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Vitamin C has been the talk of the town for quite a long time now. Your mom may have encouraged you to drink orange juice every day at breakfast, just for the reported benefits to your health.
In fact, many of you probably reach for vitamin C powders the minute you feel a bug or cold coming on. This is because vitamin C has long been touted as a great crud fighter, integral in keeping your body and immune system healthy and functioning properly.
However, is vitamin C good for skin too? Good question. The truth is that it’s actually pretty fabulous for your skin! This does make sense, considering your skin is your body’s largest organ. It needs all the nutrients it can get to keep itself in tip-top shape, including vitamin C. But why is vitamin C in particular so special? Keep reading, friends.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is one of the most essential nutrients needed by your body, but it’s not naturally produced in the human body. Also known as ascorbic acid, or l-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is necessary for the proper growth, development, and working of numerous functions.
Most importantly, it’s needed for the repair and regeneration of your body’s tissues. However, vitamin C is also known to be immune boosting, protecting against immune system deficiencies, prenatal health issues, cardiovascular diseases, skin issues, and eye diseases.
If that’s not enough, vitamin C is also involved in the enzymatic production of various transmitters. Some research supports the notion that high levels of vitamin C in your blood could be the ideal marker for overall health in humans.
In terms of your skin health, vitamin C is involved in collagen production and wound healing. It also has a unique ability to protect your skin from free radical damage.
The best way to ensure that you meet your everyday quota for vitamin C is to consume a well-balanced and healthy diet. However, you can also keep your levels up through a vitamin C supplement as well.
To target skin issues directly, vitamin C can be applied topically. Indeed, you actually get a much bigger vitamin C boost when it’s applied directly to your skin, as topical application is 20 times more potent than oral consumption. Of course, that doesn’t mean oral vitamin C isn’t helpful for your skin, too -- only that you may see even bigger skin benefits by targeting your problem areas topically.
What are the Benefits of Vitamin C?
Oh, let us count the ways! Honestly, there are benefits that may be too numerous to even count. As research on vitamin C progresses, more and more are being discovered all the time. These days, it’s often touted as a miracle ingredient in brightening skincare products, designed to cater to and potentially solve multiple common skin issues.
Collagen is one of the basic building blocks in your body, making up and holding together your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and yes, your skin. That makes it responsible for everything from wound healing and tissue development, to supporting elasticity and strength in the skin. Essentially, it’s responsible for firm and youthful-looking skin.
However, your body can’t produce collagen without vitamin C. This fact alone makes it an essential nutrient for your skin health. Vitamin C directly affects your DNA and prompts it to produce, regulate, and maintain the optimum amount of collagen in your skin cells.
Free Radical Protection
Vitamin C is arguably one of the best and most effective antioxidants. Antioxidants efficiently protect your skin and body against free radical or oxidative damage (this is why, for example, using antioxidant-rich caffeine for eyes is so effective for reducing dark circles). Free radicals are charged particles that steal the electrons of protein, DNA, and other cell structures, through a process called oxidation.
These free radicals are commonly found anywhere, but are especially found through exposure to UV light and environmental pollutants. If your skin is not protected from free radicals, they can build up and contribute to the development of diseases like cancer, arthritis, and even heart disease. Moreover, oxidative damage can cause the early onset of those visible signs of aging no one wants: fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and dry skin.
Another great benefit to vitamin C is its known ability to inhibit and regulate the production of melanin in your skin. Melanin is a skin pigment that gives the darker color to your hair, eyes, and skin.
Although melanin has been shown to have some benefits––like protecting your skin from UV rays and reducing the risks of skin cancer––melanin can also result in hyperpigmentation, black or brown spots on the skin, and age spots. Vitamin C actually contains an enzyme called tyrosinase that acts as a rate-limiting component in melanin production.
Promotes Cell Turnover
If all of the above isn’t enough to make you do the happy dance, vitamin C is also known to increase cell turnover, especially at wound sites. It acts as a mild exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and promoting the generation of new cells. This increased rate of cell turnover is extremely helpful in cases of sunburn, allowing your skin to heal faster.
Tips for the Topical Application of Vitamin C
Vitamin C can be consumed through food, supplements, and via topical application when you’re looking to obtain the maximum skin benefits. However, topical vitamin C application does require some care and due diligence so that you don’t accidentally go overboard or cause your skin harm.
Read the Label
Before buying any kind of vitamin C serum or skincare product, make sure it is high quality and made with pure, clean ingredients. This can only be determined by reading the labels and checking the concentration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Keep in mind that some serums may be advertised as vitamin C serums but only contain a vitamin C derivative such as ascorbyl palmitate, which is not as effective. Pay attention to what you’re investing in, and make sure they are products that are formulated with your best in mind.
Get the Right Formulation
A serum is the best way to incorporate vitamin C into your routine. A serum allows the l-ascorbic acid to remain stable and effective, and it also absorbs into your skin more easily due to its lightweight formulation.
If you’re wondering how to plump lips naturally, try a vitamin C infused lip treatment that will give your lips the hydration they need to appear fuller-looking.
Check the Concentration
Vitamin C is a strong chemical. Therefore, it should be introduced into your skincare routine with care and caution. It’s best to start with a 10% concentration to see if it suits your skin type. Even more importantly, before applying it directly onto your face, do a patch test somewhere that’s inconspicuous first. Once your skin has some time to become acquainted with a 10% concentration, you can move up to a higher 15% or 20% concentration.
Apply Vitamin C in the Morning
Ideally, vitamin C should be applied to your face in the morning, after a proper cleansing. Whether your vitamin C product is in liquid or powdered form, always use it before applying your daily moisturizer and sunscreen.
Give It Time
When you’re working on how to get brighter skin, keep in mind that topical vitamin C application needs some time to work its magic. Generally, vitamin C may take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks before showing any significant changes in your skin.
Pair It Up
Vitamin C can pair really well with other antioxidants, with combinations often maximizing the benefits of both. Vitamin C is known to replenish the stores of vitamin E in your skin and also works very well when paired with ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B.
It’s not uncommon for products and supplements to be sensitive to UV rays, and vitamin C serums are no different. That means it’s essential to package vitamin C serums and other C-enriched skincare products in a tinted bottle before storing them in a cool and dark place.
This is because the sun’s rays can break down vitamin C molecules faster, oxidizing your serums. Once a vitamin C serum turns dark yellow or brown, it’s a sign that it has been oxidized and unfortunately, it can’t be used anymore.
As you can see, there are clearly multiple benefits to this wonder-nutrient called vitamin C. It’s something your body needs in order to function optimally, but it’s also something your skin needs to function optimally too.
The best way to maintain glowing radiant is to nourish your body with essential nutrients, practice a regular skincare routine, and incorporate amazing skincare products designed for your skin type. So is vitamin C right for you and your skin? Only you know the answer to that!