Vitamin C: Your Skin's Fountain of Youth
Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Howdy Everyone! In case you didn't know, I'm now a resident of Marble Falls, TX - having relocated from my beloved state of Maine many months ago to be closer to my aging parents who live in San Antonio. I probably don't need to tell you, but the weather down here is vastly different from coastal Maine - with it's comfortably cool, moist summer's and frigid, damp winter's. Texas is HOT and DRY, with humidity levels that range from semi-sticky to desert-like. My skin has been in shock since I arrived . . . not knowing how to react. I find that I'm having to apply oil and body lotion way more often now - to prevent dehydration, plus wipe the profusion of sweat from my brow when I'm outdoors. Sunglasses and natural sunscreen are must-haves and I've had to tweak my skin care routine - integrating nourishing, youthifying, hydrating masks MUCH MORE frequently, lest my skin become parched and age prematurely - no thanks! (NOTE - I've included a wonderful Vitamin C-rich herbal mask at the end of this blog💚)
As a holistic esthetician, I'm all about looking younger than your biological age and achieving that goal in a natural manner. As many of you may know, it's quite popular these days for an increasing number of folks, who are concerned about their aging appearance, to seek out a "Medi-Spa" or "Cosmetic Dermatologist" that specializes in "instant youth services" and offers a plethora of options such as injections of Botox and various wrinkle fillers (consisting of toxins and synthetic ingredients), irritating microdermabrasion treatments, and a variety of synthetic acid peels - these last two treatments can harm the vital, protective microbiome layer of your skin, plus increase the likelihood of UV damage. Be aware that all of these only temporarily deliver the appearance of younger looking skin and require ongoing maintenance treatments.
Being a skin care purist or "green esthetician" (as I'm sometimes called) - shunning most artificial chemicals and skin care gadgets and machines - I say NAY to all of this. If you are a naturalist like myself and really want to care for the health of your skin . . . adopt my mantra and DO NO HARM! Nourish your skin topically, and body internally, for renewed radiance instead of numbing, filling, sanding, and peeling your complexion in the hopes of everlasting beauty . . . it won't work, my friends. And, you could end up damaging it over the long haul. No one wants that!
So, on the topic of naturally youthifying your skin's appearance, I want to discuss Vitamin C and your skin. Let's explore the benefits and sources of this truly amazing vitamin and what it can do for your appearance and health.
What is Vitamin C and its role in your body? The official name for Vitamin C is ascorbic acid. It acts as a powerful antioxidant . . . strengthening the body's natural defenses (boosts the immune system) and helps prevent the negative effects of that dreaded word . . . inflammation. Vitamin C is vital for the development and repair of all body tissues. It aids in the skin's regeneration process; is needed to produce collagen that supports skin firmness; strengthens capillaries; protects against UV ray damage thus minimizing wrinkling, hyperpigmentation (those dreaded age spots), and dryness; helps repair connective tissue, improves the condition of heart and blood vessels; improves dental health; increases the absorption of iron; aids in the maintenance of cartilage; reduces the potential for sun damage to the skin; and restores overall radiance/glow. Vitamin C also helps speed wound healing and reduces inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Just what are antioxidants, you ask? They are substances that reduce or prevent damage to our cells by neutralizing the production of highly reactive molecules called free radicals. In simple terms, think of an antioxidant as a substance that prevents oxidation, or prevents "rusting" or premature aging of body tissues. As an example . . . when you squeeze Vitamin C-rich lemon juice onto an apple slice to keep it fresh and white . . . the juice acts as a powerful antioxidant, preventing the browning of the apple via exposure to oxygen. Antioxidants prevent premature deterioration of the tissues within and without our body. We get a variety of antixoidants from our food and from quality supplements, such as Vitamin C, A, and E, which can be ingested or mixed with other natural ingredients and applied topically, too.
My favorite brand of liposomal Vitamin C. It's in gel form. I use it topically as well as orally.
How much Vitamin C should you consume daily? The current RDA (recommended dietary/daily allowance) is 60 mg for non-smoking men and women. Truthfully, that's barely above the amount required to prevent disease. Scurvy anyone? For improved health and beautifying effects, aim higher please. But know this . . . high amounts of this water-soluble vitamin can irritate the digestive tract, actually leading to less absorption, especially if you are taking Vitamin C supplements. If you are ingesting Vitamin C solely from food sources, you probably don't have to worry about consuming too much, unless you are eating handfuls of ripe, red rose hips, goji berries, camu camu berries, or acerola cherries, but most folks don't do that. If you're taking Vitamin C supplements and consuming over 500-1,000 mg per day (especially if you have a sensitive digestive system), then you are probably not absorbing all you are ingesting and may be getting loose stools, to boot. Generally, I consume 500 mg of Vitamin C or less in my supplements, unless I'm taking a liposomal Vitamin C, then I consume 1,000 mg daily.
Liposome explained: A minute spherical sac of phospholipid molecules enclosing a water droplet, especially as formed artificially to carry drugs or other substances into the tissues. Phosopholipids are a class of lipids (fats) that are a major component of all cell membranes. A liposomal Vitamin C supplement is well absorbed and tolerated by your body. My preferred type of Vitamin C supplement. Note - I have TONS of sun damaged skin, resulting from my youth spent sunbathing in the hot GA and TX sun. Liposomal Vitamin C serves me well.
Photo of small, ripe rose hips
Not consuming enough of this essential vitamin can have negative effects on health and skin vitality. A diet rich in Vitamin C is essential to your good health and disease prevention. Please eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily and if you're under a great deal of stress or fighting illness or disease, add a good quality supplement that agrees with your body.
Fruit Sources High In Vitamin C:
- Rose hips
- Goji Berries
- Camu camu berries
- Black currants
- Hawthorn berries
Vegetable/Herb Sources High in Vitamin C:
- Amla (an Ayurvedic herb)
- Peppers of all kinds (hot & mild)
- Mustard/Turnip Greens
- Thyme/ Oregano
If you've followed my writings (books, articles, social media posts) over the last 20 years, you know that I like to play with natural ingredients, experimenting with an eventually formulating really effective DIY skin care products. About 4 months ago, I was attempting to make a facial mask that would infuse my skin with the benefits of Vitamin C, without irritating it like so many other commercial Vitamin C-rich products can do. Well, as luck would have it, a nurse friend of mine introduced me to LivOn Labs Lipo-Spheric (brand) Vitamin C gel. Comes in tiny packets. She takes it daily when she feels like she's coming down with a cold - swears by the stuff! Being the holistic esthetician and herbalist that I am, I combined it with hawthorn berry powder and aloe vera juice. The result? A super hydrating gel mask that makes your skin feel and look wonderful. Please try the recipe below. You skin will thank you! (P.S. LivOn Labs Lypo-Spheric (brand) Vitamin C is available in better pharmacies and online. It's on the expensive side, but as a topical, it's sooo gentle, yet yields potent skin beautifying results that can't be denied).
RECIPE: Vitamin C Blast Facial Mask
Fall is the perfect time to revive and restore skin after exposure to summer's damaging heat and sun! Applied 2x per week, this blend tones, tightens, clarifies (slowly fades age spots), improves radiance, hydrates, and gently exfoliates. Skin is left velvety soft. Hawthorn berry powder is loaded with natural Vitamin C. LivOn Labs Lypo-Spheric (brand) Vitamin C looks and feels like a gooey, thick gel and is actually a water-soluble Vitamin C wrapped in liposomes - which literally saturates cells with antioxidants sans irritation. It's truly a unique product! And, tried 'n true, skin-loving aloe vera gel (or juice) cools, soothes, hydrates, and reduces redness/irritation. This mask is a fabulous trio of skin beautifiers. Used consistently . . . it could be your skin's Fountain of Youth! Sounds good to me! Ingredients: - 1 packet LivOnLabs Lypo-Spheric (brand) Vitamin C - 1 teaspoon organic hawthorn berry powder - 1 teaspoon organic aloe vera gel or juice (juice is easier to blend) - 1 tiny bowl (such as a custard cup) - 1 small mask application brush (optional - fingers can be used instead) Directions & Application: In your tiny bowl, stir all ingredients thoroughly so that no lumps remain. Pull hair up and off face. Brush or spread onto clean, dry skin in a nice even layer. Allow to remain on skin for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Follow with an application of a light moisturizer or facial oil, if desired. Yield: 1 mask
NOTE: Common sense precaution - if you decide to make and apply this mask and happen to suffer from skin irritation, please rinse it off immediately using cool water. Pat skin dry, then apply something soothing such as cool, plain black tea, cool aloe vera juice, plain calendula lotion/cream, or natural diaper rash cream with zinc oxide.
For more DIY beautifying, natural masks, please check out my latest book, Pure Skin Care: Nourishing Recipes for Vibrant Skin & Natural Beauty (Storey Publishing, c2018). Available wherever quality books are sold - in stores and online.
DISCLAIMER: This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, Certified Foot & Hand Reflexologist, Herbalist, Certified Aromatherapist, and Author. The information is made without guarantee on the part of the author. Ms. Tourles disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.