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Skin Science

4 Major benefits of vitamin C for skin

woman holding vitamin C-rich orange slice.
Christina Heiser
Christina Heiser August, 13, 2019

Skincare-obsessed, fitness enthusiast, cat lover 

Vitamin C tends to get a lot of attention from the skincare crowd — and the hype is well-deserved. You can count on this ingredient to simultaneously protect your skin from harsh outdoor elements and deliver a glow that would make a neon sign jealous.

Here's what you need to know about the benefits of vitamin C for skin, as well as how to add it to your daily beauty routine and body regimen. Go on, grab that glow for yourself!

4 Ways vitamin C is absolutely amazing for your skin

First, a quick science lesson: Vitamin C is an antioxidant. This means it protects your skin against free radicals — molecules in the environment that cause damage, leading to signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots. In other words, this vitamin is an anti-aging powerhouse. You can use vitamin C to reap the following four benefits.

1. Unhappy with unpredictable skin? Don't get mad. Get even. Dark spots are totally annoying. Once you have 'em, they can be hard to get rid of, and it takes time to cover them up with concealer (or clothing) every day. Enter vitamin C! Research shows that the ingredient has the ability to fade hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone.

Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, lime)2. Pollution, meet your match. One of the biggest dangers to your skin health is also one of the hardest to avoid. Pollution — like the toxins in cigarette smoke and ultraviolet radiation from the sun — is bad for your health, and exposure can lead to signs of premature aging. Vitamin C's antioxidant superpowers work to neutralize harmful free radicals in the environment, so apply some all over your body before heading out for the day to give yourself a healthy layer of protection.

3. Say "goodbye" to dry and "hello" to glow. Are your shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles feeling a little dry these days? Turn your attention to vitamin C! Studies show that the ingredient can help keep your skin hydrated and actually reduce water loss. When your skin is properly hydrated, it looks healthy and feels super soft to the touch.

4. Lines are for the post office, not your skin. Last but not least, one of the best benefits of vitamin C for skin is in the anti-aging category — it can help you maintain youthful-looking skin all over your body! Once again, you can thank the power of antioxidants; studies show vitamin C can improve the appearance of wrinkles caused by sun damage.

How to use vitamin C for skin

There are a few different ways you can use vitamin C in your skincare routine. One thing you won't struggle with is finding it — the ingredient is a common part of body lotions, moisturizers, oils and body masks. Applying topical vitamin C products can help not only protect your skin but reverse existing damage, as well!

Because vitamin C offers such great antioxidant protection against environmental factors like air pollution, you may want to add it to your daily skincare routines. Products like vitamin C moisturizers and lotions are safe enough to apply to your body's skin every day, and you can use them in combination with other potent skincare ingredients like retinol and glycolic acid.

Vitamin C doesn't just focus on how your skin looks; what you eat plays a role in your skin's appearance but also your health as a whole. Vitamin C is found in a variety of foods, and it's no coincidence that those foods tend to be great for you. These include citrus fruits like oranges as well as other healthy fruits and veggies including strawberries, broccoli and spinach.

It's possible to bring vitamin C into any meal you eat. For instance, you could throw some cantaloupe, citrus juice, mango, berries and spinach in a blender for a yummy breakfast smoothie, and eat a spinach salad or dish of roasted broccoli alongside your lunch or dinner. Follow it up with strawberries and dark chocolate for dessert. The opportunities are endless!

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