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Vitamin C: An Investigation and Discussion

vitamin c
February 6, 2009 Reviewed by Claire 3 Comments

The story goes that in the 18th century British Naval Surgeon James Lind stumbled upon quite a discovery: a cure for the scurvy-inflicted sailors on his fleet. What he noticed was that those who chewed on or ingested any kind of citrus fruit were soon rapidly cured and restored back to their previous ship-shape condition.

From there to here, we see Vitamin C on the shelves in every market. It will cure the common cold. Heal your wounds. Keep your heart pumping. Prolong the season of youth in your skin, your body, your mind.

Promoter of collagen. Free radical fighter. Like an Hindu God (or Goddess), Vitamin C appears on the anti-aging skin care scene like a multi-faceted, diaphanous deity: I am all things to all people. But, like those other Gods, who reside on Olympus, we see its true personification in reality as something else: Temperamental. Moody.  Misunderstood -- Yet still managing to hold our attention through flashes of genius, strokes of good luck.

We, the consumers, hear this siren song and go forth, lapping up this Vitamin C product and slapping on that one. Yet, when it comes to skin care, many of us find our hopes (and dollars) dashed. We find our Vitamin C products inefficient at best and irritating at worst. This, while we see others gladly galloping around showing off the results of their split-face experiment with a twinkle in their eye: this is what vitamin c can do for you, they smile confidently, knowing that they are doing no further damage to their once dwindling collagen reserves no matter how high the corners of their mouth rise.

The truth is this. Vitamin C -- as the body's major natural aqueous antioxidant, present, too, within the extracellular matrix of the face -- is important for anti-aging skin care.  And, as long as the stars are aligned, Vitamin C products do work. The trick is knowing how and why and when and who, etc… to manage the numerous rotating variables that must be taken into account when selecting Vitamin C skin care products.

For Example, did you know that... (From: Topical Vitamin C in Aging)

-- Human beings cannot synthesize Vitamin C; they must ingest it, and body control mechanisms limit absorption and subsequent delivery to the tissues?

-- And that skin, which comprises about 8% of body tissues, gets approximately that same amount from oral Vitamin C?

-- And that there’s an inverse correlation between concentrations of ascorbic acid (vitamin c) in the skin and increasing age?

-- But that once it reaches skin cells (as is with the case when it was added to fibroblast cultures), elderly donor cells, previously on a plateau of growth, are stimulated to proliferate?

So, as you can see, if you can manage to get Vitamin C delivered to your skin the results are indeed worth it.

That's why you'll notice a series of posts on Vitamin C throughout the month of February -- from pinning down the exact definition and nature of Vitamin C to investigating its numerous derivatives, from its proven effects on the skin to tips and tricks for application, plus reviews and DIY Vit C skin care serums -- that we hope will help you on your quest for smooth, glowing, youthful skin.

But we'd like you to get into the discussion. Do you have a particular question about Vitamin C that you would like TIA to address?  Have a favorite product to recommend?  A DIY serum to share?

Related posts:

Part 1: What is it? Vitamin C: An Investigation & Discussion

Part 2: What is it? Vitamin C: What it does for your skin

Part 3: What is it? Vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid

Part 4: What is it? Vitamin C derivatives

  • January 26, 2011

    by Nancy

    I have tried both John Masters and MyChelle Vitamin C products. MyChelle (serum) has the higher concentration, and I have noted significant results fading pigmentation on both face and hands. John Masters' product is in a different vehicle than a serum: very pleasant to use, results not as dramatic.

  • February 6, 2009

    by Darrell

    Cost and ingredient synergy impacts how many potion-makers select which C.

    Ascorbic acid is on the least expensive end of the scale, but is not very stable and has a high irritation rate.

    Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is on the other end of that scale...one of the most costly, but extremely stable, penetrates the skin well and very well tolerated.

    Some vitamin C's are only water soluble and some are only oil soluble and there are advantages to both. Vitamin C commonly synergizes with other antioxidants, most of which are exclusively either water or oil soluble, so pairing the right vitamin C with "like-minded" antioxidants is an important consideration (separate from cost considerations) when producing an effective vitamin C product.

  • February 6, 2009

    by Renata

    the question of vitamin C is very confusing. There are many to chose from, some are irritating some are less, some are effective and some are not. Yet it seams that manufacturers still chose to use different ones. How can it be? Should not there be one that is less irritating and more effective and most stable? For example Ascorbic acid is used as the most effective form of Vit C, yet it is irritating and unstable. So what is the point?

    Renata

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