What is Vitamin C ?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for humans. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, since it protects the body against oxidative stress caused by unstable oxygen molecules. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and prevents excessive bleeding. In human body, vitamin C participates in synthesis of collagen, carnitine, and neurotransmitters.
Natural Sources of Vitamin C
Some of the richest natural sources of vitamin C are kakadu plum, camu camu fruit, rosehip and acerola cherry contain the highest concentration of vitamin C. Sea buckthorn, baobab, guava, blackcurrant, parsley, kiwi fruit, broccoli, and goji berry are all important sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is very unstable and when heated it becomes useless. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is the only reliable source to obtain a bio-available vitamin C.
Beauty Benefits of Vitamin C
In beauty industry, vitamin C is used in several forms depending on the cosmetic application. In water-rich beauty products, ascorbic acid is more common. Ascorbic acid is a naturally occurring form of vitamin C, although it is usually synthecized. In a rinse-off cosmetic preparation vitamin C only works as a topical skin brightener and exfoliant, similar to alpha-hydroxy acids. Vitamin C as ascorbic acid is easily oxidized and its stability is improved by the use of vitamin E in the same product.
Oil or Water Soluble Vitamin C?
Oil-soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate) is more stable and easier absorbed by the skin. If you want to reap full benefits of vitamin C, you should look for oil-soluble form of this vitamin, because ascorbic acid will not penetrate the skin as it is not oil-soluble. Both forms of vitamin C are not toxic when applied topically, however, day creams and sun protection creams with ascorbic acid may cause sun sensitivity because ascorbic acid sheds upper layer of skin cells and makes skin more sensitive and vulnerable.
Vitamin C and Scars
Vitamin C normalizes collagen production thus helping improve scar tissue. Vitamin C is also mildly acidic helping shed dead skin cells thus promoting smooth complexion. Topical application and supplementation are best combined to effectively combat scars and post-acne marks.
Vitamin C and Under Eye Circles
Vitamin C helps strengthen skin capillaries and prevents blood from leaking into the skin tissue causing micro-bruises that looks like dark circles. Vitamin C eye creams (with ascorbyl palmitate) are best applied at night. Avoid eye creams with ascorbic acid as it may irritate your eyes.
Vitamin C and Wrinkles
Vitamin C encourages collagen formation and preserves existing collagen from age-related depletion. Topical application (both oil- and water-soluble forms) and supplementation are best combined for an effective age-resisting strategy.
Vitamin C and Allergic Dermatitis
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine (a pharmaceutical drug used to treat symptoms of allergy, such as runny nose and watery eyes.) Vitamin C both prevents histamine release and increases the detoxification of histamine, helping relieve allergy symptoms.
Vitamin C and Acne
As an antioxidant, vitamin C interacts with the immune system. It was found that vitamin C modulates the activities of phagocytes, the production of cytokines and lymphocytes, this way helping decrease inflammation in human skin and other tissues. Topically, vitamin C makes the skin more acidic thus helping restore healthy bacterial balance.
Vitamin C and Sun Protection
Even though vitamin C is an antioxidant and technically protecting against free radicals forming in the skin during sun exposure, it is also an acid and may actually cause more free radical damage by increased oxidation of skin cell components. Therefore, vitamin C is best used in night creams and serums. However, sunburn can be relieved with a supplemented vitamin C.