Vitamin C For Your Skin

Posted on June 30, 2014

Vitamin C for Your Skin?
By this time of the summer we all have been reminded of the hazards and effects of over exposure to UV rays. For those who may ignore these warnings, my favorite saying to them is “If your skin could speak, it would be screaming!”  Estheticians can be the first line of defense in maintaining the health of your skin. After many years of service, I have learned the signs that trigger my referral to your dermatologist.
My motto: err on the side of caution.

When Enough is Enough.
One common mistake in the application of sunscreen is not using enough. This is something I witness frequently. Multiple studies have shown that most users only apply one fourth to one fifth of the sunscreen or block that they need. The scary part is that with this amount, an SPF 30 would only offer the protection of an SPF 3 or 4. Wow! These levels are not considered to be safe sun protection.

When Sun Shines on the Skin
Before we get to how Vitamin C can play a part in your skin’s health, let’s look below the surface. When sunlight shines on the skin, the shortest UV ray (B—the burning ray) is absorbed into the epidermis and oxygen free radicals are formed. These oxygen free radicals can destroy cells, mutate cells, and may cause skin cancer. Now add UVA rays (the longer of the two) which penetrate 30-40% deeper into the skin, causing wrinkles, photo damage, leathery texture, and loss of collagen and elastin. It is like a little indiscriminate bomb destroying and mutating all along its way.

A few factors that can promote the formation of oxygen free radicals are: external stress, UV rays, heat (physical or chemical), smoke, and pollution. The good news is that our skin has its very own specific immunological defense system (SIS). Inside the epidermis are Langerhan Cells. These cells play a key role in SIS. They are able to correct environmental influences, but UV radiation kills these cells and diminishes their function. The result is immunosupression.

Topical Vitamin C
One cutting edge solution that is a step above sunscreen and goes below the surface is topical vitamin C. By providing pharmacological levels of L-ascorbic acid directly to the skin, we can interfere with environmental oxidative insults.

These are some benefits to topical vitamin C:

    •    Neutralizes reactive oxygen free radicals
Protects against UVB and UVA damage
Regenerates vitamin E and other anti-oxidants
Stimulates collagen growth.

    •    Prevents UV immunosupression

    •    Acts as an anti-inflammatory
Using true topical vitamin C is crucial. Purity, percentage, and PH level will affect the performance of a vitamin C product. It must be completely absorbed by the skin to be completely effective.

Beware and Compare

My recommendation for a fully studied and highly regarded by the medical community vitamin C product is Skin Ceuticals: CE Ferulic and CF Phloretin. Both of these provide equally powerful photo protection.
So add topical vitamin C to your arsenal of skin defense to protect your skin from within as well as using sun block for the surface. Now you are protected from the inside out!

Margie Carr is a California State Board Licensed Clinical Esthetician and owner of Reflections Skin Oasis.