Vitamin C: For Younger, Brighter Skin

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Vitamin C really can make your skin look younger and brighter.

While vitamin C is most commonly thought of as a citrusy supplement that boosts the immune system, there are several more benefits to this vitamin.  When applied topically vitamin C is a powerful addition to an anti-aging skin care regimen.

Vitamin C is an essential water soluble vitamin that also lightens and brightens the skin, is an impressive antioxidant, and is essential in collagen synthesis.

This rather versatile and tasty vitamin smoothens the tone of aging and damaged skin by lightening and brightening the skin. The blotchy coloring that appears on the skin over time, and with sun damage, is due in part to the uneven production of brown pigment in the skin cells.  This brown pigment comes from a molecule called melanin.  Over time, some areas or cells start making more melanin.  Vitamin C smoothens out the tone by causing those overproducing areas to start making less melanin and start matching the rest of the skin.

For those wanting a slightly more scientific explanation of this, read this paragraph:  Tyrosinase is the enzyme that makes melanin.  Vitamin C interacts with copper at the tyrosinase-active site and inhibits action of the enzyme, thereby decreasing the melanin formation.

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Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant.  An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, which are atoms or molecules with an unpaired electron.  When a free radical then steals an electron from one of the proteins in a strand of collagen, it creates damage or a break in that strand. The more breaks you get, the more damage you see, such as sagging and wrinkles. Since vitamin C is an effective electron donor, it helps reverse and prevent signs of aging.

Essentially what this means is that Vitamin C can effectively protect the skin from damaging chemical reactions caused by sun exposure, pollution, and time.

Finally, vitamin C is a necessary component in the building of new collagen, and new healthy collagen is the building block of young vibrant skin.

These three functions of vitamin C have several applications when it comes to skin health. And solid, reproducible and reliable studies have also shown the following benefits of using topical vitamin C preparations:

  • Improve skin appearance by reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Improved skin health and wound healing as it aids in stabilizing collagen.
  • Increased protection and/or lessening the severity of sunburns.

Ok, now keep reading because this next bit is the most important part.

It is important to note that vitamin C is an unstable compound, and not all formulations are created equal.

A correctly formulated topical vitamin C preparation is a difficult and costly process. Many formulations on the market, or made at home, are manufactured cheaply and are basically ineffective. The problems lies in the fact that vitamin C is most commonly found in the form L-ascorbic acid. This is highly unstable when exposed to oxygen, which renders the vitamin essentially useless topically. In addition, many of the currently available topical vitamin C preparations do not penetrate the skin sufficiently to make any difference. Research is continually underway to optimize stable and effective topical vitamin C formulations.

If you are considering using topical vitamin C you should consult your pharmacist, doctor or dermatologist before starting.

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