When it comes to popular ingredients for your skin, it's hard to beat Vitamin C. Walk down the skin care aisle of any pharmacy, and you'll see products galore touting this powerful antioxidant. And for good reason—studies have pointed to many beneficial properties of Vitamin C for skin.

But it gets better. Using Vitamin C and sunscreen together has added benefits, improving photoprotection and magnifying the advantages of each. Read on to learn why you might want to combine these two heavy hitters in your routine.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C (also called Ascorbic Acid) is one of nature's most potent antioxidants, so it's no surprise it plays such an important role in your skin health. As the most abundant antioxidant in your skin, it's critical for building collagen, the structural framework that gives skin its firm, smooth appearance. In addition to minimizing visible signs of aging, Vitamin C helps brighten your complexion, even out skin tone, and replenish your skin's supply of another important antioxidant—Vitamin E.

Young woman in white towel chilling in bedroom and making clay facial mask near mirror. Girl doing beauty treatment and relaxing at home. Morning skin care beauty routine, self care.

As an antioxidant, Vitamin C also helps protect and repair your skin from free radical damage produced by ultraviolet (UV) light and other environmental aggressors. It does this by working double duty—helping to both prevent and correct skin cell damage that can lead to skin cancer and photoaging.

And Vitamin C isn't just about your skin health. It's also critical for the health of other body functions, like your immune, neurologic, and cardiovascular systems.

Sources of Vitamin C

You need Vitamin C to be healthy, but your body can't make it on its own.

You get most of your Vitamin C through foods. You probably already know a diet rich in vegetables and fruit is good for your skin, and Vitamin C is one of the reasons. Berries, citrus fruit, melon, leafy greens like spinach and kale, cabbage, and sweet potatoes are all rich in Vitamin C.

However, you can also apply Vitamin C directly to your skin through serums, creams, lotions, and sunscreen.

How Vitamin C and Sun Protection Work Together

It's no secret that using sunscreen daily is the best way to keep your skin healthy, radiant, and cancer-free. But what you may not know is that adding antioxidants—especially Vitamin C—can boost sunscreen's sun protective effects.

In fact, Vitamin C and sunscreen have been crowned the "power couple" of skin care. The reason? Sunscreen blocks harmful UVA and UVB rays while Vitamin C boosts photoprotection by preventing—and reversing—UV damage before it becomes permanent. This double defense leads to fewer wrinkles, more even skin tone, and increased luminosity overall.

Bringing the Power of Vitamin C and Sunscreen into Your Routine

Anyone can benefit from adding this power couple to their daily routine. And fortunately, it doesn't have to be hard. After washing your skin in the morning, apply Vitamin C in a serum or moisturizer. One option is EltaMD AM Restore Moisturizer, which includes Vitamin C to reduce the signs of aging in addition to Hyaluronic Acid to lock in moisture and improve skin's suppleness. Follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

One of the easiest ways to introduce Vitamin C into your routine is to use a sunscreen that already contains it. For example, EltaMD UV AOX Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is rich in Vitamins C and E. This tinted mineral formula also blends in easily and contains Iron Oxides that help block pigment-inducing blue light.

Regularly using an antioxidant like Vitamin C in addition to sunscreen can help prevent the damaging effects of UV and visible light. So, cheers to healthy, glowing skin that looks as good as you feel.

Author

  • MARIA ROBINSON, MD, MBA

    Maria Robinson, MD, MBA is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with over ten years of clinical experience. Dr. Robinson has a passion for nutrition and integrative dermatology, and is the co-founder of www.integrativederm.org, where people can explore holistic dermatology treatments. Through her writing, she strives to empower people with accurate health information so they can make positive decisions that lead to healthy and vibrant skin.

    View all posts