SKIN SERIES | The Ins and Outs of Vitamin C

SKIN SERIES | The Ins and Outs of Vitamin C

As far as I'm concerned, Vitamin C is the ultimate weapon in the war against wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis, provides protection from UV rays, lightens dark spots, and fights inflammation (including our very favorite form of inflammation - acne)[1]. You might be curious as to how Vitamin C accomplishes these hefty tasks. I know I was. (If chemistry makes you nauseous, feel free to skip to the end of this post.) Vitamin C plays multiple, critical roles in the synthesis of collagen - first, it aids in forming the polypeptide chains that make up collagen's precursor, procollagen, and second, it acts as a cofactor (a molecule that assists in biochemical transformations) for the enzymes responsible for converting procollagen to collagen. This means that Vitamin C is necessary every step of the way in collagen formation. More collagen means stronger, firmer, more youthful skin.

Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons just looking to cause trouble (i.e. cellular damage). Luckily, Vitamin C is an electron donor that is more than happy to pair up with wayward free radicals. Fewer free radicals mean fewer fines lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin C's antioxidant activity also helps to reduce acne by preventing the oxidation of sebum. Oxidative damage lowers the oxygen content in sebum, which allows acne bacteria to thrive (acne bacteria love oxygen depleted environments).

Last, but certainly not least, Vitamin C lightens surface pigmentation caused by UV damage. UV damage causes melanin to pool in the upper layers of skin and Vitamin C has the remarkable ability to decrease melanin content. This lightening effect promotes a more even, luminous tone. Even skin tone is a hallmark of youth! But the key to reaping these benefits is not to eat more oranges; the key is topical application of Vitamin C. Topical Vitamin C is 20 times more effective than oral ingestion. (Vitamin C is water-soluble so most of what we consume is excreted through our urine.) But choose your topical preparations wisely – the gold standard, l-ascorbic acid, is quickly oxidized so packaging that reduces exposure to air is really, really important.

I recommend applying your Vitamin C serum in the morning, under your moisturizer and sunscreen.

Here are a few of my favorites:

(1)    Marie Veronique Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum
(2)    Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
(3)    Ursa Major Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum

If you are feeling completely overwhelmed and unsure of where to start when it comes to skin care, book a session. I’m here to help!!