Vitamin C for skin – Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation and environmental pollutants can accelerate skin aging by degrading
collagen and triggering oxidative stress in the skin.
Not all is lost, however, as the anti-aging benefits of a time-honored remedy used by ancient civilizations to heal their skin can help overcome these undesirable effects. This magical ingredient is none other than vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, found in citrus fruits and some vegetables.
This Vitamin is an essential component in the body’s production of collagen, and a potent antioxidant that can help rejuvenate aged and photo-damaged skin.
A Brief History
Throughout history, this vitamin has been a staple of beauty routines, and women have always found ways to enjoy the anti-aging effects of it on their skin.
In Tibet during the Tang Dynasty, women who wanted to fight the outward signs of premature aging would rub sea buck-thorn on their face and hands. The berries of the sea buckhorn plant yield a deep-colored oil that is a major source of this vitamin.
Centuries ago, Native Americans made a vitamin C-rich paste out of rose petals to moisten and heal their skin. Rose hips, the berry-like fruits that are left behind after a rose dies, contain about 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. It is this high level of vitamin C that gives rose hips, sea buck-thorn, and other fruits their potent skin-rejuvenating powers.
Modern medicine has come to realise why these herbal remedies were so trusted by ancient civilisations. Stroll through the skincare aisle in any supermarket or chemist, and you’ll soon notice there is no shortage of anti-ageing ingredients on the market.
Vitamin C is one of the standout ingredients that, whether included among a mix of ingredients, or available in a concentrated treatment, can treat multiple skin care concerns.
While oral supplementation with vitamin C is important for maintaining one’s overall health, it is not very effective at increasing skin
concentrations of vitamin C because vitamin C is water-soluble, and a great deal of the vitamin C we ingest gets excreted rapidly. The most effective method for replenishing vitamin C in the skin is therefore to go straight to the source, and apply it directly to the skin.
Topical antioxidants produce much higher concentrations in the skin than nutritional supplements. Simply applying vitamin C daily for three days can achieve optimal levels in the skin.
Rejuvenating the skin by constantly replenishing vitamin C stores can therefore help maintain healthy, younger-looking skin, especially as we get older. Here we look at the main benefits of incorporating this powerhouse antioxidant into your daily skincare and beauty routine.
Benefits of Vitamin C for skin
- Collagen production
While this vitamin is an important nutrient for overall health, little reaches the skin when orally ingested. As levels drop in the skin decline with age, replenishing levels directly in the skin can help combat collagen degradation and oxidative stress. When applied topically, this vitamin promotes collagen formation and mitigates the effects of free radicals.
Collagen is a structural support protein that is essential for firm, youthful skin. Overall, the amount of collagen in the skin tends to decline with age, an ongoing process that is accelerated by a number of factors like sunlight, smoking, free radicals, and inflammation.
As the synthesis of new collagen slows down, topical vitamin C is one of the most effective ways to boost collagen synthesis and slow its degradation. Collagen works hand-in-hand with elastin to support the skin. Basically, it supplies the framework that provides form, firmness, and strength to the skin, while elastin is what gives skin its flexibility. Hello, firmer skin.
- Treating effects of ageing and sun damage
Research shows that topical vitamin C provides numerous beneficial effects on aged and photodamaged skin. For instance, one particular study showed that those who topically applied a formulation of ascorbic acid experienced a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles in aged skin after a relatively short time period of 12 weeks.
Another study using topical application of this vitamincream in photoaged patients also showed reduction of facial wrinkles and improvement in the appearance of photoaged skin compared with a control group. Vitamin C can also be used to treat age spots – the dark areas where UV-induced oxidation causes melanin to pool in the upper layers of the skin – and is effective in reducing the appearance of these brown spots.
- 3. Reduce inflammation and irritation from acne
Besides its uses in photorejuvenation, vitamin C has also been shown to be of benefit in patients with acne, both helping to prevent and reduce acne lesions. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C can help your immune system eliminate or reduce inflammation by warding off free radicals. Topical application of vitamin C can also fade post-breakout red marks by improving skin’s natural healing response.
- Increase the effectiveness of your sunscreens and boosts your skin’s defense against UV exposure
Vitamin C limits the damage induced by ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. While vitamin C is not a sunscreen because it does not absorb light in the UVA or UVB spectrum, the antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals.
- Improvements to general appearance
Not only is this vitamin a great natural moisturizer, it also enhances the protective barrier function of the skin. This means your skin can retain more water so it stays smoother and younger-looking for a much longer period of time. It improves firmness and elasticity, visibly tightening saggy areas, and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Other benefits for the rest of the body
Besides its wonderful skin-nourishing effects, this vitamin has also been shown to have beneficial effects for the rest of the body, including: reducing the risk of getting some types of cancer; treating arthritis by reducing inflammation in joints; and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin C’s ability to stimulate collagen production does wonders for the skin. With decades of research around its benefits, vitamin C is a long-established skincare superstar that can help you achieve younger, healthier and more radiant skin.
However, it’s important to note that vitamin C forms are effective in lower concentrations, so don’t get taken in by products that claim that only higher concentrations are beneficial. Ultimately, vitamin C is a powerful ingredient in any skincare routine, and can easily be incorporated into your normal beauty program to improve the brightness, tone, and texture of your skin.
We recommend daily application, combined with a healthy and balanced diet as well as frequent hydration, for optimal results.