What does vitamin C do for the skin? 5 Benefits of Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C skin products can help lighten dark spots, reduce sun damage, and heal skin.
  • Vitamin C serums are great for fighting aging because they can boost collagen production.
  • It is also an anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce red and inflamed skin.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can benefit all skin types and is one of the best vitamins for your skin. It has many benefits, including helping to fight aging and reversing some of the damage done to your skin by the sun’s rays.

While there are many foods rich in vitamin C, when it comes to your skin, applying topical vitamin C serums directly to your skin is the most effective way to benefit.

Here’s what vitamin C can do to even out your skin tone and help you achieve clear skin.

1. Lightens Dark Spots

Vitamin C helps lighten dark spots on the skin by restrict enzyme responsible for the production of melanin.

Dark spots form due to an overproduction of melanin, a dark pigment, in your skin. This extra production of melanin can be triggered by many things, including sun damage, pregnancy, taking certain medications, or aging.

2. Helps Reduce Signs of Aging

Vitamin C also plays an essential role in collagen formationwhich is a fibrous protein that helps form the connective tissue of the skin.

As the skin ages, the production of collagen decreases. This is what causes the skin to lose its elasticity and sag. Although skin aging is inevitable, daily use of vitamin C can help stimulate collagen production and slow down the aging process. This increase in collagen helps firm the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

To reduce the signs of aging, it is particularly important to use a topical serum so vitamin C can reach skin cells directly.

3. Helps with sun damage

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds is one of the main causes of skin cell aging and damage over time. When the sun hits your skin, it forms what are called free radicals, which damage the skin. But vitamin C can help limit this damage thanks to its antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants, like vitamin C, prevent cell damage by neutralizing free radicals from harmful effects like smoking and the sun.

“Vitamin C works to bind these free radicals and act like little Pac-Men pulling them out of circulation so they can’t damage the skin,” explains Suzanne Friedler, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount. Sinai Medical Center.

It is important to know that vitamin C serums cannot replace sunscreen because they do not block or absorb ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, using a combination of the two will provide your skin with enough protection against sun damage.

4. Minimizes Redness and Inflammation

The skin can become red and inflamed for many reasons, including acne, sun damage, skin conditions such as dermatitis, and allergic reactions to certain medications.

“Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory, which means it’s meant to help reduce inflammation and redness in the skin,” explains Howard Sobel, MD dermatological surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

“Anti-inflammatories are necessary for the treatment of the skin. And when used topically, like vitamin C, they can improve the appearance of the skin by calming redness.”

If your inflammation is caused by a skin condition such as rosacea or dermatitis, it is advisable to start with a low concentration of around 10% to prevent your skin from becoming more irritated.

5. Helps Skin Heal

Vitamin C helps skin heal in several ways:

  1. When applied topically directly to the wound, it stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, Sobel says. This triggers the skin to heal itself. A 2017 study published in Translational Biomedicine studied the effect of topical application of vitamin C on 2nd degree burns in 30 participants. The researchers observed that this caused a significant acceleration of the healing process.
  2. Vitamin C stimulates iron absorptionanother nutrient needed for wound healing.
  3. For people who are vitamin C deficient, take 1000 milligrams of vitamin C supplements daily was shown to significantly improve wound healing.

How to Use Vitamin C for Skin

Topical vitamin C formulations are available as a variety of creams, serums, and transdermal patches and come in different forms. The best vitamin C skin care products are serums that contain pure ascorbic acid because it is the most effective in penetrating the skin barrier.

Most vitamin C serums are available in concentrations of 10-20%. The higher the concentration, the more effective the serum, but only up to 20%.

It is advisable to do a patch test on your arm first if you have very sensitive skin. If no side effects occur after 24 hours, you can apply it on your face.

After cleansing, apply a topical vitamin C product in the morning. Follow with moisturizer and broad-spectrum sunscreen.

It takes several weeks of continuous use to see the benefits of Vitamin C on the skin, however, it is completely safe to use daily for long durations. It can also be used safely with other common topical anti-aging agents such as sunscreens, tretinoin, other antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid.

Insider’s Takeaways

Vitamin C has many benefits for the skin. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, prevent and repair sun damage, improve skin appearance and stimulate collagen production.

If you think you’re not getting results with vitamin C or if you’re having side effects with vitamin C serums, talk to your doctor.

Patricia J. Callender