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We’ve long known of the importance of incorporating vitamin C in our diets to help our bodies heal and absorb iron, but recently this powerful little antioxidant has become a rising star in skin care. While I’d like to think it’s because of vitamin C’s association with cheerful citrus fruits, plastic surgeon and owner of Toronto’s SpaMedica Dr. Stephen Mulholland tells me it has more to do with its inherent skin-plumping properties.

“Our medical aestheticians will tell their clients, ‘If you want to look like a twentysomething well into your 30s and even your 40s, commit to using anti-aging vitamin C serum,’” he says. “When medical-grade vitamin C serum is used regularly and in appropriate concentrations and stabilized forms, it will augment the production of collagen and ground substances in the skin leading to a more youthful, rejuvenated look, smoothing fine lines and enhancing the skin’s thickness.”

However, an orange a day is not the way to keep the dermatologist away. To reap the skin beautifying benefits of vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, it must be applied topically. Dr. Mulholland recommends using medical-grade vitamin C in a formula that appeals to you, whether that’s a gel, lotion, serum or cream. “You’ll be using it daily so choose a texture you like,” he says. Be sure to read the label before you buy, as products are available in a range of percentages of vitamin C, with the maximum skin absorption occurring at 20 per cent. “The higher the percentage, the more quickly you should see results,” he says. “If your skin is sensitive or highly reactive you may want to start with a lower-percentage product.”

What to try

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Vivier C E Peptides, $174.50 at Spa Medica ( and through Rodial Vit C Brightening Mask, $110 at Murale ( Dermalogica BioLumin-C Serum, $118 through IMAGES

Dr. Stephen Mulholland recommends Vivier’s vitamin C serum to his clients because of its pharma-grade L-ascorbic acid.

Vivier C E peptides, $174.50 at Spa Medica ( and through

Recommended for use once or twice weekly, this gel mask combines 5 per cent vitamin C with 10 per cent fruit, glycolic and lactic acids to exfoliate and brighten skin.

Rodial Vit C brightening mask, $110 at Murale (

This new serum is designed to help boost skin’s natural defences against environmental aggressors.

Dermalogica biolumin-C serum, $118 through

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