09 Aug The Power of Vitamin C for Skin Health
Vitamin C is a vitamin that can be obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as derivatives of these, like orange juice. Historically, it was used to treat sailors with scurvy, which is now a rare condition. At present, its main use is treating and preventing the common cold.
Most people think the vitamin automatically refers to ascorbic acid, which is the most common kind, but there are actually more out there. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP), for example, is a water-soluble derivative which is effective in lower concentrations. Ester-C, another example, is a version that contains more Calcium Ascorbate, although it hasn’t gone through much research yet. Ascorbic acid is the best bet, to be honest, since it’s absorbed fastest and has the highest concentration and potency when applied on skin.
Now think of ascorbic acid as a vitamin required to maintain proper development and function of almost all body parts. It’s especially important for the immune system, which tries to combat any danger to health residing in the body.
Vitamin C: an antioxidant that benefits the skin
The immune system isn’t the only front where vitamin C fights its battles. As one of the best antioxidants, the vitamin has a vital role in the formation of collagen, one of the main structural proteins found in connective tissues such as skin. In fact, it’s the most abundant protein in the human body, comprising a third of it and also 75% of skin.
Ascorbic acid is a normal skin constituent, with high levels of it found in both the dermis and epidermis, although it declines as a person ages. Continuous exposure to UV light and pollutants like smoke and ozone can also decrease its levels in the epidermis.
Thankfully, oral supplements of the vitamin can increase these levels. Topical application also ensures that the vitamin crosses the epidermis into the dermal layers underneath it. Basically, whether digested or applied on the skin itself, ascorbic acid can still increase in level and provide lots of benefits for skin health.
Revitalizing damaged skin and reducing signs of aging
One of these benefits is the prevention and treatment of ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage. Ascorbic acid limits and protects against the damage caused by free radicals and exposure to UV rays, and rejuvenates photodamaged skin. In this case, it’s best applied directly on the skin rather than digested orally, since it takes effect faster.
Aside from photoprotection, ascorbic acid also revitalizes aging skin and functions as a redactor of wrinkles, spots, acne marks, and general roughness in the skin, evening out skin tone and leading to better skin appearance. It also decreases risk of dry skin due to its hydrating capabilities as an antioxidant.
This wonder vitamin is especially a must for those who are aging, since its levels in the skin may already be low for those at a more mature age.
Vitamin C in foods vs Vitamin C in skincare products:
Australia is lucky to have a natural source of ascorbic acid in Kakadu plum, or Terminalia ferdinandiana, an almost-cherry-sized fruit which grows from a flowering plant native to Australia.
Australian Government’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation claims that the plum contains the highest level of natural ascorbic acid content of any plant in the world, more than 100 times of that found in oranges. Currently it is used to boost the immune system and—you guessed it—rejuvenate aging skin by reducing wrinkles, acne, and spots.
It isn’t just eaten raw or squeezed into juice. Kakadu plums can also be converted into jams, ice creams, smoothies, yogurts, and even powder flavoring. Like oranges and other citrus fruits, there are many ways to ingest vitamin C, except for this particular plum the content is much higher and packs more of a punch.
However, applying ascorbic acid on the skin, as previously mentioned, is still more capable of combating degradation of collagen and helping maintain firmer and youthful-looking skin. In fact, topical application is proven to be more effective since vitamins are water-soluble and can be excreted quickly.
Ascorbic acid as a nutritional dietary supplement doesn’t really increase concentration in the skin either, since there’s limited active transport mechanisms in the digestive system. That’s why it’s recommended to apply it straight on the skin where it can’t be rubbed or washed off, so it’s guaranteed to replenish the skin fast.
Another reason is that direct application to the skin is proven to be 20 times more effective than ingesting the vitamin orally. Studies show that after three days of religious application, the effects of the ascorbic acid can already be seen with high levels of it healing and cleansing the skin. It can also benefit patients with acne problems, as it can reduce and prevent acne scars and lesions, small cuts, and other blemishes within a week.
How to use skincare products with vitamins:
Anti-aging Serum is a good alternative to ingesting ascorbic acid, since it’s a skincare product that can be directly applied to skin after cleansing but before moisturizing. It’s effective because it can deliver a high concentration of any given powerful ingredient directly into the skin. This particular type of product can do this because it’s composed of smaller molecules able to penetrate deeply into skin.
The downside to serum, however, is that it can be on the pricier side, which can be justified by its highly potent and concentrated vitamin make-up. For those with sensitive skin, it’s not a recommended solution though, because it will tend to irritate. In that case, it may be better to stick to a vitamin C cleanser, which still focuses on skin tone and texture, or even a anti aging cream.
Recently, a study observed photoaged patients who applied the vitamin to their skin in cream form for six months. The results showed that it performs quite well, with a significant reduction of wrinkles and a great improvement in the appearance of the skin.
For any kind of skincare product, however, there is a storage issue that comes with any concoction containing vitamins. It’s important to note that antioxidants like ascorbic acid are vulnerable to the elements, so this particular vitamin must be kept as unexposed from air and light as possible.
All skincare products containing this vitamin should be well-packaged, perhaps in opaque tubes, pump containers, or airtight bottles. This ensures that the ingredients are still stable while the product is regularly being used. It’s also wise to purchase small bottles to ensure that all of the product is used before expiration.
A must to absorb on a daily basis:
Besides stave off scurvy and keep the immune system running strong, vitamin C helps skin stay flexible, firm, and youthful, thanks to its antioxidant properties and ability to produce collagen. That’s why it’s highly recommended to take in this vitamin every day to ensure that the body—and of course the skin—never runs out.
Not only is it a healing vitamin, but through your skin, it also makes you feel good about how you look. The body can appear resilient and tough, but it still needs help every now and then, and what better supplement can one enlist than vitamin C?