Vitamin C for the skin? At first, this sounds like a meaningless cosmetics trend. After all, vitamin C is more known as an important nutrient for our immune system. But what about skin health?
The promises of the vitamin C effect on the skin range from simple skin care to the treatment of acne to effective anti-aging agents and protection against skin cancer.
Are these all empty promises or is there perhaps more to it?
The answer might come as a surprise, because ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is more versatile than you might initially think.
We took a look around and summarized what exactly vitamin C can do for your skin.
First, let’s look at what happens to the vitamin in the skin.
What does the skin need vitamin C for?
There seems to be something to some claims about the vitamin C effect on the skin.
If you look at what our skin is like, it quickly becomes clear why: The reason is the collagens.
These are special structural proteins that occur mainly in connective tissue, i.e. in bones, tendons and ligaments. They also form an important component of our skin. More precisely, they occur in all three layers of the skin, from the epidermis to the subcutaneous tissue.
Collagen is so numerous that it accounts for over 30% of all proteins in our body and is therefore the most abundant protein there.
In the skin, the collagen fibers provide structure and stability due to their tensile strength.
Rightly, you’re probably thinking: That’s all well and good, but what does all this have to do with vitamin C?
The answer is very simple: Vitamin C is used in the body, among other things, for the production of the enzyme prolyl-4-hydroxylase and this in turn is needed for the synthesis of collagen.
Without vitamin C, collagen production suffers and so does our skin.
Even if vitamin C does not conjure up wrinkles, the adequate supply of the nutrient at least helps to prevent aging symptoms of the skin.
A study by German and Romanian scientists from 2015 provides the answer. They concluded that applying a vitamin C solution over six months can stimulate collagen production. This resulted in thicker skin and thus less wrinkles.
Clear skin through vitamin C – is that possible?
Vitamin C is therefore as essential for the health of your skin as it is for overall health.
But does it really have to be a face cream or is the intake of vitamin C through the diet sufficient?
Vitamin C, which you absorb through your diet, enters the body through your digestive tract and is then used for different areas. Some of the vitamin C also benefits your skin. In order to take full advantage of the effect of ascorbic acid, however, an external application can also make sense.
Especially in the treatment of skin inflammation or acne, vitamin C seems to have potential.
Vitamin C for acne
Although large-scale studies on the use of vitamin C for skin diseases such as acne are still lacking, there are some smaller studies that have shown promising results.
For example, a 12-week study from the University of Miami showed that the majority of participants who used a vitamin C cream noticed a significant improvement in their acne symptoms.
The reason for this is suspected in the anti-inflammatory effect of ascorbic acid: An application can thus provide relief from redness and swollen areas.
Further studies have dealt with the effect of vitamin C on acne scars and here too the results are promising: The stimulation of collagen production improves the wound healing of the skin,which can lead to an improvement in scars.
Protection from the sun
Our skin is exposed to sunlight like no other organ. This alone leads to oxidative stress in the skin cells, which is triggered by solar radiation. More specifically, it is the UV radiationthat creates free radicals in the skin. These reactive oxygen molecules can damage cells in many ways. The possible consequences range from signs of aging to the development of skin cancer.
In addition to the effects already mentioned, vitamin C also helps protect against these processes. This is due to the antioxidant effect of the nutrient:
Free radicals are usually extremely reactive because they lack electrons at the molecular level. Vitamin C (and other antioxidants) release electrons to the radicals and can thus neutralize them.
By boosting collagen production, a vitamin C cream can also help heal the skin from sunburn.
But beware: Such a cream does not replace the classic sun protection. Even though the ascorbic acid fights some negative effects of UV radiation, you are only effectively protected with a sunscreen.
If you use both, you should also pay attention to apply the vitamin C cream before the sunscreen, otherwise it will be limited in its effect.
You should not do without these vitamins in skin care
As you can see, the hype about vitamin C in skin care is not unjustified. The nutrient acts in two different ways:
- Taking it covers your body’s vitamin C needs and ensures that many processes work as they should. From the immune system to the production of collagen to the neutralization of free radicals.
- Scientific studies indicate that applying it to the skin can also have positive effects: vitamin C fights inflammation, supports regeneration and helps prevent wrinkles.
But not only vitamin C can help you with skin care. Other nutrients also have a similar effect. Vitamins A and E are also particularly well suited to protect the skin and support it in regeneration.
Zinc is also repeatedly used to treat acne or skin eczema due to its anti-inflammatory effect.
Healthy skin, as the largest organ of the human body, is extremely important for our well-being. Therefore, make sure that she gets everything she needs.
If you are sufficiently supplied with essential nutrients, this is ultimately reflected in your skin.