The Mini Miracle of Vitamin CBy Emily Chiang | Apr 15, 2021
When it comes to maintaining optimal skin health, there is perhaps no more indispensable active ingredient as vitamin C. This rather basic, un-sexy substance is as indispensable as sunscreen in July (and January, come to think of it!). No healthy skincare routine is complete without it.
As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C is not only essential to skin health, but it’s essential to the rest of the body, too. Did you know that ascorbic acid (the pure form of vitamin C) is required by the body to support multiple structures and functions? According to the Mayo Clinic, it is required in the formation of cartilage, muscle and even collagen in our bones.
In fact, without a steady supply of vitamin C, the human body cannot survive. Yet, in what is perhaps one of the greatest flukes of evolution, our bodies have no means of producing or storing vitamin C on their own. Instead, the nutrient must be absorbed via other means, including through the fruits and vegetables in our daily diet and the application of topical skincare like vitamin C serums, oils and face creams.
Vitamin C’s effects on the skin are nothing short of miraculous – arguably unrivaled by just about any other active ingredients used in even the best anti-aging face creams and serums.
What does vitamin C do for the skin?
On the skin vitamin C delivers vital antioxidant defense, helping to protect our cells against what’s called free radical damage. What are free radicals, exactly? Well, they’re as awful as they may seem. Free radicals are “scavenger molecules” found in cigarette smoke, air pollutants and industrial chemicals – all the bad stuff! And they can have a profound effect on skin health. Free radical damage compromises skin barrier function, accelerates visible signs of aging and can even damage our DNA.
In addition to its antioxidant activity, regular topical use of vitamin C can help to stimulate collagen production, essential to firm, plump, youthful skin. Vitamin C also has a more obvious effect on the skin, visible in the look of the complexion. When used in higher concentrations of 15% or more, it helps to even out and unify skin tone and boosts reflectivity to brighten the appearance of the skin.
One of the most well-researched skincare ingredients, there is ample evidence that while unstable in the presence of light, air, even water, vitamin C loves being paired with other powerful antioxidants, including niacinamide (vitamin B3), ferulic acid, and glutathione. In fact, they make each other work better!
If you’re not using a vitamin C serum or a face cream with a 15% or more concentration, consider incorporating it into your daily skincare routine. Vitamin C gets you glowing!
Carmine is a skincare writer, a skincare junkie and a skincare guru. Through his Skincarma Blog, he uses his insights to demystify skincare.