Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a top contender in the world of skincare hype, but is it worth the hefty price tag? Put simply, YES, but only if it is the right one. That’s right, not all products touting vitamin C deserve a spot on your shelf, but let’s circle back to that.
Other than being a crucial component in protecting our precious collagen, Vitamin C is a nutrient your body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, absorb and store iron, and also has a vital role in the body’s healing process.
Vitamin C for Health
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals aka unstable DNA ravaging molecules that are produced intrinsically when your body breaks down oxidative foods and alcohol, or extrinsically when we are exposed to smoke, radiation from light or X-rays, and pollutants. Free radicals contribute largely to the aging process and play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Because your body doesn’t produce vitamin C, you need to get it from both your diet and topically from your skincare. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli and spinach. Most people can get enough vitamin C from a healthy, well rounded diet. Vitamin C deficiency is more likely in people who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoking, have certain gastrointestinal conditions or certain types of cancer, or have a limited diet that doesn’t regularly include fruits and vegetables.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 90 milligrams for adult men and 75 milligrams for adult women.
Topical Vitamin C for Skin Health
It’s important to distinguish the separate need for both oral and topical vitamins. The Vitamin C we ingest is not going to translate the way we want it to our skin. Even when you have a diet rich in Vitamin C, your skin still needs high quality, potent topical Vitamin C because there is no direct blood supply to the skin to deliver nutrients.
Vitamin C helps the skin to:
- Combat existing sun damage
- Strengthens and protects collagen
- Smooths wrinkles
- Minimize inflammation
- Brighten and even skin tone
- Neutralizes free radicals
- Boost efficacy of your other skin care products like you SPF and retinol
So, you’re on board and decide to add absorbic acid to your routine, but here’s the catch: buying Vitamin C can be tricky because a large portion of vitamin C products on the market have already eroded or oxidized before you even bring them home. Additionally, many of these products have not been tested for efficacy and have no mechanism of action, or a way of interacting with your skin in a helpful way.
Ineffective products being sold to unknowing consumers sadly is common practice with any type skincare products. Thankfully as long as you stick to medical/ proffesioanl grade skincare, you’ll be on the right track. It does generally have a higher price to get a product formulated with high quality ingredients combined with advanced formulations and clinical studies, but it is always worth it to get a product that does the job it is supposed to.
Stay dewy my friends.
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