Vitamin C is one of those skincare ingredients that benefits our skin in more ways than one—from fading fine lines, wrinkles, and stubborn acne scars, to staving off sun damage and giving skin a brighter appearance overall. Since it addresses multiple different concerns simultaneously, almost every dermatologist recommends incorporating a vitamin C formula into your daily routine. Moreover, most experts advise applying it in the morning so you’ll reap the most benefits by wearing it during the daytime. How? Why? Let’s get into it.
“Vitamin C is a great ingredient to use any time, but it’s especially beneficial to wear during the day because it fights free radicals, which cause inflammation, and the overproduction of melanin,” says Laura Cline, Youth To The People’s Director of Education. “Applying a high level of stable vitamin C in the morning can help protect against this, as well as aggressors that break the skin down such as pollution and UV rays.”
Speaking of UV rays, Cline recommends applying your vitamin C prior to sunscreen because it essentially acts as another layer of protection between your skin and the sun. Joshua Zeichner , a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, agrees.
“Sunscreen blocks UV rays from penetrating through and vitamin C acts as a safety net to protect the skin from any light that still filters in,” he says. In other words: vitamin C serves as another line of defense against the sun and can actually help make your SPF more effective—so long as you’re still reapplying every two hours, of course.
It gets even better. Not only does vitamin C defend against future sun damage—including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, loss of elasticity, and so on—but it can also aid in reversing, or at least minimizing, some of your existing skincare concerns.
“One amazing thing that vitamin C does is block the production of abnormal pigmentation, so it can really help with lightening dark spots,” says Zeichner. This is all the more reason to wear your vitamin C during the day, because if you already struggle with hyperpigmentation , then you’re going to want to be extra diligent about protecting your skin from the sun so it doesn’t spread or get darker.
For those whose main concern is hyperpigmentation, Cline suggests using a high concentration of vitamin C during the day, and then a retinol product at night to enhance skin cell turnover. You can also use YTTP’s Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask overnight—which contains a non-irritating form of vitamin C known as THD ascorbate—to double down on your dose of vitamin C.
Written by Kaleigh Fasanella for Youth To The People