me!) tend to forget about protecting our lips.  Fresh Sugar lip balms in general are pretty moisturizing but fee light-weight.  This particular one has a lemon scent, which is pretty perfect for summer.

Oil Control with SPF

Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 

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I think this mattifier would work great on oily skin.  It contains cinnamomum zeylanicum bark extract, which is excellent for treating acne; biotin and niacinamide, great for controlling oil production; and antioxidant vitamin E.  My skin isn’t too oily yet, but I will keep this around and see how it works. 

Bronzers

Dr. Denis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad Anti-Aging Exfoliating Self-Tanner with Active Vitamin D and Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Glow Moisture 

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I haven’t had luck with self-tanner towelettes and this was no exception.  In theory, this would be great because you receive exfoliation benefits as well as a nice tan.  However,  until I get the hang of how to use these, I will pass because they tend to streak and some areas are darker than others.

St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse 

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Of all the self-tanning products in this kit, I like this one the best.  It’s a dark-colored foam that is easy to apply and you can actually see where you are applying it.  I think this would work best on those who are fair-skinned.  The color looked the most natural on me but I am still working on learning how to apply it evenly.

 

Stila All Day10-in-1 HD Bronzing Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 30

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This is a BB cream with a bronze tint.  While I wouldn’t use it by itself, I may mix it in with my normal CC cream to add a hint of color.  It comes in a ‘universal’ shade, which by my experience won’t work on everyone.  Fragrance is listed rather high on the ingredient list so beware if you are sensitive to it.

Tarte Brazilliance Self Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanner 

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Sadly, this didn’t work out for me.  True to their claim, this did not turn orange, but on me, it looked muddy.  Definitely not natural.  I know the full size comes with a mitt so maybe that might make a difference.  This does contain vitamins A,C, and E but is also lists fragrance towards the top of the ingredient list.

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep Matte Bronzer

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Love this bronzer.  It is a matte finish (perfect for my skin since it tends to get oilier in the summer), great for contouring or adding a hint of color, is travel sized and has a mirror attached on the inside.

You can purchase the kit at Sephora stores or you can ask for samples to try them out.  I hope this review was helpful!

Ingredient Importan-C!

Vitamin C

Crazy weather and flu season usually sends us sprinting to our nearest pharmacy to stock up on vitamin C in hopes of strengthening our immune system.  Aside from boosting our immune system and hearing about collagen production, what else do you really know about vitamin C?  What health ailment did sailors endure because they lacked vitamin C and what role does it play in skincare?

Read on to find out!

Who: Vitamin C

What skin conditions it can help: Aging, hyperpigmentation.  Sensitive skin may tolerate it at lower percentages or as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

Where it’s found: Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers and kiwis.

For topical uses look for: Vitamin C, Vitamin C ester, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

Why it’s important:  Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C, which is why it has to be obtained by external sources (i.e. fruits and vegetables or through supplements). Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis which is needed for wound healing, and is also crucial for iron absorption. . It’s required for tissue growth and is a proven antioxidant, fighting free radicals that cause damage to healthy cells and DNA.

How it affects the body and skin: Oral vitamin C is needed to prevent scurvy, a disease which at one time plagued many sailors who only consumed cured and salted meats, and dried grains for extended periods of time. Scurvy has many skin manifestations including fragile skin, gum disease, easy bruising and bloody nail beds. Scurvy is reversed however, by adding vitamin C into the diet either through supplements or fresh citrus fruit.

Topical use of vitamin C results in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes the formation of collagen- important for improved skin texture-  and protects the skin from photodamage, also known as UV damage. It can also reduce pigmentation due to its brightening properties.

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.