A lot has been written about vitamin C and its benefits not only to the skin but for the health of the body in total. It has been touted as anything from a cure for the common cold to a cancer treatment. However, many of these claims have not been proven or documented. The one thing that is true without question is the fact that vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that protects, maintains and aids in the regrowth of healthy cells.
As an anti-oxidant, it neutralizes harmful free radicals in the body that occur naturally over time and are enhanced by exposure to UV (sun) rays, smoking or second hand smoke, alcohol and poor diets. These free radicals left unopposed will destroy skin cells and speed up the ageing process. The chemical name for vitamin C is ascorbic acid which is derived from the Latin term “ascorbutus” which means “no scurvy”. Scurvy is the ultimate breakdown of the human cell structure.
Vitamin C is also needed to benefit and ensure the growth of collagen cells. As we age our collagen begins to deplete. Collagen is what keeps our skin firm and wrinkle free. A loss in collagen means a gain in wrinkles. Proper vitamin C application will slow down the appearance of wrinkles, and can even reverse them in many cases.
Humans are one of the few animals on Earth that cannot synthesize vitamin C within its own body. One method to obtain vitamin C is by oral ingestion. Be aware that because of our increased use of synthetic methods for farming, the National Institute of Health found that nutrients, including vitamin C, in our food supplies has decreased by almost 40% over the last 50 years.
However for skin cell health it has been found that topically applying vitamin C directly to the skin is up to 20 times more effective than oral ingestion.
There are many companies that sell vitamin C enhanced skin care products and make all types of claims about their effectiveness. Don’t be fooled or mislead: as with so many advertised claims they include exaggerated results. Know the following before buying your next skin care vitamin C enhanced product:
- The Linus Pauling Institute determined that vitamin C degrades when exposed to heat, oxygen, and light. Over 90% of the skin care products in the marketplace are processed at high temperature therefore severally degrading the Vitamin C in the jar. Plastic jars are porous and expose the contents to oxygen. Clear jars expose it to light.
- That same report found that synthetic forms of vitamin C (usually listed as Ascorbic Acid or L’Ascorbic Acid) in products cannot penetrate the skin to perform properly. Only a natural botanical form of vitamin C can penetrate the skin and be effective.
- More is not better. Vitamin C increases its effectiveness up until it becomes 20% of the total concentrate. Above 20%, vitamin C actually decreases its working capability because it becomes too unstable.
- Vitamin C must be combined with vitamin E for truly maximum effectiveness. This combination increases the Vitamin C effect four-fold.