This time of year you’re probably all about the vitamin C to prevent or help recover from a cold or the flu (it’s no coincidence vitamin-C-rich citrus fruits are in season in the winter, too). And for good reason—vitamin C helps to boost immune function and is vital for cellular function to help you fight off winter germs. But did you know it’s also a superstar for skin health as well?
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, vitamin C’s antioxidant benefits and collagen-building properties make it a critical skincare ingredient. Aging, the Institute notes, causes a decline in vitamin C “in both the epidermis and dermis. Excessive exposures to UV light or pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke and ozone) may also lower vitamin C content, primarily in the epidermis. Fortunately, it’s an easy nutrient to drench your skin in.
7 Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin
- Collagen: As noted, it’s a collagen booster, specifically increasing the production of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, which are critical in collagen formation. Collagen helps to prevent wrinkling (or at the very least, decrease its appearance) keeping skin firmer, stronger looking, and healthier.
- Wound Healing: This time of year dry, itchy skin or blemish outbreaks are most common. Vitamin C is critical in speeding the healing of damaged skin and may decrease the appearance of scarring as well.
- Sun Protection: Not an effective replacement for sunscreen, but vitamin C will help to protect against free radicals that can result after sun exposure (as well as environmental pollutants). Its unique antioxidant composition offers protection from UV rays and may also help to reduce the pain and length of sunburns.
- Prevents Hyperpigmentation: “Brady Bunch” fans may remember Jan relentlessly trying to rid herself of freckles with a lemon to a humorous degree, but there’s some truth to the technique. Vitamin C can lighten discoloration including freckles and age spots. But you’re probably going to want to use a specifically formulated product rather than straight lemons to yield results.
- Hair Growth: Biotin is often pointed to as the hair growth vitamin, but C is not far behind. And a deficiency can lead to dry hair or split ends. Increasing your vitamin C intake can be most often noticed in thicker, more lustrous hair.
- Prevents Dandruff: Like its effects on dry or irritated skin, vitamin C is a friend to your hair follicles, fighting bacteria and removing debris from the scalp to encourage new hair growth and decrease itchiness and flaking.
- Prevents Grey Hair: Just like wrinkling, greying hair is a natural part of aging and there are few among us who will be grey-free as we age. But increasing your vitamin C consumption may at least slow the greys down a bit. Antioxidants in vitamin C help prevent the premature aging of the hair which can help it keep its color longer.
Check out a few of our favorite vitamin-C-rich products: