In short, we can sum up the benefits of vitamin C right here:
- Produces collagen (firms skin and reduces wrinkles)
- Provides UV protection from harmful rays
- Improves the texture and tone of the skin
- Prevents and actively fades dark spots
- Fights free radical damage (i.e.: cigarette smoke, household chemicals, environmental toxins)
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant found in our skin. It’s part of a synergistic group of chemicals that exist to protect the skin from free radical damage as listed above and overall premature aging. When the skin is exposed to UV light, pollution, toxins and other stressors, Vitamin C protects the skin from oxidative stress. It does this by transferring electrons to neutralize free radicals, which in turn, stops the damage of these molecules in its tracks. Free radicals are harmful because they are an unstable atom which means they bounce around the body looking for other atoms to attach to. If an antioxidant is present, then the antioxidant will bond with those pesky free radicals and prevent them from causing harm.
Vitamin C Fights Hyperpigmentation/Melasma
Hyperpigmentation, or melasma, is one of the most common skin concerns we face as we age. The damage which was done in our younger years starts presenting as we get into our 30’s and 40’s. This is when Vitamin C becomes a very important step in your regime. What we are looking to achieve (science level) is to find a Vitamin C that interrupts the key steps of melanogenesis. The key steps of melanogenesis are interrupted by inhibiting melanin production.
- Melanocyte: Melanin-producing cells
- Melasma: Skin condition usually triggered by hormones resulting in brown patches on the face
- Melanogenesis: When melanocytes produce melanin
- Tyrosinase: Speeds up the production of melanin
- Melanin: A natural pigment responsible for giving skin and hair its color
Vitamin C Promotes Collagen Production
Vitamin C is also essential for collagen production. Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the skin. It’s responsible for keeping skin firm and strong. An abundance of collagen is found in skin until our late 20’s but then begins to deplete as we age, which is one of the ways wrinkles form. This is also why I speak so passionately about liquid collagen as well.
In order for our body to synthesize collagen, the precursor “procollagen” is formed by amino acids. Vitamin C has a key role in the formation of the polypeptide chains which make up procollagen.
Photoaging is damage caused by the sun’s UV exposure. Vitamin C protects the skin from photoaging using an antioxidant mechanism to neutralize free radicals as I mentioned above. When the skin is exposed to UV light, pollution, smoke, toxins and other stressors which cause this damage, Vitamin C protects the skin from this oxidative stress. Vitamin C donates electrons to neutralize the free radicals which stops the destruction.
Vitamin C Reduces Inflamation
Vitamin C is a NFkB inhibitor, which means it plays a key role in the inhibition of inflammation in the body and skin. This is important for inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
Stability VS. Bioavability
THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! The benefits of Vitamin C cannot be achieved if you’re using a form which is not bioavailable to the skin. Bioavailability to the skin is the ability for your skin to utilize Vitamin C to produce the desired benefits I’ve talked about thus far. When applied to the skin, Vitamin C derivatives must change back to ascorbic acid before it can be bioavailable to the skin. One of the main factors to ensure the vitamin c can enter the skin is the ph level. We cannot apply pure Vitamin C straight to the skin. The delivery of vitamin c has everything to do with the way our skin is structured. Our skin at the surface level likes oil so pairing a c with an oil or an “oil loving” ingredient allows for absorption. One of the top sellers on the market is Skin Ceuticals C+E Ferulic Acid. Vitamin E is one of the best oil loving ingredients out there. Both are antioxidants and both work on regenerating skin cells.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Since our topical Vitamin C serums typically don’t go past the dermal layer of our skin, it’s important to get enough through your diet as well. Here are some great ways to incorporate this amazing vitamin.
- Red pepper