Your Daily Dose: Vitamin C
As far as I'm concerned, Vitamin C is the ultimate weapon in the war against wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis, provides protection from UV rays, lightens dark spots, and fights inflammation (including our very favorite form of inflammation - acne). You might be curious as to how Vitamin C accomplishes these hefty tasks. I know I was. (If chemistry makes you nauseous, feel free to skip to the end of this post.) Vitamin C plays multiple, critical roles in the synthesis of collagen - first, it aids in forming the polypeptide chains that make up collagen's precursor, procollagen, and second, it acts as a cofactor (a molecule that assists in biochemical transformations) for the enzymes responsible for converting procollagen to collagen. This means that Vitamin C is necessary every step of the way in collagen formation. More collagen means stronger, firmer, more youthful skin.
Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons just looking to cause trouble (i.e. cellular damage). Luckily, Vitamin C is an electron donor that is more than happy to pair up with wayward free radicals. Fewer free radicals mean fewer fines lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C's antioxidant activity also helps to reduce acne by preventing the oxidation of sebum. Oxidative damage lowers the oxygen content in sebum, which allows acne bacteria to thrive (acne bacteria love oxygen depleted environments).
Last, but certainly not least, Vitamin C lightens surface pigmentation caused by UV damage. UV damage causes melanin to pool in the upper layers of skin and Vitamin C has the remarkable ability to decrease melanin content. This lightening effect promotes a more even, luminous tone. Even skin tone is a hallmark of youth! But the key to reaping these benefits is not to eat more oranges; the key is topical application of Vitamin C. Topical Vitamin C is 20 times more effective than oral ingestion. (Vitamin C is water-soluble so most of what we consume is excreted through our urine.) But choose your topical preparations wisely - ascorbic acid is quickly oxidized and rendered virtually useless once it is put into a liquid (the typical vehicle for a topical preparation). In other words, it's a huge waste of money. Don't buy into it.
Ready to add a little Vitamin C to your daily skincare ritual? Here are a few Seed to Serum favorites:
Kypris Antioxidant Dew - This potent serum combines Vitamins C and E, Superoxide Dismutase, and Ferulic Acid to combat damaging free radicals, soothe inflammation, and HYDRATE! The light, silky texture is perfect for layering beneath your favorite oils and balms. Apply Antioxidant Dew after cleansing and toning in the morning and say hello to supple, dewy skin! (Want an even bigger boost? After smoothing on Antioxidant Dew, follow with one of Kypris' gorgeous elixirs!)
Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Serum – This ultra nourishing serum utilizes ascorbyl palmitate, a unique fat-soluble form of Vitamin C. This fat-soluble form is pricier than water-soluble ascorbic acid, but it is more stable, less irritating, and better absorbed by the skin. Additionally, this serum contains a host of antioxidant-rich and omega-rich oils to further brighten, heal, and hydrate the skin. It is a wonderful option for normal to dry skin types. (Searching for an all-over glow? Check out the Vitamin C Body Oil!)
The Little Alchemist Ultra Radiance Serum – This gorgeous serum also features an active, lipid-soluble form of Vitamin C, which has demonstrated a greater affinity for skin. The fatty acid component helps aid penetration and protects the vitamin C component from rapid oxidation. Additionally, this serum features a host of anti-aging powerhouses, including date seed, Co Enzyme Q10, acai, wheatgrass, and goji berry. Wrinkles and hyperpigmentation are no match for this mighty serum.
de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate – This exquisitely formulated exfoliator features a host of clays and powders, including skin-brightening Vitamin C. Water-soluble ascorbic acid remains potent, as it only becomes activated moments before it is applied to the skin. Talk about an intelligent use of Vitamin C powder. Use this exfoliator whenever skin is looking dull and congested for an immediate boost in radiance!
Laurel Facial Mask: Brighten – This ultra healing mask utilizes Vitamin C in its whole form, rather than relying on synthesized Vitamin C. It features whole plants rich with Vitamin C, including organic and sustainably farmed Camu Camu, Acerola Berry, and Rosehip Fruit. Camu Camu is one of the highest plant sources of vitamin C and helps to support natural collagen production, while smoothing, firming, and brightening the skin. Apply one to two times per week and say goodbye to post-acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.