When you hear the term Vitamin C, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Vitamin C is definitely all of these. But there is a lot more about this super-mineral that not many people know about.
If you’re looking for skin-care solutions and are thinking, “Whoops! Wrong place!” then hold on – you couldn’t be in a more appropriate place to find a solution to all those nasty skin-beauty woes that just don’t seem to go away.
As women (and even men, recently) in the 21st century, beauty and skin care have become a very great challenge, and something that everyone is looking for. Beauty companies and brands have understood this and have taken out all stops and dove right in to “go where no one else has gone before”. It seems as if the research and experimentation that have gone into the development of many beauty products today actually surpass the research that goes into the treatment of cancer or aids.
The funny thing is that the solution to most skin problems that exist today has been around for centuries. Think about it – what are the kinds of skin problems that hassle most of us?
The beauty of it is that these problems have been around for longer than we think. Women in ancient times worried about pimples and wrinkles as much as we did. But they were better equipped to deal with them than we are.
Interestingly, Vitamin C and its benefits have been known and used throughout history.
Women in Tibet during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) would rub sea buckthorn onto their faces and hands to fight the signs of premature aging. The orange-gold berries of the plant yield deep colored oil that is immensely rich in – you guessed it: Vitamin C.
Way across the globe the Native American women discovered that moistening their skin with rose-petal paste had a soothing and healing effect on the skin. Here, again we come across that miracle working Vitamin C in the petals of the rose. In fact, cold cream was originally known as “ointment of rose water” because of its two star performers – rose oil and rose water.
It is the presence of Vitamin C in natural toners like rose hips, sea buckthorn and other fruit that give them their potent skin-rejuvenating powers.
Generally speaking, Vitamin C is a builder. It helps the body build things up that are good, while also breaking things down that are bad – or even harmful in some way.
If you’ve heard of the saying that starts with, “An apple a day…” you should make a mantra for yourself that includes oranges, sweet limes, and lemons – anything citric. This vitamin is your first and best line of defense against a whole range of diseases, and also cleanses the body as an antioxidant and neutralizes the free radicals that may prematurely age and damage various functions or parts in your system.
The list of diseases that are caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C is tiringly long and not very pretty. Let’s just leave it at that – Vitamin C: very, very essential.
Vitamin C for the skin
Having understood that Vitamin C is important for the body, let’s strike closer to our subject and consider the skin.
Most proteins come in small quantities in the body. But there is one that should be named the mother protein because of how much of it is present in the body – collagen. It constitutes more than a third of all the protein in the body. It is the stuff that holds everything from bones and teeth to collagen together. Most importantly, it holds our skin up – supporting it along with elastin.
As you age, the collagen in the skin starts to decline. This is speeded by other things like sunlight, smoking, free radicals and inflammation.
This is where Vitamin C becomes essential. It is your strongest line of defense against free radical damage that can cause collagen to deteriorate, making the skin age prematurely. It acts as an anti oxidant against these free radicals and provides a shield-like effect for the skin against all sorts of environmental damage. Additionally, Vitamin C is also able to boost collagen production and slow down its decline, thereby improving skin elasticity.
So why can’t I just drink a glass of orange juice everyday and be done with it?
Well, humans fall under the category of species that can’t produce the amount of Vitamin C that is essential for healthy skin. Add to that the fact that this is a highly water-soluble mineral: most of the Vitamin C that comes through your diet just dissolves away and is excreted.
So while it is necessary that this mineral finds a good place in your daily diet, it is just as important that you add it to your skin routine if you want to boost your skin-rejuvenation powers. What’s even better is that once you start using the stuff, the skin can handle the rest of the job by hanging on to what you have given it – a topical application of any antioxidant like Vitamin C is absorbed into the skin so that it cannot be washed or rubbed off completely. A significant amount of it will remain in the skin for up to three days.
Benefits of Vitamin C toners
Vitamin C as a part of your skin-care routine will be able to give you the following results in an amazingly limited amount of time. It will:
That takes care of most of the common skin problems that most people complain about.
When planning to use a Vitamin C product, it is best to make sure that your skin likes what you’re giving it. Many people consider that rubbing lemon peel on the skin is a good way to lighten pigmentation. But the Vitamin C in lemon peel is not very effectively absorbed by the skin and may also cause a high level of irritation.
Possible side-effects that you need to look out for include redness and stinging when you apply the product on your face. This should clear out in a little while once your skin gets used to the product. This is also the reason why a product with a lower potency percentage should be used to begin with.
Some people may have a break out when they start using Vitamin C products because of a base product that does not agree with their skin. Some C serums have silicone or other inactive ingredients that help keep the Vitamin C stable in most conditions.
It is also a good idea to look out for allergic reactions which may manifest themselves as itchy red bumps on the face. This may be an indication that your skin doesn’t like the product you’re using.
Everything basically depends on how comfortable your skin is and how much it is able to acclimatize itself to a new routine.
For best results
Though the previous section may have wet-blanketed your consideration of using a Vitamin C product, this section comes with the answers to those problems. There may be many side-effects to look out for, but there is a right way in which to use Vitamin C so that you get the desired results in a matter of time.
It is always best to start small, as stated earlier and use the lowest grade of potency available, before moving up. Starting with 5% potency should be an average that most skin-types could get used to. A 20% concentration is the highest potency at which Vitamin C should be used. The skin will not be able to absorb and synthesize Vitamin C at any higher concentration.
Vitamin C is best used in addition to other anti oxidants in a skin-care routine. It is also a power booster for a good range of sun screen products.
Tea extracts combined with Vitamin C enhance the radiance of skin. This mixture also provides all-day skin protection.
In fact, the tea-Vitamin C mixture packs a hugely powerful blow-out anti aging punch. Tea protects the skin from oxidative stress and inflammation, is a great source of anti oxidants, and guards the skin against UV exposure. In addition, Vitamin C is a great moisturizer and rehabilitates the skin’s moisture barrier when applied topically.
Here’s an important point to note about anti oxidants: they are vulnerable to destabilizing when exposed to air and light. Therefore, it becomes necessary that it is stored and packaged properly.
Always read packages before you decide on a product. It is a good idea to look for a properly packaged product that comes in a dark glass bottle or tube. Look for information on concentration and pH levels to determine whether you’re getting your money’s worth. A Vitamin C product formulated at a pH level lower than 3 will not be able to pass through your skin and will therefore be ineffective.
With all that info, it’s a great comfort that a Vitamin C toner is easily prepared at home with a few simple ingredients. There are a number of variations to the simple process.
As a great little bonus, we’re throwing in this easy-to-make recipe for a DIY at home Vitamin C toner.
This is great for clearing acne scars and the effects of sun damage. Your skin will also be softer and your complexion more even, almost immediately.
Here are things you’ll need for this recipe:
This recipe can be adjusted to various levels of potency by varying the ratio of the ingredients used.
When you are done you will have a vitamin C facial toner at 5% potency.
As a variation, you could also combine ½ tsp Vitamin C powder to ¼ cup witch hazel extract and a few drops of lavender essential oil for an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-wrinkle toner.
There are many other variations that could make a great home-made Vitamin C toner, but with anything, remember to store in a cool dark place, and to start smart and start small so that you give yourself time to get used to the routine and build up from there.