Why You Should Be Treating Your Skin to Vitamin C
So. Vitamin C.
It's probably one of those things that you know you should get enough of, and you've probably been taught to dose up on it when you feel a cold coming on, but have you ever stopped to wonder why you need vitamin C, and what does it even do for you?
Fear not, TFO is here to show you the way.
In Years Past...
Vitamin C's main benefit has been known for a long time, and has thankfully helped to eliminate a disease that was the scourge of the travelling sailor in years past: scurvy. Most people today don't need to think about this because we tend to have enough in our diet so it isn't an issue, but it's always possible that if you're seriously deficient, you could develop scurvy.
Saying that vitamin C is important for your skin is an understatement. It's chemical name is ascorbic acid and it is crucial for collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps with cell growth and blood vessels, as well as maintaining firm and strong skin. It's also good for healing by helping wounds to scar to repair any skin damage.
Vitamin C is also credited with strengthening your immune system, protecting against cardiovascular disease and reducing your risk of stroke, and doctors say it's one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means it's easily absorbed through the water in your body. Your body doesn't store vitamin C, so you must replace your supply every day as excess amounts are flushed out through your kidneys.
Vitamin C slows the rate of free-radical damage -- free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. New research shows that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of vitamin C, not only neutralizes free radicals, but also reverses DNA damage.
There has been some research which suggests vitamin C may reduce sunburn caused by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation and prevent the consequences of long-term sun exposure, which can lead to skin cancer. This doesn't mean you should stop using SPF! You still need the added protection, but ensuring you get enough vitamin C in your diet will help to keep your skin supple.
Sources of Vitamin C
The easiest way to get vitamin C is through your diet, and thankfully, there are many vitamin C-rich foods out there. To ensure your diet includes plenty of vitamin C, eat citrus fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, collard greens and tomatoes.
Opinions differ on how much vitamin C your body needs - many doctors suggest taking 500 milligrams a day, which can often be found in daily multivitamins or vitamin C supplements. However, don't exceed more than 2,000 milligrams per day -- too much vitamin C may cause stomach irritation.