Un­der Ar­mour

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Vi­ta­min C is one of the most well known and re­searched skincare ac­tives, ca­pa­ble of help­ing to bol­ster col­la­gen pro­duc­tion, dim dark spots and make skin more vi­brant. “It’s a skin pow­er­house,” says Beth Bialko, direc­tor of global cur­ricu­lum at Der­ma­log­ica and The In­ter­na­tional Der­mal In­sti­tute. And while it’s ob­vi­ously not new, it con­tin­ues to be im­proved. “Even with main­stay ac­tives like vi­ta­min C, there are al­ways new tech­nolo­gies and re­search that help evolve in­gre­di­ents to work bet­ter, smarter and even faster,” she says.

And that’s not all. As a key de­fence mol­e­cule, vi­ta­min C is a for­mi­da­ble guardian, en­abling the skin to shield it­self from dele­te­ri­ous ex­ter­nal fac­tors such as UV rays, pol­lu­tion and stress. “It acts on three bi­o­log­i­cal trig­gers to pro­tect the skin from dam­age,” says Bialko, adding that the serum form is best. “It tends to be the ideal choice for more highly ac­tive and con­cen­trated amounts of vi­ta­min C, and the skin can read­ily ab­sorb it,” she says, sug­gest­ing that it should be ap­plied in the morn­ing un­der mois­tur­izer and sun­screen.

One last thing: The in­gre­di­ent is un­sta­ble and de­grades eas­ily when ex­posed to air, heat and wa­ter, so it should be housed in pro­tec­tive pack­ag­ing; avoid any that comes in clear glass. Also, its colour should be clear to pale yel­low; a deep am­ber hue is a warn­ing sign. “It’s a sig­nal that the for­mula has ox­i­dized,” says Bialko. “At this point, the vi­ta­min C won’t per­form op­ti­mally to treat skin con­cerns.” —Lesa Han­nah

FRESH VI­TA­MIN NEC­TAR VI­TA­MIN C GLOW POW­DER ($49 FOR 12); XO FACECARE HEAVY C SERUM ($89); ALUMIERMD EVERACTIVE C&E SERUM ($179 FOR A SET OF THREE BOT­TLES); DER­MA­LOG­ICA BIOLUMIN-C SERUM ($118); RE­VERSA RA­DI­ANCE-C CON­CEN­TRATE ($60); RODIAL VIT C BRIGHT­EN­ING MASK ($110)

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