Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant, but unlike plants and animals, humans rely on external supplementation. The necessity of the vitamin C antioxidant in our diet was discovered by Dr. Albert Goyrgi when he exposed Vitamin C deficiency to be the cause of Scurvy. Goyrgi found that humans cannot synthesize Vitamin C due to our lack of the enzyme ‘glucono-gamma lactone oxidase’. He even won a Nobel Prize for it! Nowadays, many of us take vitamin C supplements, or eat enough green vegetables and citrus fruits to sufficiently get our intake. Even packaged processed foods include vitamin C in their ingredients. I think it’s safe to say, we have scurvy covered. So let’s not allow this incredible antioxidant be glorified only as a historic illness fighting entity.
Vitamin C is also the most beneficial antioxidant for the maintenance and protection of our skin. Vitamin C absorption from diet alone will no doubt help our immune systems fight off all kinds of viruses, but it is limiting the vitamins beautiful skin promoting abilities. And that is such a shame when there are so many benefits to boast. Some may think, “If I take higher doses of vitamin C, I will get those benefits”. Right? Wrong! Even with higher doses of oral Vitamin C, only a fraction will be biologically available and active in the skin. In order to achieve the ultimate Vitamin C action in the skin, cosmeceuticals are the answer. Yes, vitamin C can effectively be absorbed through the skin and in order to achieve full skin promoting benefits, a vitamin C serum or cream should be a part of your daily skin regime.
Topically applying Vitamin C in the case of cosmeceuticals protects our skin cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage caused by pollution, smoking and solar radiation. To help you understand what this all means, let me explain. Oxidative stress is when your skin is exposed to toxic environmental factors and the actual skin cells can’t thrive. The lack of clean oxygen suffocates your cells and leads to the formation of sunburn cells, thymine dimers, solar elastosis, and irregular cell cycle division. ‘Free radicals’ are the toxic unstable molecules in your skin that are reactive to the oxidative stress. Free-radicals actually cause damage to your DNA, proteins, and cell membranes and manifest photo-damage, photo-ageing, and by far the worst, skin cancer.
Out of all the antioxidants (Vitamin E, feluric acid, phloretin, idebenone, green tea, resveratrol, lycopene, grape seed, niacinamide, ubiquinone, geinstein, silymarin, coffee berry, polyhydroxy acids, carotenoids, kinetin, and glutathione) vitamin C is by far the most powerful antioxidant for neutralizing the formation of free radicals in the skin. Clinical studies have proven that applying vitamin C to the skin will actually improve all parameters of photodamage and reduce the risk of skin cancer. But surprise, that is not all of the beautiful skin promoting qualities of vitamin C. In addition to the photodamage and skin cancer protection benefits, (in of itself are reason to jump on the vitamin C topical application wagon) vitamin C is essential for:
- Collagen Biosynthesis
- Inhibition of collagen breakdown
- Stabilisation of collagen fibres
- Inhibiting the biosynthesis of elastin. (elastin is the enzyme that degrades elastic fibres in the skin causing photodamage.)
- Anti-inflammatory effect
- Anti-pigmentation effect
Though the vitamin C antioxidant has so many wonderful skin promoting benefits on its own, when used in combination with sunblock the effects are complimented and improved. When looking for a vitamin C product to use daily, you may find that there are many formulations. Here is my best advice: Go with a brand known for their quality like IS Clinical or Prescribed Solutions and look for the ingredient L-ascorbic acid as it is the most biologically active form of the antioxidant when formulated appropriately.