Vitamin C is an essential (water-soluble) vitamin, meaning that your body can’t store it. You need Vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin. This is why Vitamin C is a great anti-wrinkle ingredient! Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, along with Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and many other plant-based nutrients. Antioxidants block some of the damage caused by free radicals. The build-up of free radicals over time may be largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of health conditions such as cancer. Smoking cigarettes lowers the amount of Vitamin C in the body, so smokers are at a higher risk of deficiency.
Vitamin C benefits to your skin include:
- Protecting skin cells and skin’s support structure from UV-related damage
- Improving the appearance of sun-damaged skin
- Strengthening skin’s barrier response
- Reducing inflammation
- Promoting collagen production
- Enhancing effectiveness of peels and microdermabrasion
- Lessening hyperpigmentation
- Boosting the efficacy of sunscreen actives
A piggy-back ride to skincare fame…
Almost 20 years ago, a Duke University scholar published a ground-breaking paper that showed how a form of Vitamin C called L-ascorbic acid reduced UVB damage when applied to the backs of hairless pigs (yeah…I know). This evidence suggested that photodamage or “sun spots” could be repaired with topical use of Vitamin C—and that was big news for anyone concerned with signs of aging! That original paper preceded an impressive and conclusive body of research that has since proven the benefits, stability issues, and usage requirements for Vitamin C. Further extensive research continued to show Vitamin C’s positive effect on skin, and a bonafide, legitimate skincare craze was born! From its humble beginnings atop the backs of hairless pigs to the countless studies and research that followed, Vitamin C has definitely been shown to be a powerful antioxidant. In her peer-reviewed article “Topical Vitamin C” Dr. Patricia Farris nicely sums up how conclusive research supports the positive effects of Vitamin C, stating, “A significant body of scientific research supports the use of cosmeceuticals containing Vitamin C. Cutaneous benefits include promoting collagen synthesis, photoprotection from Ultraviolet A and B, lightening hyperpigmentation, and improvement of a variety of inflammatory dermatoses.” With the added bonus of carrying a low risk of sensitization (at levels below 10%), Vitamin C is a proven, beneficial addition to your skin care regimen.