You may be aware of the powerful anti-aging benefits of Vitamin C, but did you know you may be storing it incorrectly which can decrease its potency? We take a closer look at the right way to store this powerful active ingredient.
WHAT EXTERNAL FACTORS HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON VITAMIN C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a notoriously unstable vitamin. It is particularly sensitive to light, which can cause it to degrade quickly. It therefore requires a few precautions to maintain its freshness and efficacy.
WHY DOES VITAMIN C CHANGE?
Ascorbic acid is so vulnerable to change because it is prone to oxidation. Oxidation occurs when a substance is exposed to oxygen, resulting in a change in its properties “It’s like when the inside of an apple is exposed to air and light”, says dermatologist Dr. Nina Roos. “With enough exposure, the apple turns brown”. When this occurs, Vitamin C oxidizes into the chemical known as dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA), which results not only in a change of color, but a loss of efficacy, too.
It’s important to note that oxidation is a natural chemical reaction that occurs over time, regardless of how stabilized the acid may be.
Patients usually complain that their skincare routine is less effective than usual, without realizing why.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR VITAMIN C HAS EXPIRED?
When Vitamin C is expired, the smell and texture can often change, as the oil and cream within the formula separate. “The date of expiration of Vitamin C skincare product depends on the type, but it usually lasts between 3-6 months” says Dr. Roos. If you don’t plan to use it regularly, you may want to choose a smaller dosage to avoid expiration. Without opening it, the shelf life of Vitamin C is anywhere from 1 year to 18 months.
PRODUCTS FEATURING VITAMIN C
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO LOOK AFTER YOUR VITAMIN C?
As an ideal part of an anti-aging skincare routine, it helps to brighten skin, fight the signs of photodamage, and even out skin tone and improve texture. However, all these properties are lost and its potential can be severely reduced if it’s not protected. Steps you can take to look after your Vitamin C include:
- Storing it in a cool, dark space, such as the fridge, which can help shelter it from oxidation.
- Paying attention to the expiration date. If it’s expired, throw it away.
- Resealing the container tightly after use.
- Choosing the right packaging to protect the Vitamin C- avoid transparent bottles and go for dark packaging as this protects it from UV exposure.
Crisan, D. et al, 'The role of Vitamin C in pushing back the boundaries of skin aging: an ultrasonographic approach' in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 8 (2015) pp. 463-470
[Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562654/]
Telang, P.S. 'Vitamin C in dermatology' in Indian Dermatology Online Journal 4.2 (2013) pp. 143-146 [Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/]