Who doesn’t want brighter skin? Luckily, Vitamin C normally used for boosting the immune system can also help to brighten your skin. Applied topically or taken by supplements and other natural health products, vitamin C has a variety of benefits for the skin including make it brighter.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that we don’t produce naturally but is found in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C helps to keep our immune system, cardiovascular system, and brain in good health. Vitamin C has also been shown to help slow the aging process of the skin as it plays a significant role in collagen production. Collagen is what helps our skin fight off environmental toxins, look plump, as well as keeping our nails and hair strong. Without vitamin C, our body cannot produce collagen and as we age, we naturally produce less.
What Causes Skin Dullness?
There are many a lot of factors that contribute to having dull skin. Here are some of the main culprits.
- Environment – Unfortunately pollution, dirt, and sulfur dioxide create free radicals that damage our skin and collagen production. Washing your face twice a day can help get rid of some of these free radicals.
- Stress – When you’re stressed your body releases cortisol which can switch on your fight or flight response. When this happens blood flow is encouraged to your vital organs and less so to your face giving it less colour and vitality.
- Dead skin cells - Dullness is often caused by dead skin cells. When you exfoliate it removes these cells to reveal fresh new ones that give off a glow versus the ash colour that dead ones do. By washing your face twice a day, try also exfoliating twice a week to help keep that glow.
- Dehydration – Our bodies are made up of mostly water and chances are you’re not getting enough. Just like dehydration will have effects on your body, dehydration will also have negative effects on your skin. Drink enough water and ensure you’re using a moisturiser with hydraulic acid. For deeply dehydrated skin, try using face masks one or two times a week.
- A Poor Diet - If you’re not getting enough vitamins and trace minerals it can show up on your skin. Eating a healthy diet and taking a multi-vitamin supplement will help to keep your skin glowing.
- Sleep – Not getting enough sleep will cause you to, well, look tired. Fatigue shows on our skin because sleep is the best time for our skin cells to repair and regenerate. So the shorter your sleep, the lesser time skin cells have the to multiply.
- Smoking – If you’re a smoker, you already know that it’s bad for your health. Well, the news doesn’t get any better when it comes to your skin. Smoking causes collagen to break down which will affect the integrity of your skin. If you want brighter skin and are still smoking, there is no better time to stop.
- Sun Exposure - Too much time spent in the sun also weakens collagen and can result in hyperpigmented and mottled skin, as well as a loose texture and appearance. While it’s impossible to avoid the sun completely, be sure to wear sunscreen everyday even if you spend most of it inside.
How Vitamin C Benefits and Brightens the Skin
How does vitamin C fit into all of this? Well, vitamin C has been shown to be one of the most effective vitamins for your skin to help with dullness and aging. Research found that vitamin C was the most effective antioxidant for the skin and found the following benefits:
- Protects against photoaging, which is the premature aging of the skin caused by sun damage.
- Protects against UV damage.
- Protects against skin cancer.
- Increases collagen synthesis and stabilises collagen fibers.
- Decreases melanin, which causes hyperpigmentation.
- Used in conjunction with Vitamin E, it can prevent the skin from environmental damage.
- The prevention of all these different types of skin damage make vitamin C the ideal skin brightener.
What Should You Look for in a Vitamin C Product?
In its topical form, vitamin C can come in a number of active forms but L-ascorbic acid is the most biologically active and well studied, so if you’re looking for optimal results look for skincare products with this type. Outside of topicals, be sure to eat at least 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables a day along with a multi-vitamin or vitamin C supplement or natural health product for optimal vitamin C levels.