Beauty 101: Is your collagen getting enough vitamin C?

C is for Collagen

What makes a strong and healthy skin?

Collagen is one of the building blocks of your skin. Found in your dermis (the living layer of your skin), Collagen (Type 1) is the fibre that gives your skin its strength, resilience and structure. It is an essential aspect of healthy skin.


Things go a little bit haywire.

As time goes by, the accumulation of sun exposure and other factors like hormonal changes can lead to dysfunctions such as disruptions to our skin’s protective layer and an activation of free radicals leaving your skin a little less than the resilient, bouncy skin it should be.

One of the biggest culprits in the breakdown of our collagen is free radicals, which are unstable and random molecules which trigger a cascade of events to disrupt the harmony of our cells. Left unchecked, they will lead to an increase in age activating enzymes which quite literally gobble up the very molecules, (Collagen) that give your skin its integrity. In other words, and I hate to say it, it leads to the formation of wrinkles.  


Wrinkled skin is a damaged and dysfunctional skin.

Sadly, wrinkled skin is damaged skin, but it’s not all doom and gloom, there is an upside!  There are many things you can do to slow down and prevent the premature formation of wrinkles and in some cases even reverse the appearance of wrinkles in the skin.  


Bringing back harmony to your skin.

Today I just want to focus on one action that, when included into your daily life will make a big difference to the integrity of your collagen and it is, L-ascorbic Acid, which you may know as Vitamin C.
Simple enough, right?
Vitamin C is essential to life and can be found in a variety of foods and is one of the most vital nutrients for the health of your skin. It should be simple,  just eat more foods with vitamin C and yet, there is a little more to bringing back harmony to your skin than just eating a few more serves of fruit.  Although, that’s a very good idea!


The everyday demands of our body.

We are all unique and our needs vary, but if stress, smoking, the sun and the activation of free radicals is in overdrive then your body will use up large amounts of your daily intake of vitamin C and as it’s a water-soluble vitamin your body will not keep much in reserve. 
Your body intuitively knows which organs need the most vitamin C support and often this valuable nutrient is withheld from your skin. You could think of this as a small sacrifice for the greater good of your body.  But despite the sacrifice, your skin still needs vitamin C to produce healthy collagen. 


So why does your skin need so much vitamin C?

You have specialised cells found in your dermis known as fibroblasts, these cells are responsible for the production of collagen and have the potential to repair damaged DNA (the blueprint of your cells). The activity of fibroblasts and the subsequent secretion of healthy collagen proteins is largely dependent on vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). 
Studies carried out and reported in revealed the following results. 


“The results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration into the wounded area. Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibroblasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions.”



What to do next?

It would be nice to think, all you need to do is eat more foods rich in vitamin C and I highly recommend you do that, but it would only be one part of the solution. The answer is twofold. 
1). Increase your vitamin C content especially from the berry fruits as they’re not only high in vitamin C but are one of the best food sources when it comes to building up an antioxidant network to deactivate free radicals and 2). Find a well-formulated Vitamin C product. The best on the market will be anhydrous (no water at all) or very low water content with a pH below 3 and if the manufacturer cares enough, will be in packaged in either dark glass bottles or airless tubes or pumps where there is minimal exposure to the air. This is pretty important as vitamin C is not stable and oxidises pretty quickly once exposed to the environment. 


What to look for?

In my personal experience when it comes to Vitamin C, the results speak for themselves. The skin becomes plumper, more naturally hydrated and functions at optimum health. Just what your skin needs to prevent the ageing enzymes from taking hold and ruining your skin. There is so much more vitamin C will do for your skin and I will write about in much more detail in an upcoming article.  In the meantime, most companies will have a vitamin C in their repertoire. I prefer L-ascorbic acid because it’s the form of vitamin C your body and your skin recognises, it’s the real thing!! However, other derivatives have proven to be beneficial and more stable, even if slightly less efficient in stimulating collagen production, however, all are excellent in waging the war on free radicals.



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5 stars with pure L-ascorbic acid.

1. Ultraceuticals, Ultra C23 is a brilliant formulation. A sophisticated formula with a very high percentage of vitamin c in a water-free formulation. 2. Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate is around 10% L-ascorbic acid and is a nice formula if you prefer a serum. 3. Alpha-H Vitamin C with Grape seed is another lovely formula with the added benefit of grape seed for antioxidant protection. 4. Another Australian brand is ASAP C  Super Serum; I like the pump-action packaging and again with pure L-ascorbic acid and finally, 5. Philosophy turbo booster C powder, it’s a simple solution giving you L-ascorbic acid in its crystal form so it remains stable and you can mix it with your favourite moisturiser. 
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is much you can do to keep your skin healthy.  If you want to know more about having and keeping an amazing skin you might like to check out my E-Book 30 Ways to Ageless Beauty.


And now you.

What have you done for your collagen lately? Found the perfect Vitamin C formulation? Leave a comment below and share your experiences. Or, if you liked this article why not share it with your friends.
See you next time,

The Beauty Issue