Role of Vitamin C in Skin Care
The use of Vitamin C in skin care is attributed to its property of aiding collagen formation and its anti-oxidant nature. Collagen constitutes 75 percent of our skin and is also responsible for a smooth, young, and healthy appearance to our skin, and thereby responsible for improving skin texture. Collagen formation in the body decreases with the aging(process. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) can regulate collagen production by stimulating type (I) procollagen synthesis in human skin.
Ascorbic acid is an important and common ingredient for many skin rejuvenation and anti-wrinkle products. Besides skin care, Vitamin C is effective in treating many skin related disorders. It is helpful in providing photo-protection, treating photo-damaged skin, and pigmentation disorders in the skin. The antioxidant nature of Ascorbic acid enables it to reduce the harm caused to skin due to its exposure to sunlight. Vitamin C provides skin care by reducing the damage to skin caused by free radicals, which are highly reactive oxygen molecules present in the atmosphere and produced by the interaction of sunlight with cell membranes and skin tissues. Vitamin C neutralizes the effect of free radicals in the skin.
Vitamin C does not absorb light and cannot be used as a replacement to sunscreen to aid skin care; rather Vitamin C should be considered a good companion to sunscreen products. Vitamin C holds first place among all skin care methods. Vitamin C skin care can be achieved by using Vitamin C lotions or Vitamin C creams.
Sources of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
The human body does not produce Vitamin C and it needs to be taken in our diet or as dietary supplements. Vitamin C can be taken from plants and animal sources, such as most fruits and vegetables but particularly broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, emblica officinalis (amla), green and red peppers, and potatoes (with skin). Fruits that are rich in vitamin C include guava, papaya, orange, and mango. Animal sources include calf liver, beef liver, pork, and cow milk. Ascorbic acid can also be taken through synthetic sources, in the form of drinks, capsules, and tablets and can be applied to skin in the form of lotions and creams.
Vitamin C is highly soluble in water and can be easily lost as a result of cooking because often the water is discarded before eating. Ascorbic acid is also destroyed when foods are exposed to oxygen, light, and heat. Oxidation in foods takes place when the foods are exposed to air. Vitamin C rich food must be stored in a dark and cool place, in a non-metal container.
Vitamin C can be taken in dietary as well as in topical forms for skin care. Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid is useful to both the skin and the whole body. L-ascorbic acid breaks down rapidly and is therefore difficult to produce for topical application and to produce skin care products. However once absorbed by the skin, L-ascorbic acid stays in the skin for up to 72 hours, and prevents UV immunosuppression, which causes skin cancer. Ascorbic acid cannot be washed, rubbed, or perspired from the skin.