Need a little boost? Want your skin a little brighter and more even? These are some claims that you might have heard related to Vitamin C. But why’s that? Vitamin C is a powerful supplement that can be taken orally or used topically. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it dissolves in water and is fairly easily delivered to the body’s tissues. However, water soluble vitamins are not well stored, so need to be taken consistently through food or supplements.
What Vitamin C can do for the body?
In the body, vitamin C plays a role in managing infections and wound healing, and is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals. And what are free radicals? Free radicals are slightly unstable chemical molecules that can cause damage to our cells and increase the risk for developing cancerous cells. Antioxidants help stabilize those free radicals. Vitamin C is also necessary to make collagen, which is woven through various body systems: nervous, immune, bone, cartilage, blood, and others.
What Vitamin C can do for the skin?
Vitamin C’s skin-saving benefits aren’t limited to its antioxidant status. It has plenty of other skin-healing properties. For one, when vitamin C is used topically, because it’s acidic, the skin is triggered to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are both naturally occurring protein fibers that help keep skin plump and firm. By helping to promote collagen production, topical vitamin C can help prevent premature aging of the skin. It is important to patch test any topical vitamin C as those with sensitive skin may be aggravated by the acidic properties.
Vitamin C’s role in photoprotection (aka sun protection).
Vitamin C limits the damage induced by ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. Vitamin C is not a “sunscreen” because it does not absorb or block light in the UVA or UVB spectrum. Rather, the antioxidant activity of vitamin C decreases the effects of UV-induced damage caused by free radicals. UV light decreases vitamin C content of skin, an effect that is dependent on the intensity and duration of UV exposure, so it is important to add vitamin C back to the skin after sun exposure.
Vitamin C for wound healing.
Vitamin C is helpful in the wound healing process as it is involved in all phases of wound healing and contains anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce the redness and swelling. Vitamin C has shown to decrease the appearance of dark spots and scar presentation.
Food Sources of Vitamin C
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin C. Some food with high Vitamin C are :
- Citrus (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit)
- Bell peppers
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower)
- White potatoes
If you’d like to review your supplements or discuss options you are welcome to book in with Dr Kellie.