Vitamin C and your skin: Why it is essential for the building and maintaining of collagen – Calgary Herald
If there is one skin-care product everyone should use, it is vitamin C. L-ascorbic acid is the naturally occurring form of vitamin C â€” a water soluble vitamin essential for skin integrity.
The absence of vitamin C from the diet can result in scurvy, a disease in which the skin breaks down and wounds donâ€™t heal. This was often the case in long sea voyages and incomplete diets. To prevent scurvy, the British navy stocked the fleet with limes, a citrus fruit rich in vitamin C, and the disease disappeared. That is how the term â€˜limeyâ€™ came to signify a British sailor.
Vitamin C is essential for the building and maintaining of collagen, which is the primary substance of the skin. When collagen breaks down, wrinkles and laxity result. So itâ€™s important to get vitamin C into the skin and maintain a healthy collagen layer in the dermis.
As we all know, vitamin C is well absorbed orally. However, the level of circulating vitamin C is limited by the physiology of the body, and it does not concentrate in the skin in therapeutic amounts.
If we want to get higher levels, we must put it directly on the skin. There are two options to do this: It can be injected directly into the skin, but no one wants dozens of little vitamin C injections. The other option is to apply it topically. The water soluble vitamin C molecule doesnâ€™t readily penetrate the skin, so various tricks should be employed to help its passage, including giving it a free ride along with the fat soluble vitamin E.
We also know that in addition to helping build new collagen, L-ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant, helps reverse sun damage, fights wrinkles, and actually acts to help prevent new sun damage by its antioxidant effect. Obviously, vitamin C should be part of any good skin-care routine.
Here is where things get complicated: L-ascorbic acid is readily oxidized upon exposure to air and light, which makes it difficult to compound and package. To avoid this, many manufacturers simply use various esters of vitamin C, which are not L-ascorbic acid, and are nowhere near as potent as the pure substance but can legally be called vitamin C.
Over the years, my clinic has developed vitamin C sera using 15 per cent solutions of L-ascorbic acid in combination with vitamin E and melatonin.
The melatonin factor is a key ingredient. Melatonin itself is a potent antioxidant. In combination with vitamins C and E, it seems to potentiate the antioxidant effect of the serum, and in turn creating a situation where the sum is greater than the parts.
Although I have pride of authorship in Youth Corridor Ultimate Antioxidant C Boost, there are a number of excellent vitamin C sera available. Be sure to look for 15 per cent L-ascorbic acid in the ingredient list. Thatâ€™s the real thing. Apply vitamin C serum to clean skin every morning. Your skin will thank you for it.
Gerald Imber M.D. is an internationally known plastic surgeon and anti-aging authority. Learn more at http://www.YouthCorridorClinic.com. Email your skincare questions to Dr. Imber at firstname.lastname@example.org.