Why You Need To Use Vit C & SPF Every Day This Summer (Srsly, Tho)

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So many things just go perfectly together: chocolate and strawberries, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, lip liner and lipstick. Each are great on their own but bring them together and that’s where the magic happens. The same is true of vitamin C and SPF, two must-use skincare ingredients that, when paired together, actually enhance each other’s benefits for gorgeous, healthy, protected skin.

“Think of your typical video game – there are power-ups or health boosts, then there’s armor,” says Dr. Geeta Yadev, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Facet Dermatology in Toronto, Canada. “You need both to get through the game unscathed, right? Vitamin C works like a power-up, while the SPF is your armor.”

Science tells us that, when used together, these two ingredients more effectively neutralize and protect against free radical and UV damage. In turn, your skin remains healthier and stronger than if you’d only used one or the other. (Feel free to put on your researcher cap and check out this robust study on the matter!)

To better understand just how important it is to use vitamin C and SPF daily, keep reading.

Vitamin C: An Antioxidant Powerhouse

There’s a solid chance you’ve heard the word “antioxidant” floating around both in terms of skincare and the foods you eat. But what does antioxidant even mean?

Well, you know how rust can accumulate on metal? That’s a form of oxidation, and the same can occur at a micro-level on our skin via free radicals. Long story short, these pesky unpaired oxygen atoms attach to your skin and accelerate the deterioration of collagen, which leads to premature signs of aging. Specifically, they can cause sunspots, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin laxity. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidation hero that basically tells free radicals to get lost so your skin continues looking healthy for longer.

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“You should wear vitamin C every day,” says Dr. Yadev. “It’s a simple way to help protect and strengthen your skin as well as deliver multiple skincare benefits, including brightening, firming, and smoothing.” And like we mentioned above, wearing vitamin C with your SPF can actually strengthen the efficacy of your sunscreen. In fact, many sunscreens are pre-formulated with vitamin C precisely for this reason. ILIA’s C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C 10% + Niacinamide, $64, and Iris&Romeo’s Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow, $47, are two prime examples.

Of course, you can always wear a layer of your favorite vitamin C serum or cream underneath your sunscreen for the same result.

SPF: Your Best Defense Against the Sun

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Sunscreen is another non-negotiable ingredient to keep in your beauty lineup, and with so many amazing formulations to choose from, there’s zero excuse to skip it. Especially when you think about the fact that it’s your number one defense against skin cancer – the most common cancer in the world.

“SPF protects your skin against continuous harm from UVA and UVB exposure, which can lead to the development of skin cancers and worsened aging of the skin with increased uneven pigmentation, wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity,” notes Dr. Morgana Colombo, a board-certified dermatologist in Reston, Virginia. Like vitamin C, she says you should slather sunscreen daily and then reapply every two to four hours. Even on cloudy days and days spent inside, your skin is subjected to the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun.

“I tell patients to apply a good [broad spectrum] sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection to face and neck daily and rest of body when exposed,” says Dr. Colombo. “A layer thick enough to cover your whole face and neck should be applied, which is about the size of a nickel or two fingertips. One ounce should cover the whole body.”

Because it can be inconvenient to apply another layer of SPF when you’re wearing makeup, Dr. Yadev suggests using a powder sunscreen formula for reapplications. These can be easily dusted over your makeup and can even help zap excess oil and shininess. Try Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50, $69, or the Supergoop (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35, $30. Pro tip: Keep one stocked on your desk and/or in your purse for easy reapplication.

Check out our fave sunscreens to apply over makeup here.

Bottom Line on SPF and Vitamin C

If there are two ingredients every single person should keep in their skincare regimen, it’s definitely vitamin C and SPF. Better yet, by pairing these two together, your skin gets an additional boost of antioxidant protection and UV protection. Consider this timeless duo extra insurance for healthy and radiant skin.

Like vitamin C and SPF, there are tons of ingredient combinations that make the perfect pairing. We’ve listed four of the best duos in the skincare kingdom here – thank us later, boo!

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.