Skip to main content
Book a treatment



15th Sep 2022

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid is a water-soluble nutrient that is naturally present in many foods, particularly fruit and vegetables and also as a dietary supplement. In the body, Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, an essential component of connective tissues such as the skin, gut, blood vessels, ligaments and bones. Vitamin C is also essential for the production of L-carnitine, a nutrient that plays an important role in the production of energy, and certain neurotransmitters. It is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to play an important role in wound healing and immune function.    

As a potent, topical antioxidant Vitamin C’s forms include L-Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. While it’s best known for its brightening effects, it has many skin boosting benefits; it is involved in collagen formation and intercepts free radicals that can damage the cells of your skin, rendering them harmless by means of an antioxidant effect. Vitamin C also inhibits the activation of pro-inflammatory Cytokines, and therefore is often used in treatment of skin dysfunctions such as acne vulgaris and rosacea. It has also been shown to promote wound healing and prevent post-inflammatory pigmentation.

How can I incorporate Vitamin C into my routine?

The best sources of Vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes, kiwi and broccoli. However, people with low levels of the vitamin may find supplements beneficial. According to the National Institutes of Health, adult males should consume 90mg of Vitamin C a day, while females should consume 75mg. A higher intake of more than 1,000mg may not be absorbed into the intestines and can also cause nausea and diarrhoea.

The stability of Vitamin C in topical solutions is a concern. As a water-based form, it can be particularly unstable and light sensitive, whilst oil-soluble forms, such as Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THD) are highly stable and can be easily absorbed by the skin barrier. Look for it in a serum formulation such as Dr. Barbara Sturm’s THE GOOD C VITAMIN C SERUM for maximum absorption and efficiency.

What are the main skin benefits of Vitamin C?

Topical Vitamin C can assist in diminishing the look of sun damage such as dark spots or discoloration (Vitamin C stops an enzyme called Tyrosinase from forming the melanin that produces pigmentation). It also helps to smooth out fine lines by boosting Hyaluronic Acid synthesis and collagen production - the formation of collagen is a complex process in which amino acids, the basic building blocks of protein, are linked together in different metabolic pathways. Vitamin C is needed so that these amino acids react with or adhere to each other. And as an antioxidant, Vitamin C can protect your skin from free radicals. Regular application of Vitamin C therefore results in firmer, younger and healthier-looking skin.

Dr. Barbara Sturm’s THE GOOD C VITAMIN C SERUM contains an active ingredient complex that includes oil-soluble Vitamin C THD, stabilized, synthetic Vitamin C in glucosidic form and natural Vitamin C from the Kakadu Plum, a fruit that is a potent source of plant-based Vitamin C. Together, they help to reduce the signs of irritation and uneven pigmentation, improve tone and provide anti-oxidative protection from free radicals and environmental stressors for a youthful and healthy-looking complexion. The serum also contains Zinc, which acts as a booster to activate and transport Vitamin C effectively and efficiently into the skin and the antioxidant Vitamin E; combining Vitamin C and E provides greater efficacy in photoprotection than using either antioxidant alone.


Can too much topical Vitamin C be harmful?

Two common mistakes are applying a high dosage of concentrated Vitamin C and applying non-THD Vitamin C. If you apply a large amount of water-soluble Vitamin C to the skin at once, it can cause irritation. Vitamin C in its normal, water-soluble form is unstable, and while having the potential to cause irritation, its effects do not last very long on the skin. However, if Vitamin C is protected by fat in a lipid-rich formula, it is released more slowly and regularly into the skin.

Being mindful of the type of Vitamin C you are using as well as the concentration is important. More is not always more. In fact at very high concentrations of 15% to 20% the effects of Vitamin C are reduced and at that level, can also be highly irritating. Keep in mind: the higher the Vitamin C content, the more likely it will be harmful to your skin and cause irritation.


Dr. Barbara Sturm


22 December 2020