Vitamin C: we’ve moved on from the days of associating it with the common cold.
Nowadays, it’s the secret behind radiant skin. But what are the benefits of this vitamin that make it such a popular skincare ingredient? Discover these seven key facts about vitamin C in skincare and beyond.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Oranges aren’t the best source of vitamin C
- 2 2. You need it in your diet (and your skincare)
- 3 3. It’s a powerful antioxidant
- 4 4. It can support skin’s collagen production
- 5 5. It’s a brightening powerhouse
- 6 6. Not all vitamin C products are created equal
- 7 7. There are many forms of vitamin C
1. Oranges aren’t the best source of vitamin C
Although Florida’s best contain quite a bit of vitamin C, they’re not at the top of the list. Oranges contain 50mg for every 100g, while other foods like blackcurrants (177mg), raw red bell pepper (139 mg), kiwi (92.7mg), and strawberries (58.8mg) contain much more.
But what does that have to do with your skin? The American Academy of Dermatology sums it up, “Nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are good for your whole body, and that includes your skin.” Stick to a fresh, seasonal diet that’s rich in raw, colorful produce, and you can’t go wrong.
Read more: the most nutrient dense foods in the world
2. You need it in your diet (and your skincare)
Super C is a crucial part of your diet, helping to support your immune system. But when it comes to your skin, you might want to apply topical vitamin C skincare products on top of adding it to your diet.
Topically, it’s directly absorbed by your skin. Meanwhile, the vitamin C you eat is shared between various different organs. What’s more: your body only absorbs a certain amount of the vitamin C you eat.
3. It’s a powerful antioxidant
As the name suggests, antioxidants (like vitamin C) help block oxidative stress. Normally our body can fight off oxidative stress through its own antioxidant defenses. But sometimes, free radicals (from pollution, too much sun exposure, etc.) overpower our body and trigger oxidative stress. And that can impact the different layers of the skin. What’s the damage? Visible signs of skin aging.
But there’s good news! Vitamin C applied topically can help boost your body’s antioxidant-generating capacity or help to neutralize free radicals in the skin.
4. It can support skin’s collagen production
Topical vitamin C lends a hand to your skin’s natural production of collagen — the action that keeps skin taut and smooth. That’s why vitamin C is often found in products for aging skin: they help improve skin firmness and elasticity.
5. It’s a brightening powerhouse
It’s this skin superhero’s most well-known benefit — a gentle glow that makes your complexion look fresh.
Vitamin C brightens up dullness due to the natural skin aging process or external factors like tobacco smoke and pollution. Routine use can also help minimize the look of sun spots and even out your skin tone. How? Thanks to the way it helps decrease the appearance of dark spots, it encourages a brighter, more unified skin tone.
6. Not all vitamin C products are created equal
The higher the concentration of vitamin C, the more powerful the product? Depends. Concentrations of 20% and up can have an oxidative effect — the exact opposite of what we’re looking for (which is an antioxidative effect). The ideal vitamin C concentration range for a rejuvenating effect is between 5 and 15%.
7. There are many forms of vitamin C
Ascorbic acid is the purest form of vitamin C. Other forms to look for include ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl glucoside, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. You might see these when checking the label of your vitamin C serum or other products.
To sum things up, vitamin C is an ingredient with three key functions: antioxidant, rejuvenating, and brightening. It can be used in your regimen year-round and is a great place to start for healthy, glowing skin. And our favorite closing note: remember to wear sunscreen every day.
What did you think of these vitamin C facts? Leave us a comment below and let us know.
Pinnell SR, Yang H, Omar M, Monteiro-Riviere N, DeBuys HV, Walker LC, Wang Y, Levine M. Topical L-ascorbic acid: percutaneous absorption studies. Dermatol Surg. 2001 Feb;27(2):137-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2001.00264.x. PMID: 11207686.