If you only think of Vitamin C when you see citrus fruits then you probably do not know much about this amazing nutrient.
Vitamin C is beneficial for both your health and beauty. On the inside, it is an antioxidant. On the outside, it brightens the skin without changing your complexion.
Eating foods rich in Vitamin C is not going to get your skin all the good it has to offer. The benefits of Vitamin C for skin care are also derived when it is applied topically.
Using Vitamin C in your basic skincare routine is also important because as we grow older, nutrient levels in the body become depleted. Regular exposure to ultraviolet rays also reduces its levels in the skin. This makes the skin look dull and makes you age faster.
Let’s get to know more about this wonder nutrient.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient found in fruits and vegetables. It has been used to optimize healing and to protect the body from environmental stressors. Derivatives such as ascorbic acid and ascorbyl palmitate are used in skincare products. They have proven to be the skin’s best friend, brightening and strengthening it.
What role does Vitamin C play in skincare?
Vitamin C plays a very important role in skin health giving numerous benefits to your skin. These include:
- Boost collagen production
- Provides antioxidants
- Brightens skin
- Increases healing
- Decreases hyperpigmentation
- Reduces wrinkling
- Hydrates skin
How are the different layers of the skin nourished?
To care for our skin, we need to understand its structure and layers.
The skin is your body’s largest organ. Your skin protects your organs and regulates the body’s temperature. Several layers exist within the skin making it possible for it to carry out its important work.
The topmost layer that is exposed to the elements. The epidermis is the only part of our skin we can see with our eyes. Dead skin cells are shed through it. The epidermis determines how much water your body loses and protects you from infection.
The dermis lies underneath the epidermis. Your blood vessels, oil glands, hair follicles and lymph vessels are all nestled in it. Blood moves around the skin through the dermis. This layer is also important because collagen and fibrin are produced here. This means it is responsible for your skin’s strength and elasticity.
The subcutaneous fat layer
The subcutaneous fat layer connects the dermis to the muscles and bones. It stores fat that helps insulate your body, acting as a buffer against the outside.
Now how do nutrients like vitamin C get through to the layers that matter?
Dermal (skin) absorption depends on how thick the outer layer of your skin is. The epidermis is made to keep everything out. But it is not impermeable. It is possible for substances to enter through hair follicles and sweat gland pores.
Others find their way through the corneocytes (an important part of the skin barrier) or through them by diffusion. Hydration levels of the skin also increases the chances of nutrients getting into your skin.
Scientists have been working on ways to get skincare products through the skin. Serums, emollient oils and occlusive ingredients have given the best results so far.
Benefits of Vitamin C for skin nourishment
When Vitamin C gets into your skin, what does it do? All the benefits of Vitamin C in your skincare routine will make a long list but here are the most important ones
1. Provides antioxidants
Antioxidants are important in the fight against free radicals. Free radicals are chemically unstable molecules that are harmful to the skin. They damage collagen and elastin weakening the skin.
Antioxidants prevent this damage and save the skin. Vitamin C is a natural source of antioxidants.
2. Boosts collagen production
Collagen is necessary for thickening the dermis, firming up the skin, and reducing fine lines. Vitamin C increases collagen production because it is essential in the synthesis of two enzymes that make up collagen. Increased collagen production makes the skin cells regenerate faster. This gives you younger looking skin.
Vitamin C is also believed to increase the quality of collagen produced in the skin.
3. Prevents dark spots and hyperpigmentation
Melanin is a good thing for your skin. But it becomes a problem when melanin production goes into overdrive. Melanin overproduction leads to sun spots, melisma, and hyperpigmentation and age spots showing up on your skin.
Adding vitamin C into your skincare regimen inhibits melanin production. Naturally. Its effect is balanced so you do not have to worry about melanin not being enough either. Your skin will become even toned and dark spots will fade. This is also helpful if your skin suffers from redness. Vitamin C helps you achieve an even skin tone.
4. Brighter skin
Your chances of having dull skin reduces with the use of vitamin c. The acidity of the nutrient drives the skin to heal itself through the production of collagen and elastin. As a result, older skin cells are placed by new ones giving your skin a bright appearance.
5. Gives the most hydration
Incorporating Vitamin C into your skincare routine will give a boost to your skin’s hydration levels. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is a derivative of Vitamin that has a really long name and great benefits. Its use leads to reduced transepidermal water loss. This means that your skin keeps in more moisture. The end result is well hydrated skin.
6. Erases eye bags
If you have circles under your eyes and want to get rid of them, vitamin c based skincare is just the thing for you. Dryness in the area underneath your eyes causes dark pigmentation.
Vitamin C naturally hydrates the areas below the eyes giving it a bright and plump appearance.
7. Faster healing
Vitamin C has always helped people heal much faster than usual. Your skin can enjoy its healing properties too. Wounds, cuts, scratches and acne scars will all fade away faster when you use vitamin c for skincare.
Is Vitamin C suitable for all skin types?
Vitamin C is suitable for all skin types except sensitive skin. This is because it is naturally occurring nutrient and it is not harsh on the skin like skincare products with chemicals.
If you have very sensitive skin, you should start out by using a product made with tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a stable form of Vitamin C. It is the mildest form of Vitamin C derivatives. Put a little of the product on your skin and watch out for reactions before you continue to use it.
Vitamin C based Skincare products to consider and their use
Vitamin C skincare products vary in form, ingredients and usage.
Skin Care products that contain Vitamin C usually contain a derivative of it. There are more than 5 derivatives from Vitamin C:
- L-ascorbic acid is the most effective of all the derivatives from Vitamin C. It is best for normal to oily skin.
- Ascorbyl palmitate: used in oil based skincare products. It is best for fighting free radical damage.
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate: it is best for dry and sensitive skin.
- Ascorbic Glucosamine: this is a water soluble derivative and helps stop hyperpigmentation.
- Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate: this is Fat soluble and is great for all skin types.
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate: Water soluble. Works on skin brightness and fights free radicals.
Here’s a list of Vitamin C skincare products and the best ways to use them
Serums are the best products for your vitamin C skincare for several reasons.
Serums are easily absorbed by the skin. This is because they are made up of small molecules. They are also occlusive-free (they do not contain ingredients that stop water from evaporating). This makes them lighter, increasing their ability to pass through the skin. This is what makes them more effective than heavier vitamin C skincare products. You should still use a moisturizer to keep the serum from evaporating after applying it.
Serums might prove a little too effective if you have skin conditions like eczema or rosacea that weaken the skin.
2. Body lotions
Vitamin C has also been incorporated into body lotions. This makes it easy to spread its protection and moisture all over the body.
Soaps with vitamin C lighten and hydrate the skin. They also have lovely scents bathing you in soft citrus all day.
One of the best benefits of vitamin C in skincare is moisturized skin. Skincare products with vitamin C hydrate your skin leaving it supple and glowing.
You can mix in some vitamin C into your usual body lotion by using its powder forms. It is claimed that the powder form is less susceptible to oxidation.
These tablets usually contain small amounts of vitamin C serum. They are broken open and mixed into other skincare products to give maximum benefits to the skin.
All said, you should not stop at one mode of treating your skiing with vitamin C. A mix of excellent quality natural, plant based products rich in Ascorbic acid along with dietary changes is recommended for a healthy glowing skin. Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich with this wonder nutrient too. This way you will get the best of vitamin C, inside and out.