As a child, you most likely grew up being told to take Vitamin C to avoid colds and the flu. Research today shows that taking enough Vitamin C is not as helpful in preventing the sniffles as we had thought, but a growing body of research shows that Vitamin C is exactly what your skin needs to stay healthy.
Saving Sailors from Scurvy
The first benefits of Vitamin C were unearthed by British sailors, trying to find a cure to the ulcers, bleeding under the skin and joint weakness associated with the then-deadly disease called scurvy in the 18th century. Other symptoms of scurvy include lethargy, drastically pale skin and spots on the legs and thighs. Sailors who did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables were more likely suffer from this disease than sailors who did. It was later discovered that the primary cause of scurvy is a deficiency of Vitamin C in the diet. Since then, Vitamin C has been lauded as an important nutrient to include in a healthy diet.
Vitamin C Benefits
Vitamin C has a wealth of health benefits. It is water soluble, which means that it is able to be quickly absorbed into your body. However, your body doesn’t store Vitamin C, which means you must supply your body with Vitamin C every day. To ensure you are getting the daily required amount of Vitamin C, you should eat at least nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. That is roughly two cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables day in and day out! Citrus fruits, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, collard greens and tomatoes are only some of the many fruits and vegetables that can help. You can also take one 500 mg Vitamin C supplement a day to meet this crucial quota. Other health benefits include reducing the risk of heart disease and reduced risk of stroke (WebMD). According to Women’s Health Magazine, Vitamin C promotes healthy hair and helps prevent the occurrence of hangnails (torn pieces of skin hanging next nails or toenails). Vitamin C is also extremely beneficial to your skin because of its quick absorbency. Applying Vitamin C to the skin is twenty times more effective than taking a supplement, which is great news for your skin’s health (Life Extension Magazine).
1) Protects Skin from Effects of Aging
Vitamin C can encourage collagen growth because it is an essential nutrient for the synthesis of collagen. Collagen helps keep skin firm and strong as one of the most abundant proteins in the skin. Collagen is a very complex protein and every step of its formation requires Vitamin C, so applying Vitamin C to the skin will ensure the optimum amount is being delivered. Vitamin C also works to slow degradation of existing collagen. By encouraging collagen production and slowing its degradation, Vitamin C effectively fights against wrinkles and fine lines. For the very best anti-aging benefits, apply Vitamin C directly to the face once a day.
2) Helps Heal Damaged Tissue
Our bodies use Vitamin C to repair damaged skin tissue, which helps to heal wounds more quickly. In particular, Vitamin C works to encourage the production of collagen over wounds. Scar tissue that is paler than usual means that there isn’t enough Vitamin C in the skin to speed the healing process. Vitamin C has also not only been shown to drastically improve the appearance of acne scars, but also is useful to reduce the size of scars all over the body. In addition, Vitamin C works to prevent scars from forming by strengthening the skin, which in turn also reduces irritation and inflammation caused by developing scars. Ingestion of Vitamin C supplements or foods help reduce the scars as well, but for boosted results, we recommend spot treatments of Vitamin C directly on the skin.
3) Aids Vitamin E Regeneration
Vitamin C is known to be the primary agent behind the regeneration of Vitamin E, another antioxidant agent that helps fight against free radicals. Vitamin E, like Vitamin C, isn’t stored in the body. However, Vitamin E has a unique relationship with Vitamin C that allows it to reactivate as soon as Vitamin C takes an electron away from it. Methods of maintaining a healthy amount of Vitamin E in your diet include taking dietary supplements or through eating foods high in Vitamin E such as vegetable oils and nuts. Both antioxidants work together to reduce free radical damage. Vitamin C also works well with a variety of different skin care nutrients, such as Vitamin A, B, selenium and Hyaluronic Acid, which all work together to nourish your skin and improve skin quality.
4) Provides Strong Antioxidant Power
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals that we encounter on a daily basis. Free radicals are atoms with an odd number of electrons formed as a result of oxidation (when oxygen interacts with the skin). Free radicals are highly reactive and are responsible for much of the damage to our skin as we age. Vitamin C also provides some UV protection, although you still need sunscreen to be completely protected from the sun. For best results, wear sunscreen over a Vitamin C serum or moisturizer to get ultimate antioxidant protection and help minimize sun damage.
5) Reduces Discoloration
Vitamin C is effective in reducing discoloration in the skin that occurs as a result of extensive sun exposure. Vitamin C works to do this by slowing the production of melanin, the chemical responsible for sun spots or any unevenness in skin tone. You can combine red or green tea extracts with Vitamin C to enhance the skin for a radiant glow. For best results, it is recommended that you apply Vitamin C topically overnight to reduce discoloration over time.
It’s clear that Vitamin C is a powerful nutrient that can keep your skin looking its best.
Historically, it has been used to cure life-threatening diseases such as scurvy, which affected the health of the entire body. In addition to being essential for the overall health of the body, it is an essential nutrient for your skin because of its skin regenerating and protective abilities as a powerful antioxidant. Though its benefits to your diet are great, Vitamin C works twice as effectively when applied as part of your daily skin care routine. Many of our skin care products contain this incredible antioxidant. This wondrous nutrient works with other antioxidants to protect your skin and keep your skin radiant and youthful.
Written By: Maria Carrillo