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Vitamin C: Advanced Environmental Protection

Aside from cleansing and moisturizing, the following three steps are Dr. Manning's "non-negotiable" steps to maintain radiant, healthy skin and prevent the signs of accelerated skin aging:

  • Vitamin C

  • Sunscreen

  • Retinol

Today, we'll put the spotlight on potent antioxidant, L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Vitamin C Combats Free Radicals

Let's think back to chemistry class for a moment, shall we? Free radicals are unstable molecules which have lost an electron, which in turn seek to steal electrons from other molecules, including those in our cells. Free radicals are generated by ultraviolet (UV) rays, pollution, ozone, diesel exhaust, and lifestyle factors like alcohol and exposure to cigarette smoke.

Free Radicals Cause Accelerated Skin Aging

Free radicals attack and break down the collagen in the skin, causing lines and wrinkles to appear, and also contribute to skin laxity, and discolouration. Free radical damage may also lead to other diseases and disorders of the skin, including skin irritation or inflammation, dermatitis, allergy, psoriasis, acne, eczema, rosacea, and skin cancer.

Antioxidants Stop Free Radical Damage

Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants. Topical antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, forming a barrier to protect your skin from the damage they can cause. In order to be active and effective in the skin, a topical vitamin C serum must be formulated in a concentration between 10-20% (not lower or higher), at a pH of and should be applied to the skin of the face, neck, décolletage and hands every day, immediately after cleansing and before applying moisturizer, sunscreen, and cosmetics.

In order for topical vitamin C to be maximally absorbed in the skin and clinically effective at preventing free radical damage, topical vitamin C must be formulated according to three specific parameters, as outlined by the Duke Antioxidant patent:

  1. L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) must be in its pure form;

  2. The formulation must be at an acidic pH, within the 2.0 - 3.5 pH range;

  3. The concentration must be between 10 - 20%

Vitamin C can be combined with other antioxidants to further increase the product's ability to neutralize free radicals and prevent damage. Pairing a vitamin C serum with sunscreen further improves sunscreen's ability to protect your skin from the damage of UVA/UVB rays, and provides the most complete protection from environmental damage.


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