One of the questions that I am constantly asked is what is the best slow aging ingredient. This is a really tricky question however, if I HAVE to choose one I just can’t go past vitamin C. This isn’t to say it is suited to everyone but I find it just so effective to help reduce the signs of photoaging and with the Australian sun, that is a big plus.
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 is an excellent antioxidant for skin protection and can be a useful adjunct to (but not replacement for) sunscreens. It is the process of oxidation that can damage 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 potentially skin cancer. The goal is to interfere with environmental damage, 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.
Vitamin C also 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.
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. Don’t you just love that!
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.
If you have had any experiences with Vitamin C products I would love to hear them…or any other “anti-aging” ingredients that have worked or not.
Important Note: Not all topical Vitamin C products are effective. In order to be effective the product must meet certain criteria including proper pH, stabilizing factors, and the source of the Vitamin C must be in a form the body can use so select your products with care. For more about Vitamin C, view the video blog below: