What Does Vitamin C Do for Your Skin? Here’s Everything You Need to Know ----- Back

04.11.19 - Knowledge

What Does Vitamin C Do for Your Skin? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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Words by Antoinette Barnardo

Vitamin C — some may consider this potent antioxidant as the motherlode of all vitamins. And they are not off the mark, given the amazing things that vitamin C can do for your skin. 

With its skin-brightening and UV-protecting abilities, this popular skincare ingredient has graced many a celebrity’s beauty routine and comes highly recommended by dermatologists. And that’s not all. Vitamin C is also famous for warding off fine lines and firming up aging skin, which makes it an absolute gem in anti-aging skincare. 

In this post, you will learn about what vitamin C can do for your skin, the foods that contain this potent antioxidant, and the best way to deliver vitamin C to your skin. 

An Overview of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is chemically known as L-enantiomer of ascorbate with a structure consisting of 6 carbon, 8 hydrogen, and 6 oxygen molecules (C6H8O6). It is a water-soluble antioxidant that exists naturally in the dermis and epidermis at high concentrations. However, factors like aging, UV exposure, and smoking can lower the vitamin C levels present in your skin.

Vitamin C is also available in various forms: 

  • L-ascorbic acid (natural or synthetic) 
  • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) 
  • Ascorbyl 6-palmitate
  • Disodium isostearyl 2-0 L-ascorbyl phosphate (VCP-IS-Na)
  • Ascorbic acid 2-sulfate 
  • Tetraisopalmitoyl ascorbic acid 
  • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate

How Does Vitamin C Impact Your Body?

This famous ascorbate can be found in most fruits and vegetables — from brightly colored superfruits like chillies, kiwis, and Kakadu plums to dark, leafy vegetables like mustard spinach. 

As a result, it's not difficult to include vitamin C in your diet to maintain a healthy metabolism rate and immune system. This is an advantage for us since the human body is unable to produce vitamin C. 

As vitamin C is present in many foods, it might be possible to over-consume it. However, there is no need to worry. Your body can handle the excess by excreting it in the urine since vitamin C is water-soluble. 

One thing to note though is that this free radical scavenger does pose a strain on your kidneys. As such, those with kidney conditions should consume vitamin C with care. 

The Benefits of Vitamin C for Your Skin

After knowing how vitamin C impacts your body, let's take a closer look at the skin benefits of vitamin C. 

Collagen Production

Vitamin C is an essential player in collagen production for your skin. 

Research has shown that skin cells in the dermis are dependent on vitamin C for producing collagen. Vitamin C is thus responsible for making the dermis firm and strong. 

Vitamin C also speeds up the deposition of several basement membrane proteins at the dermal-epidermal junction. The dermal-epidermal junction maintains cohesion between the dermis and the epidermis. 

Keratinocytes have also been found to accumulate high levels of vitamin C. Since keratinocytes play an essential role in maintaining your skin’s reaction time to open wounds, vitamin C is able to accelerate the rate of wound recovery. 

To further solidify the importance of vitamin C in wound healing, another study has found that this antioxidant stimulates the growth of the skin barrier and reduces wound contraction during the early stages of skin recovery. 

Ward Off Aging

There are two types of aging your skin experiences: photoaging and chronological aging

Photoaging is affected by UV exposure and your skin’s melanin level — the greater the exposure and melanin content, the higher the degree of photoaging. Photoaging is usually characterized by wrinkles, brown spots, dry skin, and uneven skin tone.

Chronological aging, on the other hand, surfaces as fine lines. 

This is where vitamin C comes in as it has been proven to slow down, prevent, and even reverse the signs of aging. Topical vitamin C stimulates the collagen-producing activity of the skin. Additionally, consistently using a 5% vitamin C cream for six months improves the appearance of photoaged skin

Given that both types of aging are associated with fine lines or wrinkles, vitamin C is hugely beneficial in anti-aging skincare. 

Photoprotection Against Sun Damage

Vitamin C also provides your skin with photoprotection against UV-induced sun damage. Research has shown that a 10% topical vitamin C significantly reduced UVB-induced erythema by 52% and sunburn by 40-60%

And there is also ample evidence that combining vitamin C with other antioxidants can further boost its photoprotective abilities. For instance, pairing vitamin C with vitamin E can reduce chronic sun damage. A triple combination of 15% vitamin C, 1% vitamin E, and 0.5% ferulic acid can enhance the potency of vitamin C by eight times. 

By using a serum or moisturizer with the right cocktail of antioxidants, your skin is guaranteed maximum protection against UV-induced sun damage. On top of that, you can also choose to amp up the effectiveness of your sunscreen by layering the serum or moisturizer underneath it. 

Prevent UV-Induced Pigmentation

Prolonged UV exposure can also trigger skin hyperpigmentation by promoting melanin production. Melanin is a natural pigment present in your skin. At high concentrations, melanin expresses itself as brown spots on the skin. Since vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase, a key enzyme in synthesizing melanin, this effectively lowers the melanin levels in your skin and lightens it. 

Anti-Inflammatory

Vitamin C is the body’s line of defense as it protects cellular proteins and nucleic acids from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals and is detrimental to the skin as it triggers inflammation and skin aging. 

Thankfully, the anti-inflammatory nature of vitamin C helps to combat these effects. Higher vitamin C intake has been linked to lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in the body. As such, vitamin C is a super ingredient for treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

Oral Consumption vs. Topical Application: Which Is Better?

There has long been a debate on the pros and cons of consuming vitamin C orally versus topically applying it. 

Ingesting Vitamin C

Oral consumption increases the vitamin C content in your skin since ascorbic acid bioavailability is equal in both synthetic and natural forms. So it doesn’t matter if you get your daily intake from vitamin C tablets or fresh foods like oranges and broccoli. 

However, this effect is somewhat restricted as the increase will plateau once the vitamin C content in your skin has reached a maximum. This means that even though you can get your daily intake of vitamin C from eating the right fruits and vegetables, there is a limit to the amount of vitamin C absorbed by the skin through food or supplements. 

Applying Vitamin C

On the other hand, topically applying a vitamin C skincare product is more efficient. But one challenge remains: the stability of the form of vitamin C used in the product. Ascorbic acid is the most effective for topical applications but is also the least stable. Ascorbyl palmitate, which is relatively more stable, does not absorb well into the skin. 

As you can see, both methods may lead to varying results due to differences between individuals and product formulations. 

Which Method Is Best for You?

If you are already eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables but still feel that your complexion can be further improved, try applying a vitamin C serum or moisturizer to your skin. 

For topical vitamin C products, check the form of vitamin C used in the ingredient list. Most skincare products tend to use ascorbic acid in their formulations as its efficacy has been widely proven. 

One issue with ascorbic acid is its instability. To prevent this from happening, choose a product with the right packaging that will prevent ascorbic acid from oxidizing. A dark glass bottle is usually your best bet. 

So which method should you choose? Our YORA philosophy advocates for both methods. You will be covered if you use vitamin C as a topical and an ingestible through your diet, or top up with supplements.

Which Foods Contain Vitamin C?

Now that you are aware of the full skin benefits of vitamin C, it’s time to know which foods contain it so you can include them in your diet. 

The following natural botanicals are rich in vitamin C

  • Kakadu plum — 5,300 mg per 100 grams
  • Acerola cherries — 822 mg per 49 grams 
  • Rose hips — 426 mg per 100 grams
  • Blackcurrants — 181 mg per 100 grams 
  • Thyme — 160 mg per 100 grams 

Besides including these superfoods in your diet, it's also possible to include them in your skincare routine. Try looking out for a moisturizer or vitamin C serum that is formulated with these botanicals. 

YORA Refresh Face Mist

If you are in the market for a vitamin C-based skincare product, you might want to take a look at YORA’s Refresh Face Mist which contains the active Superox-C™. 

Superox-CTM is a botanical active ingredient extracted from the Australian Kakadu plum. It's designed to fight free radical-induced skin aging with its topical supply of antioxidants. 

Made with Superox-CTM, the Face Mist protects your skin from extreme weather conditions. You can use it in heated and air-conditioned environments, and during flights to keep your skin hydrated. 

Beauty-From-Within Skin Supplement

If you’re also on the search for an ingestible supplement, look no further than YORA's “beauty-from-within” skin supplement. 

The supplement contains carotenoids from lycopene and vitamin C. These two potent antioxidants provide photoprotection against UVA irradiation. It also contains selenium, biotin, zinc citrate, and silicon for total skin, hair, and nail health.

A Necessity for Good Skin Health

Given the full array of skin benefits outlined here, vitamin C is indisputably one of the most fundamental vitamins for your skin. 

Now that you know how important vitamin C is in achieving good skin health, consider including it in your daily skincare regime. But should you ingest it or apply it topically? Well, who says you have to choose? Get the best of both worlds and treat your skin to each method. Your skin deserves it.

Words by Antoinette Barnardo

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