What makes skin healthy and resilient?
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’s an essential aspect of healthy skin.
Things go a little bit haywire.
Sun exposure is the leading cause of rogue free radicals disrupting the normal functions in the skin. Your skin’s protective barrier can become unbalanced, leaving your skin a little less resilient than it should be.
One of the biggest culprits in the breakdown of our collagen is free radicals, which are unstable and random molecules that trigger a cascade of events to disrupt the harmony of our cells.
When left unchecked, free radicals 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, the formation of wrinkles.
Wrinkled skin is 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 want to focus on one action that will make a big difference to the integrity of your collagen when included in your daily life—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, eat more foods with vitamin C. There’s a little more to bring back harmony to your skin than just eating a few more serves of fruit. Although, that’s an excellent idea!
We’re all unique, and our needs vary.
We’re all unique, and our needs vary.
Stress, smoking, the sun all activate 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 doesn’t 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. Despite this noble 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 collagen production 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 mainly dependent on vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid).
Studies carried out and reported in sciencedaily.com 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 vitamin C in your diet, 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 skin care product.
The best on the market will be anhydrous (no water at all) or low water content with a pH below three or a stable lipid-soluble formula. In the case of L-ascorbic acid, and if the manufacturer cares enough, they’ll package it in dark glass bottles or, more preferable, airless tubes or pumps with minimal exposure to the air.
A crucial point as vitamin C is not stable and oxidises pretty quickly once exposed to oxygen.
What will vitamin C do for your skin?
In my personal experience, when it comes to vitamin C, the results speak for themselves.
If the vitamin C formula you’ve chosen is a good one, you’ll notice the skin becomes plumper, naturally more hydrated and functions at optimum health.
Your skin needs vitamin C to prevent ageing enzymes from taking hold and ruining your skin.
There is so much more vitamin C will do for your skin, and I’ll write about it in much more detail in an upcoming article.
In the meantime, most good skincare brands will have vitamin C in their repertoire.
Many companies will opt for pure L-Ascorbic acid, which is excellent; your skin will recognise it as a familiar friend. But and there’s always a but!
L-ascorbic acid is difficult to work with as it’s not stable. Unless the formula is anhydrous (water-free), the L-Ascorbic acid loses stability and is rendered useless.
The other alternative is a lipid-soluble formula known as Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, which is stable and lipid-soluble and provides better permeability.
Three stars that are giving you what you need to boost your collagen.
Ultraceuticals Ultra C23 Firming Concentrate
A brilliant formulation. One of the early pioneers in Vitamin C technology.
Ultra C23 Firming Concentrate is a sophisticated (water-free) formula. It contains a high concentration of L-ascorbic acid.
It’s a potent formula and packs a punch to support skin health, repair and maintain barrier function to ensure the skin remains well hydrated while providing this essential nutrient for collagen production.
Alpha H Vitamin C Paste
Containing 10% L-Ascorbic Acid boosts the skin’s ability to fight extrinsic and intrinsic ageing.
With the added benefit of Shea Butter to protect and hydrate the skin, Alpha H vitamin C Paste supports the skin barrier and leaving the skin feeling comfortable and more resilient.
This creamy paste leaves the skin velvety-soft as it supports the skin with a valuable dose of vitamin C.
Environ Focus care Radiance+ Intense C Boost Mela-Evan Cream.
With the challenge of stabilising pure Ascorbic Acid for long enough to give what your skin needs, Environ has opted for a lipid-soluble form of vitamin C.
What does that mean?
You’ll get all the benefits of a potent formula without the worry that your serum or cream has lost its boosting powers.
And now you.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there’s much you can do to keep your skin healthy and vitamin C plays an important role.
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See you next time,