Vitamin C is a vital and multi-functional ingredient for glowing skin and a radiant complexion. It can assist in helping the skin’s ability to heal itself and minimize scar formation. Normal skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which supports collagen synthesis and antioxidant protection.
As we age, our levels of vitamin C and collagen production decrease. So, if you’ve been on the fence about this key ingredient, here are five very important reasons why it should be included in your skin care routine:
1. VITAMIN C AS AN ANTIOXIDANT
We often hear the term antioxidant being used but what exactly does it mean?
Antioxidants are substances that have the capability to provide protection against oxidative stresses by scavenging free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. I like to think of them as the relative you try to avoid at a family gatherings but you just can’t escape them, they follow you around until they have you cornered. Because of their instability, they can damage other molecules found within our cells like proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.Free radicals are generated through our metabolic processes and accelerate as we age and our defense mechanisms decrease. They're also generated when our skin is exposed to UV radiation, toxins and pollution which leads to accelerated aging as our cellular structures become more prone to damage.
This is where Vitamin C saves the day. It works in two different ways to counteract the damaging effect of free radicals: As an effective scavenger, it provides electrons to neutralize free radicals and it regenerates vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) levels in the skin.
2. VITAMIN C PROMOTES COLLAGEN SYNTHESIS
Collagen and elastin are the primary structural proteins of the dermis that provide strength, support. and elasticity. As we age, collagen and elastin production begin to slow down leading to the first visible signs of skin aging and wrinkle formation. Vitamin C assists in promoting and influencing collagen synthesis as well as creating changes in the collagen molecule aiding the overall appearance and suppleness of the skin. It has the ability in reducing fine lines and wrinkles leaving you with naturally youthful appearing skin.
3. VITAMIN C AND PHOTO PROTECTION
Vitamin C can also reduce photo damage due to its ability to regulate collagen synthesis. On its own, Vitamin C is not a sunscreen. It doesn’t absorb light in the UVA and the UVB spectrum in the same way as a sunscreen can, but it can assist in limiting the damage induced by UVA and UVB rays of the sun due to its antioxidant function.
Topically-applied combinations of vitamin C and vitamin E are more effective in preventing photo damage when they are combined in a formulation.
Vitamin C serum can also help to strengthen your skin, enabling its defense against environmental stressors and agitators.
4. VITAMIN C AS A DEPIGMENTING AGENTVitamin C helps reduce skin discoloration and pigmentation. It’s able to target stubborn skin discolorations like redness, hyperpigmentation, and under-eye circles. Vitamin C helps to brighten the complexion making your skin appear more radiant and healthy.
Melanocytes are found in the epidermis. Their role is to make melanin, the brown pigment that produces our skin color and helps us to tan. It’s produced by the enzyme tyrosinase located in the melanocytes within the stratum basale layer of the skin’s epidermis. When our skin is exposed to the sun, melanin particles cluster and absorb the sun’s rays as they pass through the upper layers of the epidermis forming a protective shield over the keratinocytes.
As we age, our skin is characterized by hyperpigmentation or age spots where the skin appears darker in color in comparison with the normal surrounding skin. This occurs when an excess of melanin forms deposits in the skin. They are most frequently found on the backs of the hands and the face.
Topically-applied vitamin C has the cosmetic effect of fading of dark spots and brightening the skin. When combined with licorice root, it has an even greater effect on reducing the visible signs of hyperpigmentation.
5. VITAMIN C AND DRY SKIN
The effects of vitamin C on skin dryness are still unclear. Some research suggests that vitamin C influences trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) as it enhances the production of barrier lipids and natural moisturizing factor of the stratum corneum. Studies have also suggested that topical application of Vitamin C may result in decreased skin roughness.