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Vitamin C usage-Is topical enough?

Shree Amin, Priti P. Patel MD

Roman Poet Virgil once claimed “The greatest wealth is health,” and that couldn’t possibly be more true; especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Our bodies are composed of numerous systems that keep us safe from viruses, infections, and illnesses. Vitamins are a greatly overlooked necessity in our bodies.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning your body cannot produce it independently. Thus, we look to various fruits and vegetables to get the recommended amount of this water-soluble vitamin. Although it is advised to get the necessary amounts of Vitamin C from foods, many turn to supplements to meet their needs. Listed below are some of the benefits of vitamin C both topically and orally.


While vitamin C is used readily by mouth, many may not be familiar about why leading plastic surgeons turn to it for topical usage. Vitamin C is used commonly in skincare products for a variety of benefits. First, one of the main Vitamin C derivatives, Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, is proven to have a hydrating effect on the skin, allowing it to better retain moisture by decreasing transepidermal water loss. Vitamin C also aids in minimizing redness and treating inflammation on the skin, leaving it with a youthful glow.

In addition, it helps fade hyperpigmentation, whether that be age spots, melasma, sun spots, wrinkles, or under-eye circles. Vitamin C serums help smoothen fine lines and lead to a more even-toned complexion, alleviating overall discoloration.

Vitamin C application is also known to boost collagen production, which tightens the skin, reducing sagging, and eliminating wrinkles and fine lines. Because it is rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C serums protect healthy skin cells against sun damage and speed up wound healing, reducing risks for scarring, infection, and inflammation.

Vitamin C serums are typically applied once or twice a day, and can be used safely in conjunction with other active ingredients. The best method to get optimal results is to cleanse, tone, apply Vitamin C serum of your choice, and then moisturize.

Cardiovascular Health:

When taken by mouth, Vitamin C supplements may lower the risk of heart disease by reducing high blood pressure, high triglyceride count, cholesterol levels, and low levels of HDL (the good type of cholesterol). Studies show that those that received the proper amount of Vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not. In addition, studies have shown that adequate Vitamin C intake helps in widening blood vessels, improving nitric oxide production and reducing plaque instability in atherosclerosis.


Iron is an important nutrient that is essential for transporting oxygen throughout the body and producing red blood cells. Vitamin C aids in improving the absorption of iron from your diet. Studies show that by simply consuming 100 mg of Vitamin C, one’s iron absorption may increase by 67%. For those prone to iron deficiency, Vitamin C can help reduce the risk of anemia.

Memory and Thinking:

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the differentiation and maturation of neurons and the formation of the myelin sheath which protects these neurons and speeds impulse transmission, which ultimately makes Vitamin C crucial for cognitive performance.

 As you get older, symptoms of dementia may start to become more apparent. Oxidative stress and inflammation near regions of the brain, spine, and nerves, collectively known as the nervous system can increase the risk of dementia. As a strong antioxidant, vitamin C aids in preventing such inflammation from occurring. Studies have also shown that low levels of Vitamin C have been linked to impaired abilities to recall and think, and the higher Vitamin C intake has been shown to have a positive effect on memory and thinking as you age.

Overall, a well balanced diet or supplements along with topical skincare products can result in youthful, healthy skin. We recommend Vitamin C to be a daily part of your regimen along with a nutritious diet!

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