Vitamin C is probably already a fixture in your anti cold and flu arsenal, but did you know that antioxidant vitamin C has incredible skin care benefits as well? In the body vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate) is an essential building block of collagen, a protein that aids in cellular growth and supports healthy blood vessels, and also gives skin its firmness and elasticity. Over time, free radicals and slower cellular activity cause our skin to show signs of aging such as a dull complexion, increased dryness, and the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
Although it is one of the most commonly found nutrients in healthy skin, essential vitamin C levels are easily depleted by exposure to everyday culprits such as pollution, sun exposure, and smoking (but you don’t smoke, do you, darlings? We hope not!) Part of the reason is because C is a water soluble nutrient, and when only taken internally or in small doses, much of it is excreted before it can reach the skin or used by other bodily systems to fight off free radicals.
According to dermatologist Dr. Karen E. Burke, exposure to the ozone of city pollution can decrease vitamin C levels in the skin up to 55%. Recent research suggests that ascorbic acid not only neutralizes free radicals, but also reverses DNA damage and encourages increased cellular turnover for a fresh, healthy glow.In order to be effective and safe, a vitamin C product should have a concentration between 0.3 – 10% of ascorbic acid, though lately many products have been boasting levels of up to 17 – 20%. It is strongly advised use higher concentration formulas ONLY at night or with sunscreen to prevent sensitization.
Always wear sunblock if you are applying a product with high concentration of vitamin C on freshly exfoliated skin, as it is more vulnerable!
Read what other consumers have to say about a product, and if you have sensitive or problematic skin it is worth it to do your research on a product’s concentration; too high and you risk burning and redness from the high acid content, too low and most of the vitamin C will oxidize out before it has a chance to absorb into the skin and do its work.
In natural skincare products the most common sources of vitamin C are sea buckthorn oil and rosehips, which pack a whopping concentration of 695 mg and 426 mg of ascorbic acid per 100 g of fruit, respectively. Concentrations of over 3%, according to a peer reviewed study by Dr. Patricia K. Farris, are the most effective at eliminating dark spots caused by UVB exposure.
Some vitamin C products we like:
Add vitamin C into your skincare routine, and say “*C* ya later!” to those nagging signs of aging!
Eden Di Bianco is a hair & make up artist, dedicated to cruelty free beauty services on location.