The M Word

National Vitamin C Day

Happy National Vitamin C Day! Celebrate With Our Skincare Guide.

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, this week’s topic is VITAMIN C. Vitamin C is a dream product. However, not all are created equally, and there is a lot to know about this super antioxidant.

Vitamin C is a must-have for all skincare regimens, which is why it has earned its role in the ABCs of Skincare (Vitamin A, UVB, and Vitamin C). Vitamin C has lots of benefits. The heavy hitters are:

Promotes cell turnover
Fights free radicals
Lightens and brightens your skin
Enhances the effects of your sunscreen (However, this does not replace sunscreen.)

The Vitamin C Skincare Products We Carry:

All of our Obagi products (besides the Vitamin C Peptides) use L-Ascorbic acid. L-Ascorbic acid is the highest bioavailable and superior form of Vitamin C.

Why We Carry Obagi Vitamin C Skincare Products (and not other brands)

We carry Obagi products for a simple reason: They work, and they can back it up. What sets clinical-grade skincare products apart from over-the-counter products is their ingredients and studies. Obagi continues to perform clinical studies on their products, so these claims aren’t just a selling technique they’re facts.

Vitamin C is a very picky molecule to stabilize. Because of this, the moment you open any Vitamin C product, it starts “dying”; this makes for a shortened shelf life, and it becomes less effective as time goes on. Obagi has created a formula to prevent this from happening as quickly as the rest of the Vitamin C products and has done extensive studies to back up this claim.

Many of you have probably heard of SkinCeuticals Vitamin C E Ferulic; it is perhaps their most famous product. Obagi put it to the test against their Vitamin C line, 10%, 15%, and 20%. They placed both products in high heat for three months to test which product decreases at a higher rate. In the end, SkinCeuticals had decreased by 46% and Obagi by 17%. What does this all mean? Obagi Vitamin C not only has a higher shelf life but once oxidized, it starts “dying” at a much slower rate, meaning it will not lose its effectiveness as quickly as SkinCeuticals. On top of this, Obagi has proven to be more absorbent, immediately penetrating, and remaining in the skin. There is no shortage of people who believe that all Vitamin Cs are created equally. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Not all vitamin C are created equally, and understanding the difference is necessary to make informed decisions when it comes to your skincare.

Why Vitamin C Is A MUST For Everyone’s Skincare Routine

Vitamin C is a MUST for EVERYONE (except for the few people of the world, like Dr. C, who are allergic to Vitamin C). Skin in any condition needs daily topical protection from environmental stressors.

The list of benefits from topical L-Ascorbic acid is long!

  • Softens and brightens your skin
  • Improves texture
  • Calms inflammation
  • Retains moisture
  • Enhances UV protection
  • Stabilizes Vitamin E
  • Complements collagen synthesis
  • Supports cellular regeneration
  • Defends against the visible signs of aging
  • Helps address the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Fight free radicals
  • Tightens skin
  • Improves overall photodamaged appearance
  • Inhibits tyrosinase to decrease pigment

What Each Product Does and Who It Is Good For

  • Obagi Vitamin C 10% and Vitamin C 20%— Both of these products offer all the fantastic benefits mentioned above for your skin. L-Ascorbic acid is designed to penetrate deep into your skin. Obagi’s line of Vitamin C serums provides effective antioxidant protection from UV damage as it brightens away hyperpigmentation and encourages the growth of collagen and elastin fibers. When trying to decide whether 10% or 20% is right for you, it is pretty straightforward. We recommend 10% for Dry -Sensitive Skin and 20% for Normal – Oily Skin (really everyone except sensitive skin). You do not work your way up to 20%. With either the 10% or 20%, you will get the optimal Vitamin C level for your skin type. This step should be done in the morning only and applied right after your toner and eye cream. Note: A little goes a long way. Apply all over the face, neck, and decollete, and if there is any extra use on hands. Allow the serum to dry before moving on to the next step.
  • Obagi Clarifying Vitamin C—Has 10% Vitamin C and 4% Hydroquinone, making this a prescription-grade serum! This product will help reduce hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots and melasma, and fight against free radicals while addressing the appearance of aging. Clarifying Vitamin C is perfect for someone who has Normal – Dry skin with hyperpigmentation issues. This step is recommended for your morning routine only and right after toner. Again, a little goes a long way. Apply all over the face, neck, and decollete, and use any extra on hands. Allow to dry before moving on to the next step.
  • Obagi Microdermabrasion Polish+ Mask—- Fun fact, WE LOVE THIS MASK! This product contains ultra-fine crystals (Silica-Alumina) that gently shed the epidermis’ most superficial layers and preps the skin to be infused with 30% L-Ascorbic acid and botanical oils that condition the skin, creating a brighter, more youthful appearance. The studies on this mask are impressive.

Clinical Trial Results Of The Polish+ Mask, After Three Weeks:

  • 98% of users reported more youthful-looking skin
  • 96% of users experienced smoother and brighter-looking skin
  • 91% of users discovered the restoration of radiant, glowing skin
  • 87% of users noticed the softening of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

We recommend that you use this mask 3x a week. Personally, I like to use it before getting in the shower. This mask is thick and can leave a film so washing it all off in the shower works way better than in your sink.

The mask itself is hard; you’ll want to whip it first with the small spatula provided. I like to scoop a small ball into my fingertips and manipulate it down that way. Then apply the mask to damp skin (just a barely damp skin), wait 10 minutes, then remove. You may experience some tingling; this is entirely normal.

NEW! Obagi Professional-C Peptide Complex—This is our newest product, so I want to go into a bit more detail. Vitamin C Peptide Complex is a product that (on top of everything else we’ve talked about) addresses signs of aging. The key ingredients I want to tell you about in this product are:

  • Vitamin C – This Obagi product uses a synthetic form of plant-grown factors (Kinetin and Zeatin) and SNAP-8 (acetyl octapeptide). It is an incredible antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals and visibly brighten your complexion while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In clinical studies, Vitamin C has proven to reduce the apparent depth of wrinkles by 35%.
  • Soft Focus Technology – Creates optical diffusion of reflected light, blurring the appearance of fine lines and shadows without the use of makeup. This product is the perfect recommendation for someone concerned with aging, sagging, uneven skin tone. Clinical studies prove that it helps restore your skin tone in just 28 days, and 83% of users stated they would recommend this product to a friend.
  • Vitamin C Peptide Complex can be used with the Vitamin C 10% or 20% serum, although it is not a must. You can use Vitamin C Peptide with your morning or evening routine, following the Vitamin C 10% or 20% Serums (if using either product). Otherwise, apply right after your toner (AM and PM).

Other ingredients in Vitamin C Peptide Complex:

  • Vitamin E: repels free-radical damage
  • Peptides: firm and tone your skin
  • Aloe Vera: soothes, calms, and hydrates
  • Hyaluronic Acid: boosts moisture levels and naturally plumps skin
  • Green Tea: fights bacteria and reduces inflammation

Obagi Professional-C Peptide Complex is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. This potent serum fades dermal damage signs while repelling the environmental pollutants that prematurely age your skin. Plant-sourced, natural growth factors kinetin and zeatin revitalize your skin, restoring its natural glow. At the same time, peptides stimulate collagen production to promote healthy cell growth and, in turn, reveal smoother skin.

Let’s Talk Free Radicals & Antioxidants
These words are thrown around a lot with Vitamin C, but if you don’t understand them, they mean nothing to you, and you might not grasp why Vitamin C is so essential.

Free Radicals
If you’ve ever seen a sliced apple turn brown, you’ve witnessed the process of oxidation; this is free radicals at work. Our bodies naturally produce free radicals, but they can also come from exposure to environmental factors like UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, and other chemicals. Once an overload of free radicals is present in our system, it causes oxidative stress or an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects. Fortunately, studies have shown that the inclusion of antioxidants in your skincare regimen can help your skin fight free radical damage and recover from oxidative stress.


  1. Antioxidants help correct the signs of aging.
    Oxidative stress breaks down collagen, hinders your skin’s natural repair process, and triggers inflammation. You can see these effects, like fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, acne breakouts, and a blotchy skin tone. By scavenging free radicals, antioxidants can help prevent and correct these visible signs and give skin a more youthful glow.
  2. Antioxidants help prevent sun damage.
    They blunt your skin’s inflammatory response to the sun’s harmful rays, prevent sunburn, and provide enhanced protection against sun damage and photoaging.
  3. Antioxidants help skin repair itself.
    Inflammation impedes the skin’s renewal process. By reducing inflammation, antioxidants allow your skin to repair itself and correct visible damage. Vitamin C can also stimulate collagen production, which is vital for youthful skin.
  4. Antioxidants help brighten skin tone.
    Free radicals and frequent sun exposure can also trigger changes in our skin’s melanin production, causing dark spots and uneven skin tone. By reducing photodamage, antioxidants can help prevent abnormal skin pigmentation. Vitamin C also works to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that stimulates melanin production.

Whew! You made it through! I know that was a lot of information. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I will be providing free, in-depth skincare consultations all April long at our Santa Rosa office (and a few days in Larkspur). Please call (707) 921-7447 to get scheduled. All skincare consultations will also come with a raffle entry for awesome prizes, a free gift, and 20% off all products in our online store.


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