Vitamin C and Sunscreen is The Gold-Standard for Sun Protection

Vitamin C and Sunscreen is The Gold-Standard for Sun Protection

UV rays are responsible for actively breaking down collagen and elastin fibers and induce melanocytes to increase pigmentation, which leads to uneven tone. Translation? Protection against UV damage is vital. That’s why every skincare expert (myself included) stresses the importance of sunscreen and vitamin C for the pinnacle of protection against photoaging. Recently, it became a thing to pair vitamin C and SPF, and all those in the know swear by this duo’s power that promises to be better at shielding your skin than when used on their own. So does using vitamin C boost your sunscreen? Yes, vitamin C maximizes the defense ability of sunscreen, and in this post, we explain the science behind it. Stay tuned.

Vitamin C and sunscreen

Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants that prevents the damage caused by free radicals. Moreover, vitamin C has brightening and firming abilities, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and helps calm skin. In other words, vitamin C is king for repairing sun-induced damage.[1]

Sunscreen is the sunblock skin needs every day, at all ages, and acts by absorbing (chemical sunscreen) or deflecting (physical sunscreen) sunbeams. Sunscreen is required for photoprotection, which may otherwise lead to premature wrinkles, dark spots, sagginess, and skin cancer.[2]

Vitamin C and sunscreen go well together as each of their photoprotective effects add up and maximize their benefits. According to the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, vitamin C works synergistically with sunscreen to increase photoprotection and keep sun damage at bay.[3] Teaming up vitamin C and sunscreen helps increase the capacity of your skin to defend itself against oxidative stress and hinder other free radicals from weakening collagen, inducing hyperpigmentation, and causing DNA damage.

Bonus: So that vitamin C fulfills its photoprotective and repairing benefits, it should be used in concentrations of at least 10%.[1]

Vitamin C before or after sunscreen?

Vitamin C always goes before sunscreen. The most potent and highly concentrated vitamin C products are serums. As such, when you pair vitamin C and sunscreen, do it in this order:

  • Cleanse: remove debris, oil, and residues
  • Tone: add extra benefits and regulate pH
  • Layer vitamin C serum
  • Use moisturizer: lock hydration and benefits 
  • Apply sunscreen

Can vitamin C replace sunscreen?

By no means you should quit using sunscreen in favor of a vitamin C product. Vitamin C provides some sun protection but doesn’t defend the skin as sunscreen does. 

To end

Vitamin C and sunscreen represent a dynamic duo that works synergistically to guard your skin against UV and other free radicals, so using them daily is a top priority. Doing so hinders the apparition of dark spots and protects the protein fibers from degrading, maintaining firm, elastic, and even skin. 

P.S.: For those who fancy minimalist skincare routines and want to cut an extra step, a vitamin C sunscreen may come in handy.