For generations, mothers have been encouraging their children to eat their fruits and vegetables to make sure they get enough Vitamin C. That’s because it was well known that this important nutrient was essential to maintaining the overall health of the human body. In recent years, scientists have come to discover that not only does Vitamin C provide healing on the inside; it also has potent health benefits for the skin as well. The more we have learned about the effects of Vitamin C on the skin, the more doctors and homeopaths are encouraging both the use of oral supplements as well as topical ointments and creams that contain a healthy dose of Vitamin C. The effects can be dramatic and noticeable.
How Does Vitamin C Work On Your Skin?
There are several benefits that Vitamin C provides for the skin. As an antioxidant it can help to prevent or reduce damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are substances that enter the body through exposure to the UV rays of the sun, smoking and other pollutants. Once inside your body, these harmful substances can cause a variety of damage by inhibiting the proper function of the immune system. For the skin, this can lead to drying, wrinkling and loss of skin tone. Vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen, the substance that gives the skin its basic framework, allowing for firmness and strength. As we age, the collagen in our bodies naturally breaks down. At the same time, we also lose elasticity. The result can be severe loss of skin tone, manifested as wrinkling and sagging. Vitamin C is also depleted as we age, further enhancing this process, therefore replenishing Vitamin C levels can help to improve skin tone from the inside out.
What Specific Skin Conditions Does It Treat?
By far the most important benefit of Vitamin C is its ability to prevent or diminish photodamage caused by UV exposure. It is not a sunblock but it can help the body to fight off the effects of free radicals. When combined with other antioxidants like Vitamin E or green tea, this benefit is magnified even further. The result is a decrease in wrinkles, fine lines and bags that are a regular sign of aging.
Aside from these benefits, Vitamin C has also been shown to have moisturizing properties and an ability to help in the healing of wounds. It can also can be used to help heal acne lesions and to diminish the appearance of lentigines, or age spots.
Because Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, it is rapidly expelled by the body when taken orally. This means that most Vitamin C taken orally will be expelled before it can reach the skin. In order to get the maximum benefit for the skin, then, it is recommended that it be applied topically as an ointment or cream. This way the full antioxidant properties can be absorbed directly by the skin and can produce maximum effect.
Using a Vitamin C ointment at the site of skin issues daily for as little as 12 weeks can produce visible changes in the skin, including a reduction in dryness, wrinkling and sagging. While more research is needed, it is also believed that applying a Vitamin C ointment at the site of a wound can help to speed the healing process.
How Does It Compare To Traditional Treatments?
Vitamin C is not a miracle cure and when it comes to conditions such as acne or age spots, the traditional treatments such as benzoyl-peroxide, are still recommended. However, we do know that maintaining the proper level of essential nutrients can benefit your health dramatically.
As new studies are conducted, we are beginning to understand that Vitamin C and other antioxidants can provide a natural answer to preserving skin health without exposing your body to synthetic chemicals. If you are dealing with acne, age spots or sun damaged skin, you should consider adding a dose of Vitamin C to your regular routine. Mom was right…it really does make you feel better!