The Beauty of Vitamin C

I recently discovered Nip/Tuck on Netflix!

Aside from the very dramatic life stories of two plastic surgeons, I found myself fascinated by the insane amount of cosmetic surgery depicted in each episode. Women over 40 requesting facelifts for a more youthful appearance made sense: cosmetic plastic surgery can reduce signs of ageing and enhance beauty with a simple nip and tuck.

But why does our skin start to show signs of ageing to begin with?

Briefly explained:

Human skin anatomyCollagen is the main structural protein in mammals that makes up cartilage, ligaments, bone and skin. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its tensile strength or elasticity, and its degradation leads to wrinkles that accompany ageing.

One critical factor in the synthesis of collagen is vitamin C. Not only does vitamin C build collagen, it is also a potent antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage. That makes this vitamin a vital molecule for skin health. Dietary and topical vitamin C have beneficial effects on skin cells which is normally found in high amounts in both the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin.

Ageing causes a decline in vitamin C content in both skin layers. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light from sunbathing, pollution, cigarette smoke and stress also lower vitamin C levels. Studies found higher intakes of vitamin C from the diet were associated with better skin appearance and notable decreases in skin wrinkling. Topical vitamin C has been shown to decrease wrinkling, decrease roughness of skin and increase production of collagen.

orangeSo what can we do to help maintain our skin health through collagen production? Indulge in vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, kiwi and citrus fruits. Supplement with high quality vitamin C capsules recommended by your naturopathic doctor and ask your dermatologist about a good source of topical vitamin C. Invest in facial rejuvenation acupuncture for a natural alternative “facelift.”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Photo Credit: Kaleena Jay Photography

Author: Jilla Kahrobaei BSc ND

Jilla is a Naturopathic Doctor at the Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus is stress, fatigue and healthy aging.