‘C’ For Miracles (Part 1 of 2)

 I can already hear you groaning, “Oh no! Not another post about fruits and vegetables!”

Don’t worry; I’m not going to tell you about what to eat and what not to eat. In this two-part special, I’ll be giving you more details on a very popular skin care ingredient: Vitamin C. It’s time to expand your knowledge of this vitamin that almost synonymous with citrus fruits!

The Vitamin C Goodness

In a nutshell, vitamin C is essential in the production of collagen, a key structural protein of the skin. Adding vitamin C to a culture of skin cell (fibroblast) dramatically increases the synthesis of collagen. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant so it can help to reduce skin damage caused by free radicals. This means that, if properly administered into skin cells, there is a good chance that vitamin C can reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. Consider that the signs of aging skin are similar to those associated with the loss of collagen production and damaged collagen. Vitamin C will then be a good weapon to use against the effects of time. It will also be a good ingredient to use in the treatment of aging skin.

Another benefit of vitamin C is that it can lessen hyperpigmentation (at levels 3% or greater) as vitamin C can block tyrosinase, an enzyme that catalyses the production of melanin. This means that topically, vitamin C provides a small amount of UV protection and using a vitamin C serum in the day can give your sunscreen an extra boost. However, it takes about six months to see results.

So Much Goodness!

Hold your horses dears! Before you run off to buy all the vitamin C products off the racks, remember that there are always two sides to a coin. There are some important points you have to take note of when you’re using your vitamin C product. First, vitamin C is relatively unstable as it is easily converted to its oxidised forms in the presence of air or other oxidising agents. Once oxidised, it will not only lose its efficiency, but it might also harm your skin by promoting free radical formation, causing damage to vital molecules such as proteins and DNA. Secondly, only highly concentrated preparations (10% or more) deliver enough vitamin C to the cells to be topically effective.

Can You C It?

There are many vitamin C products out there on the market.  A lot of them have high concentrations of stabilised vitamin C. However, even stabilised vitamin C products might be somewhat oxidised by the time you use them. Your best bet is to purchase vitamin C products that are either white or colourless and stored in a dark bottle. Oxidised at advanced levels, vitamin C will acquire a yellowish tint. This may be the reason why some manufacturers add colouring to their vitamin C products. Unfortunately, this is not a tell-tale indication of oxidised vitamin C as it is colourless at its initial stages. Vitamin C products stored in dark coloured containers can help to prevent oxidation.

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Stay tuned for the next part of this series! I’ll be talking about the different derivatives of vitamin C often found in skin care products! Whatever is it, just always remember that there is no single miracle ingredient in skin care. Like other products, always use them with caution. Always pick products from a trustworthy source and watch out for the expiration date. More importantly, always store your products properly (in cool dry places) to stretch the shelf life of your product!(: