Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, is a vitamin found in food and used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the making of certain neurotransmitters. It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for an immune system function. It is within the class of chemicals known as antioxidants. Foods containing V.C. include citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, raw bell peppers, and strawberries. Prolonged storage or cooking may reduce vitamin C content in foods.
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Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients, experts say. It may not be the cure for the common cold (though it’s thought to help prevent more serious complications). But the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
A recent study published in Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine that looked at over 100 studies over 10 years revealed a growing list of benefits of vitamin C.
Oregon State University Study Shows
“Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health,” says study researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan. “The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer.”
Vitamin C limits the damage induced by ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. V.C. is not a “sunscreen” because it does not absorb light in the UVA or UVB spectrum. Rather, the antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C transport proteins are increased in keratinocytes in response to UV light, suggesting an increased need for V.C. uptake for adequate protection.
UV light decreases the vitamin C content of the skin, an effect that is dependent on the intensity and duration of UV exposure. In cultured keratinocytes, the addition of V.C. reduces UV-related DNA damage and lipid peroxidation, limits the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and protects against apoptosis. Vitamin C also modulates redox-sensitive cell signaling in cultured skin cells and consequently increases cell survival following UV exposure.
Boost the Effectiveness of Sunscreen
While protecting your skin against sun damage on its own, you will still need to apply sunscreen. UV rays are extremely harmful, and you want to give your body as much protection as possible.
Vitamin C is worth applying with or before the application of your sunscreen. V.C. for skin will boost the effectiveness and help it get into the lower layers of your skin. Your cells will be protected from future damage. Vitamin C for skin is a good layer of protection against the UV rays and helps prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV) induced photodamage.
Many sunscreens will now come with vitamin C added to it. You can make your own, How to make Homemade Sunscreen or you can opt for your normal sunscreen. Just apply some homemade vitamin C skin cream before your sunscreen application to help boost the effectiveness.
Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency (knowns as scurvy) appear once plasma concentrations of the ascorbic acid drop below 10 micromolar (μM), a level that can be prevented by consuming as little as 10 mg of ascorbic acid daily. Cutaneous manifestations of scurvy result from declines in collagen synthesis, leading to disruption of connective tissue and fragility of blood vessels. Early symptoms in the skin include a thickening of the stratum corneum and spots of small subcutaneous bleeding. As scurvy progresses, wound healing is impaired due to the loss of mature collagen, which allows wounds to remain open. Skin lesions caused by vitamin C deficiency are remediated by an adequate intake of V.C.
Serum For the Skin
There are natural serums you can make and apply to your skin, or you can buy from a store. Here is a link to one I have used TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum. If you like to make your own then see the recipe below.
In a small bowl, combine the vitamin C powder and filtered water. Whisk the ingredients until the vitamin C powder is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, stir in the aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil.
Pour the serum into a dark amber bottle (a funnel helps). Store the serum in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Around the two-week mark, you may notice the serum’s pH level change*. Your serum may have a different color and consistency, depending on the vitamin C powder and aloe used to make this recipe. My V.C. powder is pink, but many are white.