Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is fantastic for the skin and is 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
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.
How Vitamin C Helps The Skin
The most effective method for replenishing vitamin C in the skin is to 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.
- Treating effects of ageing and sun damage
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 vitamin cream 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.
- Collagen production
While this vitamin is an important nutrient for overall health, little reaches the skin when orally ingested.
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.
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.
- Reduce inflammation and irritation from acne
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.