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Know Your Ingredients: Vitamin C

Naaila Khan

What’s the first thing you think of when you think Vitamin C? If you’re anything like us, it’s a picture of an orange from a colouring book – juicy, ripe, and bursting with health. That’s pretty much what Vitamin C does for your skin, too; it’s one of the most powerful ingredients out there for brighter, younger, fresher, juicier skin that glows with health. We’re huge fans of the stuff; here’s why.

HOW IT WORKS

Young skin is full of natural Vitamin C, which your body needs for the growth and repair of tissue. The chemical name for it is ascorbic acid, derived from the name of the disease it was originally used to treat – scurvy. Over time, your body produces less of the stuff, so if you’re over 25, it’s always a good idea to give your body a Vitamin C boost by eating more vegetables and citrus fruits, taking it as a supplement, and looking for it in your skincare.

Try Googling ‘anti aging’ and you’ll see a slew of results with Vitamin C references pop up; it’s an indespensable ingredient used in skincare and cosmetics, because it:

Tightens

The most powerful function of L-ascorbic acid (the chemical name for Vitamin C) is its role in the production of collagen, which slows down over time. Think of collagen as a filler for your skin that makes it tight and elastic, making it tougher for wrinkles to form. Vitamin C binds the two molecules responsible for collagen production together, thereby forming the springy, supple stuff that keeps skin looking young.

Try: GNC’s Vitamin C tablets are all-vegetarian and contain the 10000mg dose that doctors recommend. They chewable, so it’s just as well that they also taste delicious, which also makes it difficult to forget your daily dose.

Brightens

Vitamin C is one of nature’s best skin brighteners. It does this in two ways – by inhibiting the enzyme that develops melanin, your skin’s dark pigments, and by decomposing existing melanin within the skin, which is why it’s such a great dark spot-fighter.

If you’re a bit nervous about the idea of getting a chemical peel or laser for your hyperpigmentation, give Vitamin C a shot first.

Try: L’Occitane’s Immortelle Brightening Essence has instant skin brightening properties, glides on like a dream and makes skin so satiny soft, which is always a plus. For a lighter formula, try H20+’s Waterwhite Advanced Brigthening Essence.

Protects From Sun Damage

Research has found that Vitamin C can help protect the skin against sun damage and even skin cancer. A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C speeds up the skin’s natural repair systems and inhibits further damage.

But you know what’s even better than Vitamin C alone? Vitamin C and sunscreen! Sunscreens that contain Vitamin C give it that extra punch to protect your skin, so look for L-ascorbic acid in your sun protection.

Try: We’ve talked about our love for Murad before, and this time’s no different; theEssential C Sun Balm features SPF 35, Vitamins C, A and E, provides broad spectrum coverage and is light enough to carry with you everywhere.

Smoothens Skin

There are tiny blood vessels under your skin responsible for keeping it nice and healthy by carrying the oxygen and nutrients that your skin needs. When you up your intake of Vitamin C, whether in your diet or your skincare, the collagen it produces thickens and heals any damage to these vessels, helping them retain moisture and enhance blood circulation, and you know what better circulation means – plump, glowing, youthful skin.

Try: Dermalogica’s Pure Light is one of the best all-round moisturisers out there. It brightens and smoothens with Vitamin C and provides broad spectrum SPF 30 coverage, while hyaluronic acid boosts its wrinkle-fighting, skin-plumping capabilities. If you feel like your skin is aging and maybe looks a bit dull, give this a shot. 

THINGS TO REMEMBER

When applied topically, Vitamin C is 20 times more effective on your skin than when ingested.

Having said that, your body still needs the stuff to perform other roles like repairing damaged tissue, so don't skip the supplement.

Vitamin C is highly unstable; it breaks down and becomes ineffective when exposed to light, so always check that your Vitamin C products come in opaque or solid bottles, never transparent ones.  

 

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