Vitamin C protects from skin aging. Do I need supplements?

vitamin C & skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body. Its appearance reflects the health of the body. Diet is vital for skin health and appearance. Nutrients protect the skin from wrinkles, dry, fragile, or thin skin, age spots, and other signs of skin aging.

The skin is composed of two layers. The outer layer, called epidermal, is the barrier of the body with the environment. The inner layer is called dermal. The dermal provides epidermal with nutrients. Also, dermal provides strength and elasticity to the skin.

The outer epidermis layer stops UV radiation, pathogens, and pollution. Actually, it’s pretty vulnerable to oxidative stress. Therefore, it needs high amounts of antioxidants, to prevent skin damage and premature aging. Vitamin C is particularly important for the skin, as it has potent antioxidant activities.

Moreover, nutrients can’t easily reach the cells of the epidermis. We must have high plasma levels of vitamin C for preventing skin premature skin aging!

The skin needs high amounts of vitamin C

Healthy skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C. Especially, the outer epidermal layer contains up to 5 times more vitamin C than the inner dermis layer.[1]

The skin needs vitamin C, in order, to fight pollution, UV radiation, and other factors which increase oxidative stress, such as smoking!

When our skin is exposed to the dangerous sun radiation, smoking or other environmental pollution, or when we age, the skin is depleted from vitamin C. Especially, the outer layer.

Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis

Vitamin C is necessary for the biosynthesis of collagen. Collagen is an essential component of the skin. It’s a protein which is the main building block of the skin. Also, collagen is vital for wound healing and thick hair.

The skin is mainly collagen. Actually, the inner dermis layer is about 75% collagen!

A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables is key for collagen synthesis. Besides vitamin C, the body needs high amounts of vitamin A, zinc, copper, and iron to produce collagen.

Vitamin C fights oxidative stress in the skin

Environmental pollutants, smoking, and sun radiation are the main factors for premature skin aging, as they increase the production of free radicals in the skin. High amounts of free radicals cause oxidative stress and eventually skin aging.

The skin needs high amounts of antioxidant compounds to fight them. Vitamin C is concentrated in the skin to neutralize these dangerous free radicals.

But, we need other antioxidants, as well. More antioxidants can fight oxidative stress more effectively. So, we should prefer getting vitamin C from food. Foods rich in vitamin C are fruits and vegetables. They contain many other antioxidants, as well.

Additionally, vitamin E protects the skin from aging. It has powerful antioxidants properties. Along with vitamin C, vitamin E is vital for a healthy skin. Consuming lots of foods high in vitamins C & E is the best way to reduce wrinkles and preserve an elastic and thick skin!

Moreover, vitamin C helps the body to recycle vitamin E.

Vitamin C may reduce age spots

Moreover, vitamin C may prevent the formation of age spots which are a sign of skin aging.

High levels of melanin can cause age spots. Melanin is a type of pigment which is responsible for our hair, skin, and eye color. Melanin is primarily decided by genetics. But, exposure to sunlight can also influence the production of melanin. Actually, melanin protects the vulnerable skin cells by absorbing the dangerous UV light.[2]

Vitamin C decreases melanin synthesis. Hence, the formation of age spots!

According to studies, following a diet rich in fruits and veggies improves skin color! Fruits and vegetables are particularly rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Vitamin C for faster wound healing

Furthermore, high doses of oral vitamin C are good for faster wound recovery! Above all, vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis which is vital for wound healing. On the contrary, impaired wound healing is a common sign of vitamin C deficiency.

Many studies have shown that increased vitamin C intake from supplements or topical application can reduce wound recovery time and inflammation. Topical application of a silicone gel with vitamin C can significantly improve the appearance of surgical scars.[3]

What causes premature skin aging?

The skin is in constant contact with environmental pollutants and sunlight which can cause premature aging. The skin may have signs of aging faster than other organs. Actually, changes in skin appearance are the first visible signs of aging!

Signs of skin aging are wrinkles, expression lines, pale skin tone, age spots, reduced elasticity, and also thin, dry or fragile skin!

If you want to prevent premature skin aging, you should:

  • follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. These foods are particularly rich in vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants are vital for skin health!
  • limit exposure to environmental risk factors such as smoking,
  • limit exposure to sunlight to the minimum. UV radiation plays a key role in skin aging.

Sun radiation is the main reason for skin aging!

The most common cause of premature skin aging is chronic exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Sunlight damages the skin! It produces reactive oxygen species which affect the structure and the good function of skin cells.

We need antioxidants to remove these dangerous compounds. Vitamins C & E, along with selenium are the most important antioxidants for a healthy young skin! Vitamin C and vitamin E improve the ability of the skin to resist to UV-induced free radicals and limit the damage from sunlight exposure.

But, sun exposure greatly depletes vitamin C in the skin. Therefore, we should get high doses of vitamin C every day. Especially, in the summer or when sunbathing.

The face, chest, and arms show the first signs of skin aging.

Vitamin C may affect wrinkle formation!

Moreover, high levels of serum vitamin C prevent the formation of wrinkles, as it’s necessary for collagen synthesis.

Above all, you should depend on eating lots of foods high in vitamins A & C, along with zinc, copper, and iron! The human body needs these nutrients, in order, to synthesize collagen. On the contrary, topical application of vitamin C isn’t effective for wrinkle decrease!

How much vitamin C do we need?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is only 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.[4] Pregnant women need 85 mg and lactating women need 120 mg of vitamin C per day, respectively.

Also, smokers need more vitamin C a day. They need at least 35 mg more vitamin C!

We can get the recommended daily dose of vitamin C from food. As a rule of thumb, 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day contain about 100 mg of vitamin C. If you want to boost your daily vitamin C intake from food, try to eat lots of foods high in vitamin C, such as broccoli, tomatoes, or peppers.

Certainly, the easiest way to get vitamin C is orange juice. An 8-oz glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice has up to 120 mg of vitamin C. Orange juice is good for the skin, as it contains many other antioxidants, as well.

Do we need vitamin C supplements for elastic skin?

We may protect the skin from premature aging with high doses of vitamin C. If you don’t consume enough food high in vitamin C, vitamin C supplements may help you protect skin health.

The upper safe dose of vitamin C is 2,000 mg. But, in most cases, a daily dose of 500 or 1,000 mg is more than enough. Above all, you should depend on diet for vitamin C. Foods contain more than vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables are pretty rich in other antioxidants, such carotenoids which are particularly beneficial for your skin!

Additionally, vitamin C supplements are effective in elevating skin vitamin C, if you have low levels of plasma vitamin C.

Last, but not least, vitamin C supplements seem to be more necessary in the summer, as the skin is exposed to the dangerous sunlight for hours! You may benefit from taking a 1,000 mg tablet of vitamin C before sunbathing.

In any case, you should consult your physician, before taking any supplements.

Is topical application of vitamin C better than oral intake?

Topical application with creams containing vitamin C may be beneficial for the skin, but it isn’t the best solution. Nutrients can’t pass the skin barrier effectively. They can’t easily penetrate into the lower layers of the dermis.[1]

Certainly, the best way to prevent skin aging is by taking high doses of vitamin C from food or supplements. Bloodstream can deliver more nutrients, such as vitamin C, into the dermal layer.

Moreover, a cream or serum can deliver vitamin C to the skin, only if we’re deficient in vitamin C. On the contrary, if we have high plasma levels of vitamin C, topical application won’t significantly increase vitamin C in the skin. The skin won’t absorb it.

So, a healthy diet is more powerful than a cream or serum! Beauty comes from the inside.[5]