Vitamin C: A Natural Skin Booster

Reviewed by Linda Nelson

You probably know that vitamin C plays an essential role in boosting your immune system. In addition to fighting colds and flu, vitamin C also enhances the overall health of your skin.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is extremely effective as an antioxidant, your natural defense against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that age the skin, resulting from environmental pollutants, smoking, or excess sun exposure. Vitamin C neutralizes volatile reactions caused by free radicals that damage skin.

Another big plus for vitamin C: it is a critical component for the production of collagen, an essential skin protein. If collagen is not produced, your skin will sag and appear dull. By increasing the production of collagen, vitamin C strengthens the structural support and resiliency of your skin. Collagen is equally critical for connective tissue in organs, bones, teeth — virtually everywhere in the body. Adding a healthy dose of vitamin C to your diet and using facial products that contain vitamin C can help you feel better, reduce wrinkles, and improve your overall skin quality.

In addition to a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, a regimen of lotions and other products that contain vitamin C will enhance your skin's health and appearance.

Fast Facts

  • If you smoke, have an existing medical condition, or suffer from a skin disorder, you may need a higher dosage of vitamin C.
  • If you are a fan of fruits and vegetables, you may be getting the right amount of vitamin C for a healthy body. Check with your doctor or nutritionist to be sure you get the appropriate daily intake of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits and juices, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, and green peppers.
  • Vitamin C can be found in many skincare products; however, the level of effectiveness can vary. If you are using a vitamin C cream, keep in mind that it is difficult for your skin to absorb vitamin C without the help of other chemical agents. Check with your dermatologist or physician to decide on the most effective combination of treatments.
  • The price of topical creams and serums containing vitamin C varies from $45 to $100 for a six-month supply.

Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about how much vitamin C can benefit your skin and overall health. Everyone's needs are different.

About the Reviewer of This Article

Linda Nelson is the director of education for ZO SKIN HEALTH, by Zein Obagi, MD. She is based in Irvine, Calif.