Vitamin C has been a known essential nutrient for tissue repair and one of the safest and most effective medicines since its discovery in 1912. And now vitamin C has a new feather to add to its already impressive cap: skin protector.
Vitamin C is An Antioxidant
Although antioxidant is often a term referred to for its ability to protect against damage inside the body, it is now being more widely recognized for its link to aging and the skin. Antioxidants fight cell damage from free radicals including sun exposure, UV rays, cigarette smoke, and pollution by neutralizing oxidative stress, a known cause of aging. Dendy Englemen, MD, explains, “Free radical scavengers are in search of a missing electron. Antioxidants like vitamin C neutralize the damage by donating their electron, thus minimizing the damage a free radical can do on skin proteins, such as collagen or elastin.”
Vitamin C Boosts Collagen
When it comes to signs of aging, crow’s feet, wrinkles and loose skin top the list. According to Dr.Dennis Gross, MD, “All of these things boil down to collagen. It’s the holy grail of youth.” Collagen is a structural protein which gives skin its firmness. As we age, the amount of collagen we have decreases, leading to laxity and lines. “Vitamin C stimulates collagen,” Gross says, ” it works on the cells in the skin that have become lazy with age and tells them to make more collagen.”
Vitamin C Helps Shrink Pores
Dr. Gross also attributes the loss of collagen to the appearance of large pores. He warns that while most products are relatively ineffectual in the battle against enlarged pores, he says that, “By stimulating collagen and thickening your skin, vitamin C can help pores look smaller and better.”
Vitamin C Brightens Skin
Besides being a major player in protecting skin against UVA and UVB exposure, vitamin C can also lighten and brighten skin tone. Gross reveals, “It works directly on the mechanism that causes uneven skin tone sun spots, melasma, and hyperpigmentation.” Dr. Engelmen recommends starting applying a moisturizer with an antioxidant complex at a young age.
Vitamin C Partners with Retinol
While Dr. Engelman enforces the truism of vitamin C and Retinol as the “two gold standards for skin care,” she is quick to differentiate between the two. “While both reduce signs of aging,” she says, “vitamin C acts as a protector for your skin and neutralizes issues before there is a problem and improves current skin conditions. Retinols act as an exfoliating tool to rid the skin of damaged cells and stimulate production.” Dr. Gross recommends, “using both.”