Vitamin C… It’s not just for breakfast.
Unlocking Photo-Aging…Beyond the Photo in the Attic
Photo-aging…it’s a word which conjures gothic images of hidden portraits in an attic which age in our stead. While this romantic notion is the fantasy of many women and men, the reality of our faces, the signature of our Self to another, changing with age, remains.
The truth is, our skin constantly evolves and our skin ages both 1) biologically, based upon inherited skin tendencies and 2) Photo-ages based on the effects of our lifestyle due to smoking, pollution, sun exposure, diet, and stress. Photo-aging damage includes but is not limited to: wrinkles, dark blotches, freckles, leathery texture, and loss of elasticity.
Recent studies show that it takes only eight relatively small dosages of UVA before changes are evident, and these changes are not even prevented by using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 22!
Topical Vitamin C Can Be Targeted Directly to Skin to Combat Photo-Aging
Topical Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant for skin protection and should be a useful adjunct to (but not replacement for) sunscreens. It is the process of oxidation that can destroy body tissues. (This is the same process that causes cars to rust, and rubber tires to crack.) In time, it is believed that these changes may result in connective tissue breakdown (aging and wrinkles) and skin cancer. The goal is to interfere with environmental ravages, including sunlight, smoking, and pollution. Vitamin C not only neutralizes free radicals destructive to the skin, but also actively regenerates Vitamin E, which serves to protect all cell membranes from the degenerative effects of these environmental offenders.
Topical Vitamin C Stimulates Collagen Growth
Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis. It is the only antioxidant that has been proven to increase collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein which contributes to the skin’s firmness and elasticity and can be considered the structural steel of skin. The body’s ability to produce collagen slows dramatically as we get older. In addition, ascorbic acid is necessary for “crosslinking” one collagen molecule to another collagen molecule. This reaction is required for tissue strength.
Topical Vitamin C has a Reservoir Effect
Stabilized topical vitamin C becomes an inherent part of the skin. It cannot be washed or rubbed off. Testing shows that it is fully protective for as long as three days after application.
Topical Vitamin C Controls Inflammation and Promotes Healing
Topical vitamin C is capable of controlling the inflammatory response associated with ultraviolet light (sunburn). It is protective even when it is applied after sun exposure. It also is helpful in speeding the healing process. It is often recommended as a pre and post-operative regimen for laser resurfacing patients.
Not all topical Vitamin C products are effective. In order to be effective the product must meet certain criteria, including proper pH and stabilizing factors, and the source of the Vitamin C must be in a form the body can use, so select your products with care.