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Why You Need to Exfoliate Before Using Vitamin C

By Shammara Lawrence

Vitamin C, also shown on ingredient lists as (but not limited to) ascorbic acid, THD ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, is a vital nutrient for overall skin health. (At the core of each version’s molecular structure is ascorbic acid.) Occurring naturally in some fruits and vegetables, vitamin C is lauded in the skincare world for its antioxidant properties, which means it protects cells from free radical damage caused by air pollutants, industrial chemicals, and other environmental elements. But it can’t do its job as well if you have a layer of dead skin cells sitting on top of your skin. 

Just as vitamin C is essential, so is regular skin exfoliation. Exfoliating the dead skin cells allows for better penetration of active ingredients like vitamin C to get to the cells that can use it. There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants manually remove dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, use the power of acids such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid, and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as salicylic acid, break up the “glue” that holds on to that pesky dead skin. 

Using a potent vitamin C after exfoliation will boost its brightening and firming benefits. Try this must-have nighttime duo: The Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner + award-winning, vitamin C-packed overnight mask, Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask. First, after cleansing, use the Kombucha Power Toner to smooth and firm the look of skin with a unique blend of kombucha black tea, lactic acid and glycolic acid. After exfoliation, wait a few minutes then apply the Dream Mask. Wake up to firmer, brighter, and deeply hydrated skin thanks to the potent blend of antioxidant-rich superberries, hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, and a powerful boost of THD ascorbate, a non-irritating and super stable form of vitamin C. 

YTTP’s expert insight comes from Mercedes Taylor, our chemist. She explains that with consistent use, “Vitamin C can improve skin tone by evening out the look of redness that typically happens around the nose, cheeks, and corners of the mouth. Depending on the strength of the vitamin C, it also has superior antioxidants for helping to diminish the look of dark spots from scarring and hyperpigmentation from sun damage and melasma. It can improve the overall look of firmness of skin as well as helping to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles.” All of these benefits are more effective when the skin is first properly exfoliated. Two steps to a brighter, more even, and protected complexion? We’re in.

Written by Shammara Lawrence for Youth To The People