Crazy weather and flu season usually sends us sprinting to our nearest pharmacy to stock up on vitamin C in hopes of strengthening our immune system. Aside from boosting our immune system and hearing about collagen production, what else do you really know about vitamin C? What health ailment did sailors endure because they lacked vitamin C and what role does it play in skincare?
Read on to find out!
Who: Vitamin C
What skin conditions it can help: Aging, hyperpigmentation. Sensitive skin may tolerate it at lower percentages or as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
Where it’s found: Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, bell peppers and kiwis.
For topical uses look for: Vitamin C, Vitamin C ester, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
Why it’s important: Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C, which is why it has to be obtained by external sources (i.e. fruits and vegetables or through supplements). Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis which is needed for wound healing, and is also crucial for iron absorption. . It’s required for tissue growth and is a proven antioxidant, fighting free radicals that cause damage to healthy cells and DNA.
How it affects the body and skin: Oral vitamin C is needed to prevent scurvy, a disease which at one time plagued many sailors who only consumed cured and salted meats, and dried grains for extended periods of time. Scurvy has many skin manifestations including fragile skin, gum disease, easy bruising and bloody nail beds. Scurvy is reversed however, by adding vitamin C into the diet either through supplements or fresh citrus fruit.
Topical use of vitamin C results in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes the formation of collagen- important for improved skin texture- and protects the skin from photodamage, also known as UV damage. It can also reduce pigmentation due to its brightening properties.
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