Dosing Your Skin With Vitamin C
Despite all the beautiful, juicy summer fruits we can eat at this time of year, you may be surprised to know that your skin could do with some vitamin C of its own, too.
Here are the whys and wherefores.
Transport and logistics
The human body cannot make vitamin C, it’s poorly transported around the body, and it can’t be stored. Therefore, even if you eat lots of vitamin C-rich foods, only a little will reach your skin.
A good friend …
Vitamin C protects the skin from the ageing effects of UV exposure. Vitamin C does not absorb UV light and it’s equally effective against both UVA and UVB:
- UVA changes and destroys skin cells, including collagen and elastin. Therefore, it causes ageing and possible melanoma formation.
- UVB causes you to turn red and be sunburnt, creates free radicals and possible skin cancers.
If you’ve caught the sun, slap a vitamin C serum on the affected skin immediately and often.
… But a shy one
Vitamin C is water-soluble and so it’s not good at penetrating the skin. It is also quite unstable and loses its ‘goodness’ very quickly when exposed to air and light. To overcome these problems, vitamin C serums need to be kept in dark bottles or bought as crystals.
What to look for
Manufacturers formulate vitamin C in various ways to help it be more stable and to improve its ability to penetrate the skin. Look out for these words on packaging: L-ascorbic acid, esterified Vitamin C, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Although there are more, these ones should all be stable for you as well as able to penetrate, so smile if they are in your cupboard, but also check that there are no SLSs, parabens or other nasties.
How much is enough?
The percentage of vitamin C in the product is not so important; it is more relevant that you apply it to your skin at least once a day.
By combining a vitamin C serum with vitamin E, zinc and other plant-based antioxidants, such as ferulic acid, its efficacy can be increased by up to 20 times.
Off out into a scorching day? Add vitamin C to your sunscreen, or apply it first, and you should get less sunburnt.
Which is all good to keep you looking young.