Vitamin C is one of the most important ingredients to include in your diet and your skin care regimen because it is essential to keep our bodies and skin healthy. It can’t be produced in the body and this means that it has to be always consumed in a diet or through supplements in order to maintain the healthy recommended amount. At the same time it has a short activity and this means that you need to keep on providing your body with enough amount of Vitamin C to ensure that you stay healthy.
What are the key benefits of Vitamin C?
- Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and this means that it fights the free radicals in the body that cause cells to get old and can lead to cells mutations that are highly connected to cancer.
- It increases the production of collagen which means that your skin will stay flexible and look young.
- It reduces pigmentation in the skin that leads to the formation of discolorations and dark skin patches.
- It is an anti-inflammatory and this is one of the reasons why it is very popular in anti-acne products.
The many roles of Vitamin C:
Most of the time Vitamin C plays a role in building and strengthening connective tissues and vascular tissues. Connective tissues like collagen maintain the flexibility and the elasticity of the skin. This means that the skin will stay looking tight and taut. At the same, it improves the health of vascular tissues that make up the different blood vessels. This means that there will be more food and oxygen supply to your different organs including your skin. By the same token, lack of Vitamin C will prevent wound healing and will lead to aging symptoms because the skin is not well nourished. At the same time, Vitamin C plays a significant role in the processing of folic acid and different hormones in the body.
Vitamin C in skin care:
Many potent skin care products would contain the recommended amounts of Vitamin C because it has a positive effect in improving the health of your skin and it also helps to fight off inflammation that can cause breakouts and acne. Vitamin C helps the skin to avoid the serious side effects of sun exposure especially if it is included in the products applied before and after you spend time in the sun.
Vitamin C also boosts the formation of collagen in the body. Collagen needs high levels of vitamin C and iron in order to create healthy tissue that would allow the skin to stay flexible and young. At the same time without Vitamin C the collagen in the body will start to form abnormal tissues that can lead to the formation of skin lesions and fragile skin that looks dull and unhealthy.
Vitamin C is a natural skin brighter. While it doesn’t turn your skin clear & radiant, it effectively inhibits the formation of melanin. Melanin is the substance that causes dark spots, discoloration and freckles in your skin. All skin tones except albinos will have a degree of melanin. When the skin is irritated in any way it can start to produce melanin excessively which causes hyperpigmentation and the formation of dark spots that can make your skin look bad.
Vitamin C works with vitamin E to fight off free radicals. After fighting off one free radical, a molecule of vitamin E will become ineffective. Vitamin C will boost its effectiveness enabling it to fight off more free radicals. That is why most anti-aging products would contain Vitamin E and Vitamin C together.
Vitamin C in serums have a natural exfoliating benefit. It doesn’t exfoliate as strong as AHA or BHA products but it will provide a mild exfoliation that would boost the appearance of your skin and make it look brighter and cleaner.
It is a natural anti-inflammatory that will help the condition of acne or any skin inflammation. It also helps with the synthesis of ceramide which is a key factor in creating a defensive skin barrier and will help the condition of dry skin.
Forms of Vitamin C:
There are a lot of forms of vitamin C and you must choose the one that is best for your skin type and condition or it can lead to serious skin irritation initially when formulated at strong concentrations in serums with low pH
Pure Vitamin C or ascorbic acid can be found in most of skin care products sometimes called L-absorbic acid where the “L” indicates the chirality of the vitamin’s molecule. This is a water soluble acid and it is what helps in the formation of the collagen inside the cells.
However, it is more common to see salt forms or esters forms of Absorbic acid. Salts will be water soluble while esters are oil soluble.
Which form should you use?
The pure form of Vitamin C oxidizes really fast and this means that it will start producing free radicals instead of preventing their harmful effects. In order to be stabilized and to increase its shelf life it is packaged in liposomes. Sometimes it is packaged in a 2 chamber container and only becomes active only when mixed with the other ingredients. It can be also formulated with a silicon base or get bound to another molecule in order to decrease the level of irritation and improve its penetrative properties.
Because Vitamin C can be really irritating, it is not recommended to use on irritated or thinning skin as it can lead to further inflammation.
The best form of Vitamin C is probably the THDA which penetrates the lipid layer and stays in the skin. It has great benefits as an anti-oxidant and will stay stable for more than 2 years. MAP is another stable form of Vitamin C. Both of these forms are more effective than the other forms of Vitamin C and this is why they are more expensive.
Vitamin C tips:
- Vitamin C oxidizes by sunlight. This means that it should be stored in dark containers in a cool dry place.
- If your vitamin C product has turned colour and became brownish then you should throw it away. This means that it has been oxidised and will cause more harm to your skin than benefits.
- If your skin is not so sensitive then you can use Vitamin C products especially at night. It should be applied under a moisturiser.