Vitamin C is one of the most abundant nutrients in nature. Studies have demonstrated its usefulness in promoting health and fighting infection. In recent years, the list of benefits of Vitamin C in skin care has also been growing. From a cure to the common cold, Vitamin C has taken the lead as one of the most important treatments against skin aging and darkening.
This article is a complete guide to the use of Vitamin C skin lightening. It will tell you how Vitamin C works for your skin, how to increase Vitamin C levels in your body and how to use topical Vitamin C. It will also teach you how to make your very own Vitamin C serum at home.
7 Fast Facts On Skin Pigmentation
- Skin color comes from a pigment called melanin. This pigment is made by melanocytes, a type of cell deep within the skin.
- Melanocytes convert an amino acid called tyrosine into melanin. It uses an enzyme called tyrosinase to do this.
- These pigments are then transported to the upper layers of the skin where they are deposited.
- The more melanin is produced, the darker your skin gets.
- Melanin comes in two forms. It can be a lighter, yellowish Pheomelanin or a darker brown Eumelanin.
- Many things can increase the activity of melanocytes. Sun exposure, estrogen imbalance, some medications and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation all increase the production of melanin.
- UV radiation, smoke and pollution produce free radicals that damage the skin and increase pigmentation.
Role Of Vitamin C Skin Lightening
Skin lightening products work by slowing down melanin production. These products can be chemicals, peels or vitamins for skin whitening. In the case of Vitamin C, it has a number of ways of making skin lighter:
- Vitamin C inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase. By doing this, less melanin pigments are produced. Studies show that Vitamin C works mainly on pigments surrounding hair follicles.
Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant. It fights free radicals that cause skin aging and darkening. It also increases the levels of glutathione and Vitamin E in your body. These two are strong antioxidants as well. Glutathione also works by making the skin produce Pheomelanin instead of the darker Eumelanin.
- Many studies show that topical Vitamin C repairs damaged skin when applied after sun exposure.
- Vitamin C acts as a mild exfoliant. By getting rid of dead skin cells, which contain melanin, the skin becomes smoother and lighter.
Benefits Of Vitamin C On The Skin
Aside from giving you fairer and brighter skin, Vitamin C has other key benefits, such as:
- Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis. Collagen is a vital part of the skin that gives it elasticity and makes it look young and firm. Vitamin C tells the body to produce more collagen. It is also an important cofactor in its production.
- Vitamin C fights redness and inflammation. It can remove red blotches on the skin and is effective in treating acne and rosacea.
- Vitamin C is essential in wound healing. It helps to keep the walls of blood vessels and capillaries intact. It stimulates new collagen production in wounds. Vitamin C also protects wounds from infection.
Boost Vitamin C In Your Body
Eat A Variety Of Fruits And Vegetables
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best way to increase Vitamin C levels in your body. Fruits such as guava, papaya, kiwi, oranges, lychees, strawberries and pineapple are packed with Vitamin C. You can also take natural fruit juices.
Vegetables rich in Vitamin C include peppers, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, snow peas, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, tomatoes and potatoes. Keep in mind that excessive heat in cooking can destroy Vitamin C so don’t overcook your vegetables and avoid reheating them.
Take Vitamin Supplements
The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C differs with age and gender. Adult males need at least 90 mg/day while women need 75 mg/day. Pregnant and breastfeeding females need higher levels. The maximum dosage is 2000 mg/day. Many sources claim that the ideal intake of Vitamin C is 1000 to 3000 mg per day.
The truth is that the body can only absorb a certain amount of Vitamin C. If you take 1000 mg of Vitamin C, only half can be absorbed into the blood. The body flushes out the excess. If you take supplements, divide it into two doses so the body can absorb more. Excess of Vitamin C can also be harmful in certain conditions, so it is best to consult with your doctor if you plan to take more than the recommended dose.
Avoid Cigarette Smoke And Pollution
Smoke and air pollutants decrease the amount of Vitamin C absorbed in the body. People who smoke one pack per day have 40% less Vitamin C than nonsmokers. Smoking also increases the body’s need for Vitamin C because it produces free radicals.
Limit Your Intake Of Caffeine And Alcohol
Alcoholic and caffeinated food and beverages such as coffee, tea, cola and chocolate inhibit the transport of Vitamin C.
They also decrease Vitamin C levels by their diuretic effect. Vitamin C is water-soluble, and when you urinate more, the more Vitamin C is lost from your body.
Be Careful When Taking Certain Medications
Some medications can also reduce Vitamin C levels in your body. These include certain painkillers, antibiotics and contraceptive pills. If you have to take these drugs, increase your intake of Vitamin C.
Studies show that prolonged periods of stress can lower Vitamin C stores in the body. Make time for relaxation and make sure to get enough sleep every day.
Is Oral Vitamin C Enough For Skin Lightening?
Your body cannot make its own Vitamin C, and getting the recommended levels through diet and supplements is important. It has many functions in the body like boosting your immune system, fighting free radicals and promoting collagen formation.
High levels of Vitamin C in the blood through diet and supplements means more Vitamin C brought to the skin. However, the plasma level of Vitamin C has a saturation point. Beyond this, it can no longer increase the amount of Vitamin C in the skin, even when you take large doses of this vitamin.
To get all of its good effects on the skin, you need topical Vitamin C. Topical Vitamin C is 20 times more effective than the oral form in terms of skin care. A diet rich in Vitamin C combined with topical application is the best way to get all of these benefits.
Everything You Need To Know About Topical Vitamin C
Topical Vitamin C for skin lightening is available in stores as creams, serums and transdermal patches. You should keep these things in mind when buying and using these products:
- Vitamin C needs to be absorbed deep into the skin to be effective. The outer water resistant layer of the skin is the main obstacle to Vitamin C transport. One way to overcome this is to lower the pH of Vitamin C products below 3.5. Always check the label for pH levels or ask if you don’t see them.
- Choose the right concentration. Many Vitamin C products range from five to twenty percent. The most effective range is between 15 to 20%. If you have sensitive skin, you can start with a lower concentration and then work your way up every 2 weeks.
- Look at the color. One of the things that limit the usefulness of topical Vitamin C is its instability. It oxidizes quickly after exposure to air, heat and light. When this happens, the product turns yellowish. Choose serums that are white or clear in color so you can note when they have turned. Throw away discolored products. They are no longer effective and can even be harmful to your skin.
- To slow down the oxidation of your product, store it in a cool and dry place. Choose the ones that come in dark bottles or metal tubes. Seal tightly after use.
- Many products contain synthetic derivatives of Vitamin C. These are more stable, but are much costlier. Studies show that L-ascorbic acid, the naturally occurring form, is more effective than any of these derivatives.
- Apply Vitamin C serum and let it dry before you moisturize. Moisturizers limit the ability of the skin to absorb Vitamin C. Topical Vitamin C can also sting a little, and moisturizers can be useful to soothe your skin.
- Apply sunscreen. Vitamin C fights the harmful effects of the sun but it does not replace the protective effects of sunscreen. Free radicals from UV light also decrease the amount of active Vitamin C in the skin so using a sunscreen prolongs its action.
- Choose products combined with tyrosine and zinc. These substances increase the absorption of Vitamin C by up to 20 times.
- Although it is generally safe for long-term use, topical Vitamin C can also have some side effects. These include yellowish discoloration of the skin, stinging, dryness and redness. Start with a lower concentration and discontinue use if irritation persists. Avoid applying Vitamin C around the eyes.
How To Make Your Own Vitamin C Serum
Vitamins for skin whitening in the market can be very expensive, and not all of them are effective. With the right ingredients and proper preparation, you can make your own serum that works the same at a fraction of the cost. You will need:
- A teaspoon of Vitamin C Powder (available in health stores)
- A teaspoon of glycerin
- A clean dark colored glass bottle
- Some pH strips
Combine the Vitamin C Powder and distilled water and stir. Once all the granules dissolve, you can add the glycerin. Test the acidity of your solution with pH strips. It should be at 3.5 or below. Transfer the contents to your glass bottle.
You can add a few drops of Vitamin E oil into this solution for extra benefits, but this is optional. If you have sensitive skin, you can start by using more water and observe your skin for signs of irritation. Make sure to seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place.
Give it a good shake before using. Each batch normally lasts around three days to a week. If you note any changes in color, discard it, and then make a new batch. Vitamin C skin lightening is a safe and natural way to achieve beautiful skin.
For best results, get enough Vitamin C from your diet and use Vitamin C serum on your skin every day. You don’t even have to spend loads of money for a serum that works. All you need are these basic ingredients and you can expect lighter and younger looking skin in a few weeks.