It's Vitamin C Day: 3 Reasons We Love This Skin Care Staple + Our Favorite Selects
Mark your calendars, folks: It's Vitamin C Day. A more recent addition to the faux holiday calendar (it began in 2019, a nod to the beauty benefits of this hero ingredient), but if there's any reason to celebrate one of our favorite antioxidants—we'll go ahead and take it.
There are so many reasons to love vitamin C (both in the nutrition and beauty space), and we could go on and on about its laundry list of skin care perks (in fact, we already have; check them out here). For now, let's highlight three reasons to love this holy grail ingredient—see why we're celebrating below, as well as our favorite selects:
1. It stimulates collagen production.
Collagen literally holds your skin together—it's what gives your skin that youthful, plump bounce, and it diminishes over time for a variety of factors. As such, experts recommend supporting collagen production while you age, through topicals and supplements.
But here's the ticket: Vitamin C is a vital part of the collagen production process. According to Julia T. Hunter, M.D., founder of Wholistic Dermatology in Beverly Hills, "If you don't have vitamin C, your collagen can't cross-link to lift and tighten skin."
That's because vitamin C can actually promote fibroblast production and regulate collagen synthesis (aka, the pathway in which collagen is made). "Vitamin C is a key cofactor in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, [which helps] give your skin that plump and youthful appearance," Keira Barr, M.D., dual board-certified dermatologist, told us about vitamin C in collagen supplements.
Additionally, the vitamin stabilizes the collagen you already have: Due to its antioxidant properties (which we'll dive into in a mere moment), it helps neutralize free radical damage—which is a major culprit behind collagen degradation and DNA damage.
2. It brightens skin.
When someone mentions vitamin C, the phrase "glowing skin" tends to follow—for good reason: While antioxidants at large can manage UV damage (the primary cause of discoloration), vitamin C is the antioxidant for skin brightening—its glow-inducing abilities are well documented, as research shows using vitamin C topically can help diminish hyperpigmentation, even skin tone, and help reduce skin inflammation.
Not to mention, it works across skin types and tones. "Vitamin C is one of the few active ingredients that can benefit all skin types," says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., board-certified dermatologist in the Washington, D.C., metro area and associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University Medical Center.
3. Provides environmental protection.
Let's circle back to the vitamin's free-radical-fighting abilities: As you likely know, free radicals (triggered by UV damage and other environmental aggressors) can lead to oxidative stress and visible signs of aging: like crepey skin, fine lines, and other textural and pigmentation changes. Antioxidants—oh, hello vitamin C—can protect the skin against photoaging by both absorbing UV rays and preventing UV-induced free radical damage.
It's no wonder vitamin C is formulated into many sunscreens. "There is some evidence to suggest [antioxidants] can work with sunscreen to impart environmental protection," says Tanzi about the vitamin. In fact, research shows that topical vitamin C reduced the risk of sunburn by 52% and UV cell damage by 40 to 60%. Of course, the antioxidant shouldn't replace your proper SPF, but a product laced with vitamin C may provide an extra layer of protection.
We don't technically need a reason to celebrate the famed antioxidant, but it's never a bad idea to freshen up on its beauty benefits. Three cheers for vitamin C!
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