Vitamin C in medical terminology is called ascorbic acid or ascorbate, or L-ascorbic acid (chemical formula C6H8O6) is an essential nutrient that keeps the body and the immune system functioning. Vitamin C aids the synthesis of collagen in the body. It helps in wound healing, repair, and maintenance of bones, teeth, cartilage, and tissues. It is also one of the best antioxidants which fight the free radicals, the ones which damage the skin cells. Vitamin C helps in the skin regeneration process by neutralizing the free radicals and repairs the damaged skin cells.
The deficiency of Vitamin C in the body develops a severe condition called Scurvy. Lack of this vitamin in the body makes the collagen very unstable to perform its duties, and several other enzymes do not cooperate in the body.
Different Forms of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C, which is also termed as ascorbic acid, is found in different forms. Here we list you some of the various forms of Vitamin C.
1. L Ascorbic Acid (LAA):
Vitamin C, in its chemically active form, is called LAA. Vitamin C is equally found in L Ascorbic acid and D ascorbic acid, the isomeric molecules which are mutually interchangeable. However, only LAA is biologically available, and hence this is used for medicinal purposes. L Ascorbic acid is found abundantly in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemon. (1)
2. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP):
Vitamin C, in its pure form, is very unstable in water. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) is a derivative compound of Vitamin C, which water-soluble. MAP is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent which prevents sebum oxidation in acne vulgaris. MAP achieves a constant delivery of Vitamin C into the skin, which helps in controlling the sebum excretion from the sebaceous glands, thus treating the acne. (2)
3. Ascorbyl Palmitate:
This, Ascorbyl Palmitate is a fat-soluble form of Vitamin C formed from Ascorbic acid and Palmitic acid. Vitamin C is well known for the protection of skin from harmful UV rays and sunburns. Research says that Ascorbic Palmitate reduced the cellular levels of reactive oxygen following ultraviolet B irradiation. The use of Ascorbyl Palmitate products helps us in preventing skin reddening when exposed to the sun. (3)
4. Ascorbic Glucosamine:
Glucosamine is also termed to as glucosamine sulfate. This is a natural amino sugar that is upgraded with an extra dose of vitamin C. This helps in bone health, cartilage, skin, and contributes to the formation of collagen.
5. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate:
This is the stable, oil-soluble form of Vitamin C, which is considered as an analog of L Ascorbic acid. Unlike the Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which is unstable in water, this is fat (lipid) soluble. The study says that tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate because of its solubility it penetrates the skin. This gels well with other forms of vitamin C and retinol for enhanced effectiveness.
6. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate:
This is also a stable and water-soluble form of Vitamin C. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate functions as an antioxidant that fights the free radical and helps in skin regeneration. This compound represents a stable precursor of Vitamin C and ensures a constant delivery of Vitamin C into the skin. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate helps in the prevention and treating of acne vulgaris.
Benefits of Vitamin C For Skin:
Vitamin C has a variety of skin benefits because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. Here is a list of benefits.
a) As told earlier because of the antioxidant property, it fights and neutralizes the free radicals, which help in skin regeneration.
b) Vitamin C is highly acidic, and due to this, when applied topically on the skin, it is triggered to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen.
c) Vitamin C helps in preventing premature aging, sagging of the skin by promoting the production of collagen.
d) Vitamin C aids in healing wounds quickly and helps in preventing scars.
e) It helps in preventing hyperpigmentation, including age spots and melasma, acts as a barrier for Ultraviolet rays penetrating the skin.
f) Vitamin C prevents and treats one of the common skin problems, “Acne.” Also, it helps fade the dark spots caused by acne.
g) The damage caused due to free radicals due to sun exposure causes inflammation, which leads to wrinkles and dark sunspots. Vitamin C acts as a protector against the sun.
h) Vitamin C makes the skin appear smooth by activating cells called fibroblasts, which creates new collagen.
i) MAP, one of the derivatives of Vitamin C, is known to retain moisture on the skin, thus keeps you hydrated.
j) The dark circles under the skin can be faded out with the help of Vitamin C products.
How to Use Vitamin C Products:
There are many Vitamin C products available in different forms in the market. Let us discuss how to use these products.
1. Vitamin C Serum:
This is the best and readily available product in the market. There are a variety of vitamin C serums available in the market with small sprinklers.
How to Use:
- Firstly apply a small amount of the serum on the forearm, which can be easily hidden to check for any allergic reactions.
- If there is no allergic reaction, continue applying the serum gently on the face and massage lightly with your fingers so that the serum penetrates the skin.
- Before starting to apply this serum on the face, clean your face with a face wash to remove the dirt, and then rub your face with a clean towel.
- For good results, apply moisturizer after applying the serum on the face.
- Ideally, this has to be used once or twice per day.
- Make sure that these serums are not exposed directly to the sunlight and store them in a cool place.
2. Vitamin C Oil:
Vitamin C oil is the same as that of serum except that oils provide nutrition and hydration to the skin. Serums help repair the damaged skin. Depending on your skin types, choose the oil like less concentrated or less acidic vitamin C oil.
How to Use:
- All the oils do not go well on all skin types. Hence a small patch on the body should be selected first for any allergic reactions.
- Take some amount of oil in your hand and apply it gently over the area where you intend to. If it is the face that you intend to apply on massage gently in circular motions till the oil penetrates the skin.
- Leave it overnight and then clean your face with a mild soap.
- For best results, apply it regularly during the nights. Avoid using the oil during the daytime so that your skin doesn’t look oily.
- Store this oil in a dry and cool place.
3. Vitamin C Supplements:
Vitamin C, in its natural form, is found in many fruits and vegetables like oranges, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, etc. The intake of these products daily will maintain the vitamin C content in the body. But if there is a severe deficiency of vitamin C, the doctor suggests you take some vitamin C supplements.
The intake of vitamin C recommended daily for females is 75mg, and for males, it is 90mg.
How to Use:
- As far as possible, consume only natural foods where vitamin C is abundantly available. Red sweet pepper, orange juice, grapefruit juice, and kiwi fruits are the best sources.
- Eat leafy vegetables such as spinach to meet the requirement.
- As per the advice of the doctor, take 1 or 2 pills of vitamin C per day. Avoid using supplements if you experience any side effects.
- Always medicines should be stored in a dry and cool place.
4. Vitamin C Soap:
Vitamin C soap accelerates the production of skin collagen to give you firmer and plump skin and also smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.
How to Use:
- Any product before using should be tested on a small patch area for any allergic reactions. The same holds for this soap as well.
- If no allergic reaction is seen, first use this soap to wash your face for at least 2-3 days and then start using it to your body.
- Make sure that the soaps are not being exposed directly to sunlight.
Side Effects of Using Vitamin C Products:
a) Since vitamin C is acidic, it leaves burns and redness for sensitive skinned types.
b) The citrus content present in vitamin C irritates sensitive skin.
c) A high dosage of Vitamin C in supplemental form can cause digestive distress like diarrhea, nausea, and even kidney stones.
d) Excessive supplementation of Vitamin C causes iron overdosage within turn affects your heart, pancreas, liver, thyroid, and central nervous system.
Vitamin C is a boon for the skin and face and can do wonders if used in limited quantities. Head up to your grocery store to pick up the Vitamin C products to try them on your skin, and don’t forget, we are all ears and eyes open to know your experiences.