Product Review: Naturopathica Vitamin C Revitalizing Complex

Reviews, Skin Care


The ingredients in this formula are effective on their own, but when mixed together they’re synergistic.

Naturopathica Vitamin C Revitalizing Complex ($58, is a combination of antioxidants that are supposed to reduce signs of aging. The individual ingredients have been shown to work well in UV-protection and wrinkle reduction, but many of them are especially effective when put together, as they are in this formula. Their UV-protection is especially effective when layered under a sunscreen.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is used in cosmetics for its ability to scavenge for free radicals, suppress skin pigmentation, decompose melanin, and enhance sun protection (International Journal of Pharmaceuticals). It’s also known for stimulating collagen production, which makes it beneficial for firming skin and wound healing (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

Vitamin C has UV-protective qualities. (Photo credit: WGyuri)

And it’s beneficial for skin in the sun. Vitamin C has been shown to prohibit UVA phototoxic reactions — which cause phtoaging, immunosuppression, photocarcinogenesis, and more — in porcine skin. It also increase the otherwise deplete levels of vitamin C after sun exposure (Journal of British Dermatology, Photochemistry and Photobiology). It’s also been shown to stop the damage from UVB exposure (British Journal of Dermatology). Just make sure you’re still layering a sunscreen overtop!

Most beauty products containing vitamin C use L-ascoric acid, which has been shown to be beneficial but isn’t stable when exposed to light, heat, or air. This product uses ascorbic acid polypeptide, which they claim is more stable, along with ascorbyl palmitate, which has been found to be more stable (Naturopathica, Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis).

[Read More: Spotlight On: Vitamin C]

Vitamin E

Vitamin E redux
VItamin E works well when combined with vitamin C. (Photo credit: selva)

Vitamin C works particularly well when paired with vitamin E because they have a synergistic relationship (Cosmetic Dermatology). Essentially, when an antioxidant is depleted, it can borrow an electron from the other antioxidant and vice versa. And they aid each other in UV protection. Whereas vitamin C works better against UVA rays, vitamin E works better against UVB rays (Acta Dermato-Venereologica). I know I already said it, but just remember these benefits come when you layer vitamin C and E under a sunscreen.

In addition to the sun protection, vitamin E is a fantastic antioxidant. In one study of antioxidants, it had an EPF (environmental protection factor) of 80 (Cosmetic Dermatology). The only other antioxidant to beat it was idobenone with an EPF of 95 (though coffee berry wasn’t included). This kind of oxidative protection has a beneficial effect on skin barrier function, which is very sensitive to environmentally-caused oxidation (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology).

It also works synergistically with vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) by absorbing the radiation most damaging to skin (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology).

[Read More: Spotlight On: Vitamin E]

Oat Beta Glucan

English: Rolled oats Español: Copos de avena
Oat Beta Glucan has a large molecule but has still been found effective at penetrating the skin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oat Beta Glucan has quite a few effects on your skin. It includes 60-64% polysaccharides, lipids, enzymes, saponins, prostaglandin synthetic inhibitors, vitamins, and flavonoids that benefit skin.

They activate macrophage cells — a type of phagocyte (a cell that absorbs bacteria) — and stimulate their skin-protect qualities. This make Oat Beta Glucan helpful in wound healing and bacteria reduction (Cosmetic Dermatology). Oat Beta Glucan has also been found to have photoprotective qualities — just be sure to wear a sunscreen overtop to really make the most of it. Despite the fact that Oat Beta Glucan is a large molecule, it’s able to penetrate the skin deeply and work to restructure the tissue to have beneficial effects on wrinkles in studies (International Journal of Cosmetic Science).

Personal Use and Opinion

Naturopathica Vitamin C Revitalizing Complex has a floral-citrus scent and absorbed into the skin quickly, without leaving behind any oiliness. It was easy to layer under my sunscreen, which is good because sunscreen is crucial to using this product effectively. I’m glad to see that though the bottle appears to be clear, it’s actually opaque, which keeps the formula from being exposed to light. However, they don’t use any preservatives (they do have the right kind of packaging though).

Bottom Line

Vitamin C, E, A and Oat Beta Glucan make Naturopathica Vitamin C Revitalizing Complex very beneficial to skin. The combination of ingredients is most beneficial for healing and UV-protection, some crucial things for healthy skin. It comes in opaque packaging and has a pump, which should keep the product from deteriorating, but there aren’t any preservatives, so while they’ve taken steps to limit bacteria-growth, there’s still potential for it to happen, which is something to keep in mind. Also, if you’re using a retinol, it’s not optimal to use with acids, so the best way to use the two together optimally is to use retinol and a vitamin C complex during the day. Overall, it’s an effective product — just be sure to wear sunscreen overtop!

Product Rating: 8.5/10

  • High or optimized concentration of proven effective ingredients: 3/3
  • Unique formulation or new technology: 2.5/3
  • Value: 3/3
  • Sunscreen: 0/1

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  • Erica


    Can you sort out Obagi’s claims re: their Vit C serum. They seems to contradict what you say about L-ascorbic acid.

    You say “Most beauty products containing vitamin C use L-ascoric acid, which has been shown to be beneficial but isn’t stable when exposed to light, heat, or air. This product uses ascorbic acid polypeptide, which they claim is more stable, along with ascorbyl palmitate,…”

    They say:
    “Obagi Professional-C Serum 20% is formulated with 20% L-ascorbic acid, the only form of vitamin C suitable for topical application. L-ascorbic acid reaches the deepest layers to the skin to provide superior antioxidant protection, defend against damaging UVA and UVB sun rays, contribute to collagen synthesis and help prevent premature signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.”


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