Over the last year or so, skincare has become more popular than ever. Many people have freshly discovered the calming, empowering, and relaxing nature of this method of self-care.
Still, skincare moves beyond the self-care realm. It’s in a hybrid territory all its own, combining health and beauty with physical and mental wellbeing. And its popularity hasn’t come a moment too soon.
Many of us have struggled with hard-to-banish skin issues, such as maskne, over the last year. What’s more, for the majority of us, it’s never been so important to devote time and mental energy to quieting down, listening to our minds and bodies, and taking care of ourselves.
One of the easiest ways to reconnect with ourselves and our skin is to apply a face mask both as a relaxing activity and as a way to address skin concerns. And you’re not likely to find a mask that works harder to help your skin than one containing vitamin C.
The Rise of the Skincare Routine
As our normal routines are disrupted, it can be greatly calming and grounding to find routines of our own to adhere to and enjoy. One such habit that checks both the self-care and healthcare boxes is the implementation of a skincare routine.
In a typical skincare routine, multiple products are used to address different skin concerns from different approaches. The usual products include cleansers, toners, essences, serums, treatments, creams, moisturizers, and masks. These products can include a wide array of nourishing and concern-specific ingredients that will yield results.
What are the Benefits of Topical Vitamin C
One of the ingredients we can’t get enough of in our skincare routines is vitamin C. That’s right, the same kind of vitamin C that makes orange juice and citrus consumption a good idea and that can help bolster your immune system.
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of ingesting vitamin C as part of our supplement routine for overall good internal health, but the topical application of vitamin C has many benefits to offer as well.
Many widespread protective qualities of vitamin C for your skin include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Translated into the results you’ll see, this means that vitamin C helps to brighten as a skin moisturizer, smooth and tone texture, and protect your skin from aging and reduce fine lines.
As you can see, vitamin C is so crucial and beloved in skincare routines because it runs the gamut of skincare concerns that most people want to address with their skincare products.
What is a Vitamin C Face Mask
While you are no doubt familiar with the concept of using face masks for both skincare and self care, vitamin C face masks can come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on what ingredients are accompanying the vitamin C in the face mask, the texture and results of the mask will vary.
Vitamin C face masks that are focused on hydration can be of a gel-like texture that will dry and absorb into the skin. On the other hand, some vitamin C masks that are acne and oil-reduction focused can benefit from the addition of clay. These masks will be of a thicker texture, will be more opaque, and can dry and tighten on the skin for clarifying.
Some vitamin C masks focused on collagen production and age concerns can be leave-on masks, meaning that they function as sort of a thick moisturizer that is typically applied to the whole face overnight and left on until the following morning.
The Benefits of Vitamin C Face Masks
Out of all the masks you can choose to apply and enjoy, you might be wondering how one containing vitamin C might stand out in the crowd. When it comes down to it, few skincare ingredients will work as hard for you as vitamin C, and the efficient delivery coupled with the luxurious experience of a mask pair beautifully as the perfect way to use vitamin C for skincare.
One of the major reasons to choose a vitamin C face mask is that it will help stimulate collagen production in your skin. Collagen is the substance that contributes to the youth of your skin. Fine lines, texture issues, tone, and firmness are all related to collagen production.
If you have acne scarring or pitting or are struggling with aging concerns and want to reduce wrinkles, a weekly vitamin C mask can help diminish those issues. Using a mask will help extend the benefits of this ingredient and make sure that your whole face gets to soak it in.
Another important benefit of a vitamin C mask is its power as an exfoliant. As with all other parts of your body, your skin rejuvenates itself and is continually sloughing off old layers to be replaced with new ones. Sometimes, the old layers outstay their welcome, or your new skin-cell production can lag.
This can cause all sorts of issues, such as lackluster or dull skin, congested and clogged pores, dry and flaky skin, and dark spots that refuse to fade. Vitamin C helps give your skin regeneration a kickstart and also helps to gently slough away dead skin cells in a timely and healthy way that keeps your skin looking bright and glowy.
This makes vitamin C a very important ingredient for those who have hyperpigmentation or large pores. Applying a vitamin C mask, especially in the affected areas, will subject these concerns to the powers of this ingredient for an extended time, helping to heal and improve them visibly.
Out of all of vitamin C’s advantages, did you know that it works in conjunction with your daily sunscreen to protect your skin from damaging sun exposure? Vitamin C does this by helping your skin retain moisture that builds up your skin barrier, which naturally protects your skin from harsh conditions when it’s healthy and maintained.
Because it also helps increase the speed of your skin cell turnover, vitamin C is also an important ingredient to use in the treatment of sunburn, as it can help you recover faster.
Inflammation can be a tricky and somewhat sneaky skin symptom. It can be the result of many underlying causes and can be even harder to banish. However, vitamin C is great at targeting the issue and helping to calm redness and puffiness that is unsightly and painful.
Because it also supports your natural skin barrier, a natural result of vitamin C usage is not only hydrated skin, but a more even skin tone. When your skin barrier is neglected and compromised, inflammation and dryness can be the result. Vitamin C, though, can save the day by soothing both symptoms and leaving you with a calmed and even, shining skin tone.
Masking for these results is important and very effective. Just as you hold ice on an area to reduce puffiness, using a mask to cover the affected area and letting the ingredients nourish your skin over time is a great way to see very fast results.
Vitamin C Face Mask Ingredients
Although this wonder ingredient is readily available in many products on the skincare market, not all of those products are created equally. Vitamin C appears in many ingredient lists alongside a wide variety of others that may not be equally as beneficial to all types of skin.
It’s important to know your skin type and understand which skin concerns you want to treat through the use of a vitamin C mask before you begin your search.
What Ingredients to Avoid
Because vitamin C is acidic and can cause so many changes in your skin, it’s considered an active skincare ingredient. Active ingredients are those that can potentially be damaging for your skin if overused or used in conjunction with other actives within the same skincare routine.
Active ingredients typically help to slough off layers of dead skin and, as exfoliants, can be a little volatile, especially for those with sensitive skin. But, even if you have sensitive skin, this doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from a vitamin C mask.
For Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, look for masks that pair vitamin C with calming and natural ingredients, like vitamin E and magnesium. If you see ingredients like AHA, ferulic acid, or most other types of acid, there’s a chance that the mask may be too potent for your skin.
As vitamin C comes in many forms, it’s important to know which types are best if you have sensitive skin. Commonly, sodium ascorbyl phosphate or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate are good vitamin C options for sensitive skin. One of the most common forms, L-ascorbic acid, is known to be irritating for some skin types, so start with a gentler one and work your way up to this form or bypass it altogether.
Additionally, look for vitamin C concentrations of less than 10% for a good face mask that’s less likely to irritate your skin. If that concentration is beneficial for your skin and causes no side effects, then you can slowly work your way up to a stronger dosage.
Likewise, if you feel a different type of vitamin C might be a good fit or want to branch out into other ingredients, you can always make sure that it’s compatible with your skin by performing a spot test of the mask. Simply apply it to a small portion of skin, leave it as normal, and observe how your skin reacts once the mask is removed.
For Other Skin Types
Even if your skin isn’t sensitive, you’ll still want to be mindful of other products that you pair with or use in proximity to your vitamin C face mask. Many dermatologists recommend not using retinol or other active acids in the same time frame as your vitamin C products.
This is because over-use of exfoliants can cause too much sloughing off of your skin, resulting in tender, red, and even burned skin. Even if you’re a skincare veteran, it’s best to take it slow and test the waters as you add in a new vitamin C face mask.
However, there are many ingredients that can boost the beneficial properties of vitamin C. Hyaluronic acid, vitamin B, and even a proper dosage of AHAs can all support the functions of vitamin C and give you even faster skincare results. Of course, don’t forget to spot test first.
And that’s not to say, of course, that you can’t use retinol or other acids if you use a vitamin C mask. The best way to keep your skin happy is to flip-flop your product usages. For instance, if you use a vitamin C mask in the morning, then apply retinol or other exfoliants at nighttime and vice versa.
What Ingredients to Look For
While keeping your skin type and skin concerns in mind, there are a few other things to be aware of when looking for a vitamin C mask. Firstly, vitamin C, as we mentioned before, can be a slightly volatile ingredient. When exposed to the sun, it can oxidize quickly in some forms and go bad faster.
Therefore, make sure to look for a vitamin C mask that’s in an opaque container that will protect it from exposure. It also helps to find a mask with protective, stabilizing ingredients that will help the vitamin C remain as potent as possible for longer. Magnesium, ferulic acid, and vitamin E, among other ingredients, help with this. But again, remember to spot test to make sure your skin can handle the combination of ingredients.
On the other hand, you’ll want to stay away from anything formulated with vitamin C and niacinamide together. Niacinamide can decrease the efficacy of vitamin C, and nobody wants to be applying a face mask for nothing!
How to Use a Vitamin C Face Mask
In all, vitamin C masks can vary greatly in texture and even in the final desired product. The issue you choose to address with your vitamin C mask will determine if the mask is of a gel texture, is more opaque, or even is a leave-on mask.
With all masks, though, you’ll apply in a consistent layer across all the skin on your face. You’ll want to bypass more sensitive areas, though, such as the area around your eyes and nose. If you have sensitive skin in any areas of your face, you’ll want to spot test first and perhaps either avoid or layer the mask only thinly across these areas.
In general, masks are a great component of any complete skincare routine. Depending on the qualities and ingredients of the mask, many dermatologists advise that they be used a maximum of several times a week.
Since your skin is exposed for a longer period of time to ingredients this way, giving your skin a break between masking helps to ensure that no adverse effects take place.
When incorporating a vitamin C mask into an existing skincare routine, take care in making sure that you don’t use the mask and any active or harsh ingredients too quickly in succession. Especially the first time you use your vitamin C mask, make sure to pay attention to how your skin reacts and perhaps give it a break from other harsh products that include exfoliants, acids, or acne medications.
However, if your skin doesn’t react adversely, then you can pick right back up with your acid-based products and other more astringent products after giving your skin some time to adjust. For example, if you use the mask in the morning, then you can go back to using your other skincare products that night, or vice versa.
At the end of the day, vitamin C is such an effective, multitasking ingredient that you’d really be missing out by not getting in on the action. Since there are so many different products aimed at different skin types and concerns, you’re bound to find one that suits your skin and helps you feel glamorous when you go to do your self-care. Whether you’re benefiting from the antioxidant and anti-aging properties of vitamin C, using it to help fade dark spots, or simply basking in the luminous glow you’ll get from using this incredible ingredient, you won’t regret adding a vitamin C face mask to your skincare routine.