How does my Vitamin C intake benefit my skin?
Increasing collagen productionVitamin C has many benefits for the skin, including an upregulation of the production of collagen, your skins anti-aging serum. It upregulates collagen production in the body by stimulating collagen synthesis. One of collagen's main roles in the body is to maintain skin and tissue integrity. This means, collagen helps you maintain firm, plump, youthful looking skin and prevents drooping and sagging. Collagen also acts as a stress resistant material to the skin, preventing tears and deformation of the skin, meaning it’s essential for wound healing and scarring.
Protection against UV lightIn addition to increasing collagen production in the body, Vitamin C may also be useful in the protection against damage from UV light. It is a potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory and thus is protective against free radical damage caused by UV exposure. The protective effect of Vitamin C can be seen when looking at it's role in UV protection. In the layers of the skin, the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous layer, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) transport proteins are present. Upon exposure to UV light, ascorbic acid proteins are increased in the keratinocytes, one of the primary cells in the epidermis, signalling to the body an increased need for Vitamin C to protect the skin. This protective and anti-inflammatory effect can be seen in the skin as a reduction of UV related damage by limiting the production on proinflammatory markers produced by the skin, as well as reducing cell apoptosis (cell death).
Maintaining skin hydrationVitamin C also has a role in the maintenance of skin hydration. The hydration of your skin contributes to your skins appearance, as keeping your skin hydrated prevents dryness, flaking and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C assists in maintaining your skins hydration by reducing the trans-epidermal loss of moisture, ensuring your skin stays hydrated.
How can I ensure I’m getting enough Vitamin C?The best foods for nourishing your skin and ensuring your skin stays youthful and plump are foods containing antioxidants, protein, essential fatty acids and water! Antioxidant foods you want to be looking out for include fruit and vegetables such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, berries, apples, kiwi fruit and capsicum.
Effects of not having enough Vitamin C in the diet include:
- Poor wound healing, as not only does Vitamin C plays a role in collagen production, but the need for Vitamin C increases with wounds and tissue damage
- Dry skin, prone to fine lines and wrinkling
What other lifestyle factors effect my skin?Lifestyle factors that also effect your skin and increase your need for Vitamin C include:
- Smoking, Smoking increases the bodies need for Vitamin C as it inhibits collagen production in the body.
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
Topical Application? Or Oral Supplementation?Both oral supplementation and topical application of Vitamin C have been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, reducing free radical damage and the signs of aging. Topical application of Vitamin C has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of UV damage to the skin, due to the direct application of the vitamin. Results of topical application of Vitamin C to the skin included a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, as well as a reduction in damage resulting in pigmentation such as freckles as well as tumours. In addition, studies found that combination oral supplementation of Vitamin C and Vitamin E had the greatest effect on UV protection, due to both vitamins potent antioxidant activity.
Overall, what can I do to protect my skin?
- Ensure you have a diet rich in Vitamin C containing fruit and vegetables, protein and essential fats
- Reduce alcohol consumption and smoking Stay hydrated, drinking enough water will ensure your skin stays firm and plump, reducing the signs of aging
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Ashley Baker | NutritionistAshley is a qualified Nutritionist ( Bachelor of Health Science (Nut Med) passionate about home cooking and healing through wholefoods. Her special interests include disorders of the skin and childrens health, including fussy eaters!
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