10 Surprising Uses for Vitamin C
We’ve all taken Vitamin C supplements to take care of colds and flus, but this clever little vitamin can do much more than keeping sniffles at bay. Take a closer look at some of the more surprising ways you can use Vitamin C.
Make Your Skin Look Younger and More Radiant
Environmental factors like the sun’s rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, and stress can do a number on your skin. These harmful influences can cause unstable molecules known as free radicals to develop. These free radicals have been known to damage your skin’s DNA, lipids, and proteins, causing your skin’s cells to die. Thankfully, Vitamin C can help protect and reverse the damage of these atmospheric nasties. The vitamin provides powerful antioxidant protection, forming a barrier that blocks the skin from all of these forces that could make you appear old before your time.
Based on a a recent study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, Vitamin C has also been proven to boost collagen production. Think of collagen as a support system for your skin, propping it up and keeping it feeling smooth and looking youthful. Your collagen levels naturally drop as you age, leading to loss of firmness and wrinkles. However, if you use a Vitamin C-enriched skin care product, you’ll enjoy firmer, more toned skin.
In addition, you don’t need a lot of Vitamin C to notice a difference in your skin. According to researchers from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, concentrations of Vitamin C as low as 0.6% percent can provide powerful antioxidant and anti-aging benefits. Skin care experts also say an anti-aging skin care product should contain no more than 20% Vitamin C. Check the packaging of skin care products claiming to contain Vitamin C to ensure the quantity is sufficient.
It’s important to note that gorging on citrus fruits won’t help your skin in the same way. Studies show ingested Vitamin C cannot deliver enough Vitamin C to the skin to improve skin quality. In fact, applying a topical product like a Vitamin C serum directly to the skin has been proven to be 20 times more effective than ingesting the vitamin. Apply your Vitamin C serum daily for just three days and you’ll start to see incredible results!
Moisturize Dry Skin
Modern science has yet to prove Vitamin C’s impact on treating dry skin, but there has been some compelling evidence to suggest it’s ability to boost moisture levels. Studies show ascorbic acid, a powerful form of Vitamin C, may inhibit the loss of moisture from the skin. Cell culture models have also found adding Vitamin C to skin promotes the synthesis of oils on the skin, which help repair and protect the skin’s natural barrier, preventing hydration and moisture loss.
Vitamin C’s ability to boost collagen production may also make it a great natural moisturizer. Collagen provides the structure for the body’s blood vessels, including the tiny ones that lie just underneath the skin’s surface. These carry the oxygen and nutrients that keep the skin healthy. Without these important elements, your skin will become rough and dry. By stimulating collagen production, topical treatments containing Vitamin C help these blood vessels stay healthy, therefore helping your skin stay moist.
Vitamin C also helps the body produce more elastin. This protein thickens, protects, and heals your skin’s cells. The thickening effect is particularly important for people with dry skin, because it helps the skin retain its moisture.
Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage
We’d never suggest giving up your sunscreen, but Vitamin C’s powerful protective properties shouldn’t be ignored. According to Dermatological Surgery, the official publication for the American Society for Dermatological Surgery, scientific research shows Vitamin C provides photoprotection from damaging UVA and UVB rays, which are both emitted by the sun. It won’t just reduce your risk of getting sunburn but it also inhibits the development of pyrimidine dimers, which are the primary cause of cancerous melanomas. Because of this property, a topical Vitamin C solution can help boost the effectiveness of your broad-spectrum sunscreen and your own defense against sunburn, skin cancer, and the other damaging effects of the sun.
Reduce the Appearance of Problem Skin Conditions
You might think the blemishes and spots on your skin are there to stay but start applying a topical Vitamin C solution and you’ll soon think differently. These solutions help reduce the symptoms of sun damage, including inflamed skin and brown spots. Research from the University of Leicester has shown ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, which is a derivative of vitamin C, actually reverses DNA damage, so you don’t have to live with those sun spots forever! In addition, Daily Mail claims that dermatologists believe Vitamin C is the single best way to fight dark spots on the skin, like freckles and sun spots.
In addition to fighting dark spots and discoloration, Vitamin C is also an effective treatment for irritation and break out prone skin. With its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, Vitamin C will aid in reducing redness and irritation by boosting the skin’s natural defenses. In break out prone skin, Vitamin C will also help decrease post-inflammatory marks and smooth the texture of problematic skin by boosting the skin’s cell turnover rate.
Even Out Your Skin Tone
Vitamin C is a popular treatment for a condition called hyperpigmentation, a skin condition that causes patches of skin to appear darker than others due to excessive production of melanin. The vitamin prevents the production of an enzyme that creates pigmentation, known as tyrosinase, so the skin cannot darken. It also acts on the perifollicular pigment to inhibit darkening of the skin around hair follicles.
You needn’t have a serious skin condition for Vitamin C to benefit your skin tone. The vitamin helps even out the color of any skin for a more appealing look.
Help Your Skin Heal
Vitamin C also boosts the skin’s natural healing response, helping it recover from sunburn, acne breakouts, and other skin irritations more quickly. This makes sense if you think about it, because one of the symptoms of scurvy, a Vitamin C deficiency, is slow recovery from wounds. Vitamin C levels decrease rapidly at the site of a wound but if you apply a topical Vitamin C solution you can reverse this problem. Applying Vitamin C can also help limit the damage of free radicals, which may also inhibit healing.
Grow Longer, More Beautiful Hair
Low Vitamin C levels have been blamed for a number of common hair complaints, including dry hair and split ends. These conditions inhibit hair growth. New shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments enriched with Vitamin C look to reverse the effects.
Those free radicals in the environment also damage our hair by making it weak, thin, and prone to breakage. Just as skin-care products enriched with Vitamin C can protect our skin from free radicals, hair-care products containing Vitamin C can protect our hair from their ill effects.
As you read before, vitamin C stimulates collagen, which is important for the health of your blood vessels. You need your blood pumping freely to create strong, thick hair, so Vitamin C hair products can help improve the look of your locks in this way, too.
Start using these products and you might just have the long, lush mane you’ve always dreamed of. Just remember to massage them into the scalp, as the hair itself is just dead cells.
There’s no point having beautiful long hair if your head is plagued by dandruff and dry skin. Vitamin C-enriched shampoos can help with this too. The vitamin helps eliminate bacteria on the scalp and wards off dandruff. Because Vitamin C has strong antiviral properties, it also helps soothe the dry, itchy scalps that encourage you to scratch off flakes.
Delay Going Gray
It’s probably overstating the point to suggest that using Vitamin C hair products will stop you going gray. However, there is evidence to suggest this clever vitamin can help you retain your hair’s natural pigment. If those gray hairs scare you, it’s probably worth seeing whether Vitamin C enriched hair products can help.
If you’re only using vitamin C to beat colds and flu, you’re not using it to its full potential. With so many surprising uses, everyone should have more vitamin C in their lives.