Vitamin C the skin defender
Certain vitamins, including vitamin C, are powerful antioxidants for both internal use and applied topically on the skin. Tina Viney reports.
• as an excellent free radical scavenger protecting in the cell membranes
Certain vitamins, including vitamin C, are powerful antioxidants for both internal use and when applied topically on the skin. Tina Viney reports.Certain vitamins, including vitamin C, are powerful antioxidants for both internal use and applied topically on the skin. Tina Viney reports.
It wasnt more than 10 years ago that a famous vitamin C serum made headlines for its phenomenal lifting effect on the skin. On A Current Affair, a 70-year-old man was featured who had applied the famous serum to half of his face and in just eight months the lifting effect was so incredible that it resembled a face lift. The next day, department store David Jones sold more than 5,000 of these serums instantly, and vitamin C became a must have skincare product.
There are numerous stories like these but what the real questions is, are these results just gimmicks or are they scientifically proven? The latter is true. However, there are some considerations you must keep in mind when purchasing vitamin C products.
Vitamin C as an antioxidant
Vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant when taken internally. It is required for healthy tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function and healthy gums. It protects against the harmful effects of pollution, prevents cancer, protects against infection and enhances immunity. When it comes to skin, vitamin C has several interesting benefits. These include:
- its essential for the formation of collagen that is responsible for skin density and firmness
- as an excellent free radical scavenger protecting in the cell membranes promotion of wound healing
- controlling the formation of melanin that contribute to pigmentation and sun spots
- to lighten and brighten the skin
New evidence indicates that when vitamin C is combined with vitamin E, they work together to have a greater effect than when they work on their own. Vitamin E scavenges for dangerous oxygen radicals in the cell membrane, while vitamin C breaks the free radical chain.
Because the body cannot manufacture vitamin C, it must be obtained through the diet or in the form of oral supplements or application on the skin. As vitamin C is water-soluble, most of it is lost in the urine, so there is great value in applying vitamin C to the surface of the skin.
Applying vitamin C is highly beneficial, both in keeping your skin firm and in protecting against pigmentation, which is a big issue for us in Australia.
In terms of choosing the best product, here are some guidelines:
- You will need to look for a product that has at least 10 per cent ascorbic acid. When ascorbic acid is exposed to the light and air, it slowly decomposes and oxidises to become yellow-brown in colour. Check the colour when opening the bottle and keep watch that this colour doesnt change.
- As a rule, vitamin C gels, even if they have stabilisers, will only last for a maximum of three to four weeks, so once you open them, make sure you use your bottle every day.
- Use vitamin C in serum or gel form directly on to the skin at least twice a day and apply your moisturiser on top.
- Always make sure you finish with a high protection sun block.
As there are many manufacturers jumping on the vitamin C bandwagon, it pays to consult a qualified skincare therapist who can provide you with the right advice on the product that would best suit your skin. Dont forget to ask for research information to make sure the product is scientifically validated for its effectiveness.
Tina Viney in the Chief Executive Offi cer and President of the Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network – a member based organisation and standards body for the aesthetics industry.