While kadha was considered the powerful immunity-boosting decoction to cure sore throats (if not heartburn and acidity), vitamin C-infused products became a fad for topical application.
“It is true that vitamin C is one of the most potent topical antioxidants that helps the skin’s natural regeneration process by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin,” says Dr. SC Bharija, Chairman of the Department of Dermatology from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi.
It’s no wonder, then, that beauty experts, cosmetics manufacturers – and influencers – around the world consider vitamin C to be ideal for cosmetics and topical applications and that the market today is flooded with products. based on vitamin C.
“Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy collagen which protects the skin’s youthful properties and reverses free radical damage. It maintains elasticity and has anti-aging benefits which keep the skin healthy” , explains Shahnaz Husain, CMD of Shahnaz Husain Group.
While people were washing their faces, cleansing, toning, applying dollops of serum and creams from small colored bottles (a different one for night and day), what remained constant in these bottles was a delicate ingredient – vitamin C.
The lockdown has given everyone more time to seek out self-care products and vitamin C has overtaken them all. Social media and digital influencers have only added to the excitement. The trend has not been lost on cosmetics and skincare brands who have not only added products to their existing range, but launched a full line of vitamin C products. Day creams and from night to serums, toners, face washes, scrubs, body washes and sunscreens, consumers were spoiled for choice.
Local Ayurvedic brand Biotique likes to call itself the first in the segment. “We launched a full range based on consumer knowledge and feedback during the lockdown,” says chairman Vinita Jain. The company’s vitamin C serums and cleansers are its top sellers. The figures highlight the increase in sales. “Our vitamin C line, which includes moisturizers, toning scrubs and serums, does 40% better than other lines,” says Jain. The company plans to launch body washes and vitamin C scrubs in the coming months.
Biotique uses not only lemon, but also Indian gooseberry (amla), grape and orange as a source of vitamin C.
Premium herbal brand Lotus Herbals boasts of having multiple brands, each offering their own variations of vitamin C products. are doing exceptionally well,” said Nitin Passi, Chairman and CEO.
And even though lemon prices are skyrocketing, that hasn’t stopped local businesses from adding lemon zest to their new product offerings. “For our recently launched vitamin C face wash, serums and creams, we use yuzu lemon which has a very high potency of vitamin C,” says Passi. Lotus Herbals also offers a whole ‘Ikkai’ range dedicated to Vitamin C.
For global brands operating in India, vitamin C remains key to their business. “Our vitamin C ingredient, camu camu berry, is much milder because it is naturally derived. We have a whole range of daily use as well as specialist products in the category. 8% to our business in India,” says Antara Kundu, Deputy Managing Director – South Asia, Marketing, Brand and Customer Acquisition, The Body Shop.
Although touted as a miracle ingredient, maintaining the potency of bioactive ingredients remains a challenge for most manufacturers.
“We use the sophisticated supercritical extraction method which ensures that the bioactive ingredients are at the correct concentration and the biochemical properties of the ingredient do not change,” adds Passi. The company plans to launch an organic version of the Vitamin C line in June.
Wondering why serums and creams come in fancy colored bottles? “That’s because vitamin C breaks down when exposed to light or air. Therefore, dark glass bottles help to maintain its stability and effectiveness,” says Dr. Bharija.
VLCC has banked on consumer insights to enter the space. The company, which recently launched clay masks, face washes, serums and creams in the category, says the purchase of products on the market has far exceeded its expectations. “Pickup and repeat orders have been the fastest among our last 4-5 launches,” says Jayant Khosla, MD and Group Leader, VLCC.
Samir Modi of Colorbar Cosmetics also can’t help but talk about his new Hemp + Vitamin C line. There’s just one problem though. “The whole range is out of stock. We only launched the range last month, but it’s completely sold out as we speak,” says the company’s founder and managing director.
Premium Ayurvedic and herbal brand JustHerbs this week launched its vitamin C line based on the humble Indian berry Amla. “Despite having more than 20 times more vitamin C than oranges, Amla doesn’t really belong among trendy skincare ingredients. As a brand committed to ensuring that the Ayurveda is connecting with the millennial consumer, we thought this would be a great opportunity to popularize Amla given the wave of vitamin C in skincare,” said CEO Arush Chopra.
Summer is also the time when most people can’t tolerate heavier creams and harsh UV rays. A hint of citrus seems to do the magic. “It not only protects against UV rays, maintains healthy collagen, but also reduces hyperpigmentation and evens out skin tones,” says Dr. Kashish Kalra, Department Head, Dermatology, Max Smart Hospital, New Delhi.
But experts add a caveat. Start with a low concentration and increase gradually, ideally on the recommendation of a dermatologist, as sensitive skin can develop allergies. “The natural form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid, so care must be taken to ensure that the cosmetic product does not contain only ascorbic acid, which can make the solution too acidic. This can cause skin irritation. skin in some people. The combination of vitamin C with certain ingredients can lead to skin irritation. Therefore, when using a vitamin C serum, do a patch test and apply a very thin layer to the skin, consisting of just a few drops,” adds Husain.
Whether it’s uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, acne scars, general dullness or sunburn, influencers and beauty brands make vitamin C a panacea for all skin-related problems. But dermatologists believe that the solution is only superficial.
Even though vitamin C serums and creams are touted as the best summer ingredient for sweet, hydrated sin, experts say it’s not a cure-all, and its over-the-counter sales have skyrocketed sales. “Everything an influencer talks about becomes a fad. The benefits of vitamin C are many, but since they come in different concentrations and everyone’s skin is different, ideally a dermatologist should prescribe them. Most people are unaware of the right concentration and carrier needed for their skin type that ensures penetration of skin barriers. Also, as its use makes the skin sensitive to the sun, it should be followed by sunscreen,” adds Dr. Kalra.
In a frantic race to offer new products, experts also point to the lack of standards to authenticate the quality and concentration of the product. “Vitamin C is core to our business in India. However, our cosmetic regulations in India are not as strict as in the rest of the world. There are different potency levels available in the market from 5 to 20%. There are brands that get without listing all the ingredients, vitamin C source or potency level. Customers need to know the exact formulation. Is it suitable for sensitive skin? Will it require sun protection? What should the regimen be? We need to ask ourselves if our industry is doing enough to educate our customers,” said Antara Kundu of The Body Shop.