Vitamin C comes in many shapes, sizes and names with ‘ascorbic acid’ being the most commonly found on ingredients lists worldwide! It’s found in all kinds of skin-care products thanks to its anti-ageing and skin protecting properties. This nifty molecule has been found to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles through collagen production and strengthen the skin’s barrier response to damage. Feeling intrigued? We were too…

Vitamin C (C6H8O6) is a water-soluble compound which occurs naturally. Historically this vitamin was used to treat scurvy which is a caused by a vitamin C deficiency. But in a modern age where fewer pirates are sailing the seven seas, vitamin C has taken its place in the world of cosmetics.

Vitamin C – an antioxidant
In any ascorbic form, vitamin C works as a powerful antioxidant and protects the skin from damaging free radicals. Damage caused by these pesky radicals can occur from sun damage or pollution. Although you can take precautions to reduce their contact with your skin it isn’t possible to completely avoid it (no matter how big your sun hat is this year). If left to roam unchecked these pesky radicals can lead to damage that is thought to manifest as premature ageing in the skin. So it’s no wonder vitamin C can be found in a number of facial products like the Bobbi Brown Vitamin-Enriched Face Base, or FAB Facial Radiance Pads recently reviewed by our Geeks. Regular Beauty Geeks will know that there are a tonne of antioxidants out there – so we we’re never sold on anti-oxidant properties alone!

Anti-inflammatory action!
An interesting property of vitamin C is its use to ease the effects of skin inflammation which can be caused by UV radiation, irritation or injury. It interferes with the activation of a number of inflammation-promoting molecules called cytokines, which are part of the inflammatory signalling response.. So as well as protecting against premature ageing, vitamin C can also alleviate other unwanted skin woes.

Vitamin C loves collagen!
Vitamin C has also been found to help rejuvenate the skin’s structure – a very attractive reason to incorporate it into cosmetic products. It has been shown to regulate and increase the production of collagen, a key structural protein that makes up a whopping 70% of our skin’s composition. Collagen loss and reduced total amounts of skin collagen occurs naturally with age, which is thought to underlie many age-related skin changes, like reduced strength and suppleness. Collagen is also one of the targets of those pesky free radicals, and things like excess sun exposure can damage our precious collagen.

Use of topical vitamin C can stimulate expression of the collagen-producing genes or alternatively act as a co-factor for cross-linking and stabilising these molecules. Both of these actions lead to more collagen which acts to plump the dermis. This helps tone and strengthen the skin to reduce the appearance of any fine lines or wrinkles, and fight those dreaded signs of ageing! Check out our review of Environs AVST Moisturiser Range to read more about this vitamin C effect in action.

Tackling hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation, which is simply overproduction of skin pigment leading to darkening of skin areas, can be caused by excessive sun exposure. Similarly, age spots are also examples of hyperpigmentation. The production of the skin’s natural pigment, melanin, underlies this problem and one very attractive property of vitamin C is to interfere with the production of melanin, leading to a skin ‘brightening’ effect. Very handy indeed for some skin types!

For such a simple, natural, and abundant ingredient, vitamin C really does pack a science-savvy beauty punch! Whether it’s to protect, calm or rejuvenate the skin, we’re big fans here at BBTG HQ! There really is an abundance of vitamin C-containing products out there on the market, so keep an eye out for ‘ascorbic acid’ on ingredients lists. We Geeks will certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for this nifty little molecule while browsing the cosmetic isle that’s for sure!

“Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions.”
Use of topical ascorbic acid and its effects on photodamaged skin topography.
“Vitamin C in dermatology”
Hyperpigmentation Therapy: A Review

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