We all know that vitamin C is good for us, but why is it so important for the skin especially?
Here is everything you ever need to know about vitamin C, how it is used for overall health, and why it is absolutely vital for repairing and maintaining your skin health naturally!
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an organic compound and an essential nutrient. Unlike many other vital substances, the body cannot make vitamin C. It must be obtained from outside sources such as food, supplementation, or topical application.
Don’t worry, I will go over all the ways you can get enough vitamin C for vibrant, young-looking skin. Before we get into that topic, however, let’s take a look at some vital roles which vitamin C plays in the body as a whole.
First of all, vitamin C is vitally important for both gut and immune system health. It provides support for “epithelial barrier function,” according to a 2017 study done at the University of Otago in New Zealand. (1) The gastrointestinal epithelium, a part of the digestive system, is vital for the absorption of nutrients. It is also a protective barrier against pathogens.
In addition, vitamin C plays a pivotal role in the functioning of the immune system itself. C tends to build up in certain cells of the immune system, including neutrophils and lymphocytes. As an antioxidant, it has the ability to maintain balance on a genetic level. There is also some evidence to suggest that the presence of ample vitamin C in the immune system helps in the production and deployment of both B and T immune system cells. (2)
Vitamin C deficiency is linked to lower immune function, higher systemic inflammation, and higher risk of respiratory infection. (3)
In addition, research shows that C may help prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke, and COPD. (4) Studies in Denmark have shown that people who eat fruits and vegetables which are high in vitamin C have a significantly lower risk for heart disease. (5)
If all this wasn’t enough, getting enough vitamin C can also prevent cancer. As an antioxidant, C is known as a “quick-change artist.” Whenever it discovers a mutated or malignant cell, it converts into another substance called DHA, or dehydroascorbic acid. As DHA, it will be accepted into a cancer cell. Once inside, it changes back to ascorbic acid, where it will make quick work of killing the mutated cell. Amazing! (6)
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many roles vitamin C plays for overall health. For example, ascorbic acid is also vital for eye health, to maintain strong bones, and also, of course, for the skin!
Vitamin C for Skin
Perhaps the most important role C plays in the body is in the creation of collagen. Nowhere is this more important than in your skin. Just as collagen holds everything together in the body, vitamin C holds cells together during collagen creation, since it is essential for both collagen synthesis and storage. (7) In fact, without C, the body cannot make collagen at all. Vitamin C catalyzes hydroxylation, the process of adding hydrogen to oxygen. This is one of the first steps in the detoxification process as well as the first step in the creation of collagen for use in the skin and in the body in general. (8)
Vitamin C Depletion and Malabsorption
In my earlier article about collagen, you may recall that collagen levels tend to reduce by 1-2% each year after age 30. (9) Because of C’s link to collagen production, it is extremely important to eat a whole foods diet that includes lots of sources of vitamin C.
But sometimes merely increasing intake is not enough. Malabsorption occurs when a person has difficulty taking in nutrients from food. With malabsorption, it doesn’t matter how much vitamin C you intake through food or supplements. Much of those vitamins will simply get flushed out of the body.
As a side note, when malabsorption goes on for too long, a person can run the risk of becoming malnourished. Both malabsorption and malnourishment amongst older Americans is on the rise. (10)
When it comes to the health of your skin, low vitamin C levels and malabsorption of C can lead to:
- slow wound healing
- easy bruising
- dry skin
- wrinkled skin
- skin rashes (low skin immunity)
- scurvy-related skin conditions (11)
What You Can Do to Up Vitamin C Absorption
Like declining collagen levels, just because it is the norm doesn’t mean it has to happen to you! Here are four ways you can improve the absorption of essential vitamin C for the health of your skin and your whole body:
#1 Change Your Diet. Absorption of nutrients occurs in the gut, so making specific changes to heal gut-related conditions is paramount if you want vitamin C absorption to improve. Get plenty of probiotic and prebiotic foods, take in lots of healthy fats, and, of course, consume lots of vitamin and nutrient rich veggies that will naturally be high in vitamin C.
#2 Stop Smoking. If you smoke, stop now. A major report based on the NIH’s NHANES II survey of over 11,000 participants found an inverse relationship between vitamin C levels and cigarette intake. The more cigarettes a person smoked in one day, the lower vitamin C levels were in the body regardless of dietary intake. (12)
#3 Don’t Overdo the Sun. Vitamin C is so important for skin health in large part because it saturates the upper layer of the skin called the epidermis. Ascorbic acid is also a powerful antioxidant (as we mentioned earlier) and this means that vitamin C also has the ability to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. In fact, in the 1980’, the late research pioneer Linus Pauling was the first to call out vitamin C as a major protective agent against carcinoma. (13)
That being said, vitamin C in the epidermis can only protect so much. While a little bit of sun each day is actually a very good thing for vitamin D production and more, you can definitely overdo it. A study conducted at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine found that sun overexposure can adversely affect collagen production, in large part because too much sun means that C has to work overtime. Collagen levels in people with sun-damaged skin were roughly 20% less than in those who did not have sun overexposure, according to the Mt. Sinai study. (14)
#4 Use the Power of Plants to Revitalize Skin Topically. Finally, one of the most powerful ways to replenish and revitalize your skin is to use vitamin C topically. And the best way to do that is by using vitamin C-rich formulas based on organic herbs and plants.
That’s where CHARLÍS Luxury Skincare comes in. If you are new to CHARLÍS and our ToxinFree© line of one-of-a-kind luxury skincare products, then you are in for a treat. Our formulator Linda Chae (founder of the ToxinFree© label) has designed all of our products using dozens of wild-harvested plants and herbs. Many of these were carefully selected because they provided a whole food, full spectrum source of vitamin C.
CHARLÍS products use the power of C found in citrus and other plant substances to provide your skin with protection, detoxification, and healing. Here are some examples:
Bergamot Peel Oil. Bergamot is a member of the citrus family and contains high C content as well as monoterpenes for cleansing, toning, and healing. It is great for irritated skin and can also revitalize melanin production. Bergamot peel oil is found in the CHARLÍS Nourishing Anti-Aging Toner.
Grapefruit Peel Oil. Grapefruit not only contains high C content, but also another substance called AHA, or alpha hydroxy acid. Both C and AHA are heavy hitters for cell renewal. Because of C’s antioxidant power, grapefruit is considered a strong healer for acne conditions. Grapefruit peel oil is found in the CHARLÍS Breath of Life Oxygen Serum.
Aloe Vera. Aloe vera contains high amounts of C, E and A vitamins as well as beta-carotene. This makes aloe a strong anti-inflammatory which can also help with dry skin, burns, and acne. Aloe vera has also been shown to boost collagen production and improve skin elasticity. (15) Aloe vera is found in the CHARLÍS Restorative Anti-Aging Overnight Serum.
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. Last but not least, I am excited to tell you about a state-of-the-art form of vitamin C that we have included in our luxury skin line. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is a “lipid-soluble” C and one of the most absorbable forms available. It is also very stable, so it naturally stays fresher longer in the bottle and on your skin. The CHARLÍS Nourishing Anti-Aging Toner has been specifically formulated to include Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.
Support Your Skin Naturally with Vitamin C!
Here at the CHARLÍS Collection, we are committed to helping you experience amazing-looking, healthy skin, and there is perhaps no other natural substance that can help you do that than vitamin C!
CHARLÍS products work 100% naturally and with your own skin’s healing mechanisms through the miraculous properties of plants. Our formulations are non-GMO, wild-harvested, and 100% independently lab-tested to maintain the purest quality possible.
Experience the CHARLÍS Collection and feel the skin-revitalizing power of vitamin C today!
(1) Vitamin C and Immune Function
(2) Vitamin C Promotes Maturation of T-Cells
(3) Effect of vitamin C on inflammation and metabolic markers in hypertensive and/or diabetic obese adults: a randomized controlled trial
(4) Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Disease: An Update
(5) Vitamin C Benefits May Protect Us Against Heart Disease—and Lower the Risk of Early Death
(6) Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts
(7) Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C and Skin Health
(8) How Stuff Works- Ultimate Guide to Vitamin C
(9) Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin
(10) Causes of malabsorption in the elderly
(11) Vitamin C and Skin Health
(12) The influence of smoking on vitamin C status in adults.
(13) Effects of intake of L-ascorbic acid on the incidence of dermal neoplasms induced in mice by ultraviolet light
(14) Collagen alterations in chronically sun-damaged human skin.
(15) The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review