Column: Vitamin C and the Skin

Skincare Column
Vitamin C and the Skin

Topical vitamin C is effective in preventing skin damage and treating compromised skin.

The antioxidant is essential for healthy skin, but is not produced by the human body. For this reason, skin care regimens must be supplemented with topical vitamin C products. However, just because a product label lists vitamin C as an ingredient doesn’t mean it contains it in a bio-available form.

In fact, L-ascorbic acid is the only form of vitamin C that’s effectively assimilated into the body topically and orally. However, L-ascorbic acid is difficult to formulate in a stable preparation for cosmetic use. Because of this inherent problem, many skin care formulations use vitamin C derivatives that are more stable in formulations.

Recent studies show the numerous positive effects of vitamin C on the skin. L-ascorbicacid acts as an antioxidant in the skin, scavenging harmful free radicals created by sunlight, smoking, pesticides, heat, cold and pollution.

It’s also effective in counteracting the effects of these stressors. For example, it can reduce wrinkling, photo damage, dehydration and brownspots, by stimulating the skin to produce collagen and inhibiting tyrosinase – a copper-based enzyme to minimize discoloration.

Studies also show that those using a daily application of 10 percent L-ascorbic acid serum over a three-month period showed a statistically significant improvement in photo-damaged  facial skin in 84.2 percent of treated patients over placebo patients.

When used properly, vitamin C can play a significant role in protecting the skin as well as treating it after damage has occurred.

June English is a licensed esthetician and has a skin care business in Los Alamos at 127 East Gate Dr. For more information, visit


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