You already know how good vitamin C is for you. The nutrient is probably best known for its ability to help keep you well and fight off the common cold. But did you know it’s also regarded as a super-ingredient when added into your skincare routine? It’s true… getting the recommended daily dosage of vitamin C for skin may be just what you need to snag the youthful, glowing, radiant complexion you desire.
Even though vitamin C is essential to complete a number of different functions in your body, you actually can’t produce it on your own. That means you have to get the full amount you need each day from dietary sources (or a high-quality supplement). Since vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, everything you don’t use gets flushed out of your body.
So, what are the best sources of vitamin C? And how does the vitamin help you obtain the smooth, hydrated, firm skin you dream about? Read on to find out all the juicy skincare secrets of this popular dietary vitamin.
What is Vitamin C?
There’s a reason your doctor tells you to load up on vitamin C, especially during the winter months or when you’re feeling rundown. It’s because it’s an incredibly powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen your body’s immune system. It does this by protecting your cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. When you have too many free radicals in your body, it creates a state of unbalance called oxidative stress – leaving you vulnerable to sickness and disease.
Along with helping to boost your immunity, studies also show that vitamin C may help fight high blood pressure, lower your risk of heart disease, and protect your memory and thinking as you age. (1)
In addition, your body needs it for a number of important functions, one of them being the production of collagen (the MOST abundant protein in your body).
Collagen, Vitamin C and Skincare
Without vitamin C, your body cannot make collagen– a vital component of all the connective tissue in your body. These fibrous tissues include your tendons, ligaments, skin, cartilage, bones, gut and blood vessels. It’s been said that collagen is the “glue” that holds your body together and keeps you looking and feeling youthful as you age.
The problem with collagen is that you produce less and less as you get older – which is why it’s essential to replenish both collagen and vitamin C in your body. When it comes to collagen, you can take a high-quality collagen supplement or powder that can easily be added into smoothies, apple cider vinegar shots or other drinks. And as for vitamin C, we’ll go into the best ways we recommend to get this nutrient later in the article.
First, let’s look at the incredible benefits of vitamin C for your skin…
Vitamin C Benefits for Skin
Due to its protective, regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C can do wonders for your skin and complexion. Here are some of the ways it can help you take your appearance from drab to fabulous!
- Helps Fight Signs of Aging
As mentioned, the powerful antioxidant properties of vitamin C help fight free radicals in your body. Since excess free radicals are responsible for inflammation in your skin, they can speed up skin aging, leading to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Vitamin C can help reverse these effects by healing damage caused by both free radicals and UV radiation.
- Brightens Dark Spots
Vitamin C inhibits melanin production, which is helpful for evening out your skin tone, and brightening up your skin. It also helps lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots, giving you a smooth, clean look.
- Helps Repair Skin
By supporting healthy cell turnover and regeneration, vitamin C helps counter the damage caused by the sun and the loss of your body’s natural collagen. It may even help fade scars.
- Boosts Collagen Production
As noted earlier, vitamin C is essential for the body’s collagen production. Without adequate collagen, your skin loses its elasticity and is subject to the effects of aging. More collagen means firmer, more moisturized skin, with a more youthful appearance.
- Helps Protect Skin from Sun Damage
Vitamin C helps protect you from the sun’s rays by thickening the outer (dermis) layer of your skin. While this helps guard you against potentially harmful UV rays and sun exposure, it’s not a replacement for sunscreen or SPF protection.
Best Places to Get Vitamin C
Many people turn to a high-quality vitamin C or multivitamin supplement in order to get enough of the nutrient each day. Still others interested in vitamin C for skin benefits may opt for a topical vitamin C serum to apply to their skin.
What is a vitamin C serum?
A serum usually has a thin, silky texture instead of a thick, creamy texture like a moisturizer. While a moisturizer aims to hydrate, serums are more concentrated in order to target specific skincare needs such as discolored skin, fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C Foods
Though many people use a vitamin C serum applied topically to their skin, some research shows that getting the nutrient this way may not produce the best results. Ideally, if going with the topical option, you also want it to contain vitamin E, plus an ingredient for great delivery within the body, for the best results.
In addition, numerous studies supported the consumption of lots of fruits and veggies (the main dietary sources of vitamin C) as beneficial for skin health. Your best bet is to become familiar with some of the top food sources of vitamin C. Though oranges contain quite a bit, you may be surprised to find that isn’t your best source!
The Top 10 Best Food Sources Of Vitamin C Include… (2)
- Guava – 1 cup (raw) has 377mg per serving
- Red Pepper – 1 cup (raw) has 190mg per serving
- Tomato Juice – 1 cup (canned) has 170mg per serving
- Orange Juice – 1 cup has 124mg per serving
- Green Pepper – 1 cup (raw) has 120mg per serving
- Hot Green Chili Pepper – 1 pepper (raw) has 109mg per serving
- Oranges – 1 large orange has 97.5mg per serving
- Strawberries – 1 cup (sliced) has 97.6mg per serving
- Papaya – 1 small papaya has 95.6mg per serving
- Pink Grapefruit Juice – 1 cup has 93.6mg per serving
How Much Vitamin C for Skin Do You Need?
Keep in mind that while there is a recommended daily amount of vitamin C, certain groups may need more. For instance if you don’t eat a lot of fruits and veggies or are on a restricted diet, you may need to also take a supplement. Or, people who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke will have more free radical damage, so will need more vitamin C to feel well. In addition, people with certain health conditions, or that don’t fully absorb nutrients will need more.
For everyone else, the guidelines according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is:
- 90mg per day
- 75mg per day
- 85mg when pregnant
- 120mg while breastfeeding
People who smoke:
- Add an additional 35mg daily
Ready to Up Your Vitamin C Intake?
If you read this article thinking “Wow, I really need to get more vitamin C!”, the good news is, you have so many ways to get it! Since fruits and veggies are the best food sources of vitamin C, go ahead and add a variety into all of your meals.
Have a busy lifestyle? No problem! Meal replacement shakes are a great way to get your nutrients on-the-go and many of them contain vitamin and mineral blends containing vitamin C. As an added plus, you can add your protein powder into a blender with your favorite foods high in vitamin C to create a delicious smoothie!