Vitamin C Benefits for the Skin — Dermatologist Advice

This free-radical-fighting power isn’t just important for helping to keep signs of premature aging at bay. In neutralizing these free radicals, vitamin C may also help protect skin from precancerous changes caused by UV exposure, Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, previously told Allure.

How else does vitamin C benefit the skin?

Amazingly, vitamin C’s skin-saving benefits aren’t only attributed to its antioxidant properties. It has plenty of other skin-healing properties that make it an excellent choice for anyone in pursuit of happy, healthy skin. For one, studies have shown that when vitamin C is used topically, it can help accelerate the skin’s production of collagen and elastin. Remember: Collagen and elastin are both naturally occurring protein fibers that help keep skin plump and firm. So, in helping to promote collagen production, topical vitamin C can help prevent signs aging of the skin, including fine lines and lack of elasticity.

Another cool thing about the ingredient: As Allure has previously reported, It inhibits the action of the enzyme tyrosinase — the main enzyme responsible for the conversion of tyrosine into melanin — and therefore decreases melanin formation. And it’s melanin formation that causes skin discoloration like dark spots and hyperpigmentation, Dr. Wexler explains. With continued topical use, vitamin C can help prevent dark spots from forming in the first place—and can also reactively treat the ones you might already have acquired.

How can you add vitamin C to your daily skin-care routine?

“The key is not the vehicle that vitamin C comes in, but the form of vitamin C that is being applied,” explains Kristina Goldenberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. The term to look for is ascorbic acid (also known as L-ascorbic acid), which is the most stable and effective form of vitamin C in skin care.

That said, all three dermatologists agree that the best type of vitamin C skin-care product to use is serum, because “serums are more effective than creams or toners” since the thinner texture penetrates the skin more easily, says Dr. Wexler. (That said, there are some of the market that are more lotion-like and could be a good choice for those with drier skin types.) Moreover, adding vitamin E into the mix is like a one-two punch of skin-saving goodness.

“Pure ascorbic acid has consistently been proven to be the most effective at penetrating the skin barrier,” Dr. Wexler says. “Vitamin C effectiveness [also] increases when combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E. Together, they can double protection against free-radical damage.”

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