What are the benefits of vitamin C for the skin?

Jeanine B. Downie, MD
Dermatology
Topical vitamin C has some healthy skin benefits; it can brighten the skin, and helps with overall tone and texture. Watch me discuss the positive impact of topical vitamin C on your skin and what products to look for.
Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is the major antioxidant in the body. The virtues of vitamin C have been extolled since the days of Linus Pauling. In the skin, vitamin C increases collagen production. With a vitamin C deficiency, called scurvy, collagen cannot be produced and the skin breaks down. There is a limit on the amount of vitamin C that can be eaten in a day. Anything over about 1,300 milligrams will simply be urinated out. Vitamin C placed on the skin (topically) boosts the skin's vitamin C concentration twenty-fold.

Vitamin C can protect against sunburn, reduce sun-induced wrinkling, and decrease skin cancers. A powerful antioxidant, it decreases dangerous oxygen free radicals and inflammation and decreases sunburn after sun exposure. It is more effective when used with a sun block. It can decrease the redness associated with acne rosacea after just three weeks of use. In addition, vitamin C slows the formation of brown pigmentation in the skin.

Vitamin C is one of the medicines for the skin that makes sense and is backed by strong scientific evidence. In addition to its long-term effects, it irritates the skin enough to cause swelling that temporarily decreases wrinkles -- a side effect that most women like. Interestingly, three months of use fail to improve the texture of the skin.
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

The public’s recent exuberance toward cosmetic surgery has spurred an unprecedented demand for appearance-changing procedures. But how can an average consumer discern the hype from solid truth? ...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.