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Skincare Chemistry 4: Vitamin C

Welcome to the start of spring everyone! Even if it’s snowing or there’s a heat wave going on, it’s still technically springtime! The flowers will slowly come into bloom, and we may even have some early fruits to choose from like strawberries and grapefruits. While tasty and delicious, one important benefit to most fruits is Vitamin C, which helps both your body and your skin.

Your Body, Your Skin, and Vitamin C

This week we will be looking at Vitamin C, a very common vitamin and nutrient found fruits and vegetables. It is chemically known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate and essential to keeping your body functioning and healthy. It is also found naturally in minute quantities in the body, but not enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C ranges anywhere from 15mg to 100mg per day, depending on a number of factors such as age.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning any excess of the vitamin that cannot be processed in the body is removed through urination. This also means that vitamin C cannot be stored in the body for later use. Overconsumption of vitamin C will often lead to loose stool and dehydration as your body keeps up to remove the excess.

On the other hand, vitamin C deficiency is quite rare in this day in age. However, it was extremely common centuries ago, leading to the once infamous disease called scurvy. Development of vitamin C deficiency is nothing to be concerned with, as the onset of scurvy takes weeks or months to fully develop, and is easily remedied within a matter of hours.

Vitamin C works effectively as an antioxidant, mitigating the effects of free radicals that wind up damaging your cells. It also it key in many bodily functions, such as the absorption of iron, which helps keep your blood oxygenated, and the formation of collagen, which helps your skin feel plump and smooth.

Collagen is the not the only thing that vitamin C can help your skin with. As stated, vitamin C reduces the damage from free radicals to your skin cells, but this can also be applied directly to the skin for similar effects. This also results in anti-inflammatory effect for your skin, which helps it reduce swelling and can help in the treatment of acne.

Topical Applications

Vitamin C is most commonly applied in the form of serums or creams. Vitamin C serums are a liquid base and drops are applied and massaged into the skin. Creams on the other hand have vitamin c mixed in and can be applied similarly to serums. Do note, serums are often more concentrated than creams, so only a few drops at most are needed.

A vitamin C serums is good for all skin types, but those with oily and normal skin will benefit from its effects the most. Those with acne or sensitive skin will also benefit from using a serum as the anti-inflammatory effects help calm the skin and make other skin treatments more effective.

Regardless of your skincare routine, a serum can be applied both in the morning and at night, after cleansing and toning your skin. Two to four drops are needed to a normal application. A first time application, however, should start slow with 1 application per day and about 2 drops.

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