May. 02, 2020

The role of vitamin C in skincare

Vitamin C is one of the most traditional ingredients in skin care products. In this blog the most important effects and applications of vitamin C are described.

What is vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble, highly unstable vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, such as paprika, oranges, spinach, parsley, kiwis. This vitamin is necessary for normal growth and development.   In nature, vitamin C is found in equal parts as L-ascorbic acid and D-ascorbic acid. These are essentially isomeric molecules. However, only LAA is biologically active and thus useful in medical practice.


The vast majority of animals and plants are able to synthesize vitamin C, with glucose as starting molecule. Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C endogenously, due to deficiency in enzyme, so it is an essential dietary component. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is fixed at 75 mg for an adult. As certain 'risk individuals' are more exposed to the harmful effects of oxidants such as free radicals, their need for vitamin C is higher.

Consumption and bioavailability of vitamin C

Vitamin C can be taken orally, for example by eating fruit and vegetables, but there are also dietary supplements that contain vitamin C.  Vitamin C is absorbed via intestine and then enters the bloodstream. Via the vascularized dermis, vitamin C can enter the skin. The deposition in the skin occurs via sodium-dependent vitamin C transporters (SVCTs). Bioavailability in the dermis depends on plasma levels; concentrations respond to increases in plasma levels but stop once plasma saturation is reached.


A major disadvantage of vitamin C is the limited exposure in the epidermis (= upper layer of the skin). The epidermis is an avascular organ, which makes it very difficult for vitamin C in the bloodstream to reach the epidermis. The diffusion to the epidermis is limited so that the outer layer of the skin hardly receive any nutrients. The solution for this problem is the topical application of vitamin C, by means of skin care products.

Effects of vitamine C on your skin

Deficiencies of vitamin C in the human body can result in significant disorders as scurvy, impaired wound healing, bleeding gums. The high concentration of vitamin C in the skin indicates that it also has a number of important biological functions that are relevant to skin health. Vitamin C in the skin is needed for:

Collagen formation

Vitamin C has two functions in the formation of collagen, on the one hand, it acts as a co-factor for the proline and lysine hydroxylase that stabilize the collagen molecule tertiary structure. On the other hand, it promotes collagen gene expression. Collagen is responsible for firmness and elasticity of the skin, so it ensures that the skin remains young, firm and supple.

Vitamin C as an antioxidant

Antioxidants can be divided in two groups: groups: enzymatic antioxidants and non-enzymatic antioxidants. The human body itself makes enzymatic antioxidants, while non-enzymatic antioxidants can be found in some foods. Vitamin C is an example of a non-enzymatic antioxidant. Topical application of vitamin C helps to protect your skin from damaging factors that cause the release of damaging free radicals. Free radicals lead to premature signs of aging, but vitamin C neutralizes them and helps to protect your skin from this damage, keeping your complexion healthy and vibrant.  Of course, topical vitamin C should not be considered an alternative to wearing sunscreen, but when combined with sunscreen, vitamin C works as a sunblock booster! Nomige's day serum and day cream provide daily protection against harmful stress factors. Discover Nomige's morning routine here.

Keratinocyte differentiation

Ascorbic acid, besides acting as a radical scavenger, has been shown to promote keratinocyte differentiation. The stratum corneum generated by keratinocyte differentiation on healthy skin performs a skin barrier function, which is the most important role of epidermis.

Vitamin C in skin care

This powerful vitamin has been steadily climbing the beauty trend ladder and gaining popularity in skin care, but why? It has been proven that vitamin C is very useful as an ingredient in skin care products. Important effects are anti-aging, depigmentation, calming, anti-oxidant and sunscreen boosting.


There are different types of vitamin C; pure and esterified derivatives. All of them have anti-oxidant capacity and help against skin aging, yet there are large differences in stability, permeability and effectiveness. The instability and low penetration capacity of vitamin C make it a very difficult molecule to formulate. Therefore, different formulations and subtypes of vitamin C can be used to improve stability and penetration. The problem here is that every change in formulation entails both advantages and disadvantages.

Screening vitamin C products

Do you want to test a cosmetic product that contains vitamin C after reading this blog? Use the following tips to select a good product.


Vitamin C is a very unstable molecule that is sensitive to oxidation. If the cream is exposed to air or light, oxidation can occur so that vitamin C is no longer effective. Therefore, airless packaging is necessary! Airless packages ensure that the product is not exposed to light and air, so it remains stable. Nomige therefore opts for an airless packaging.



Ascorbic acid (AA) is the most effective and purest form of all vitamers.  Search for AA formulations with a low pH and high (>10%) concentration. If you have a sensitive skin, an oil based (no water) formulation could be better as it irritates less. Ester derivatives are not metabolized as effectively.



INCI names are systematic names internationally recognized to identify cosmetic ingredients, you can find them on the packaging of a cosmetic product. Depending on the position of vitamin C (vitamers) in this list, it can be determined which function it exerts in this product. When listed top 3, it probably functions as an anti-ageing or brightening ingredient. However, when listed in the bottom, it is merely a pH adjuster or preservative enhancer.

DNA skin analysis

To end this blog, it must be mentioned that the most powerful anti-oxidants are found in your own body (= enzymatic antioxidants). The GPX-1 gene and the SOD2 gene are among the strongest anti-oxidants available in the human body. DNA variations may affect the production process of these powerful natural antioxidants thereby influencing or reducing the copy number of your natural antioxidant power and hence making you more susceptible to external stress factors.

You can choose to start with a DNA skin analysis and then possibly purchase the products or you can immediately order the Nominal package that contains the DNA test and personalized products. Take a look at our offer below.

DNA Skin Analysis

  • DNA kit
  • Skin analysis
  • 15 Page skin report

Test package

2-week starter pack
  • DNA kit
  • Skin analysis
  • 15 page skin report
  • Day cream & serum
  • Night cream & serum

Nomige Package

4 months
  • DNA kit
  • Skin analysis
  • 15 page skin report
  • Day cream & serum
  • Nigh cream & serum
  • Solid packaging
  • Marble tray
  • Personal guidance

Want to know more about vitamins?

Vitamins are important for the human body and certainly for the skin. Therefore they are often used as ingredients in cosmetics.

Follow our story

Connect with us and follow the hashtag #MyNomige to stay up to date of the latest skin tips and news.

Follow our story

Connect with us and follow the hashtag #MyNomige to stay up to date of the latest skin tips and news.

Volg de hashtag #Nomige en blijf zo op de hoogte over de laatste skin tips en nieuws.
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