Updated: Jan 20
Most famously found in citrus, vitamin C is no longer just for boosting one's immune system and fighting off colds. Now, thanks to numerous studies, it's one of the most exciting, research-proven ingredients you can apply to skin.
When we’re young, vitamin C levels in the skin’s outermost two layers (epidermis and dermis) are abundant, but as we age, these levels naturally deplete. The result? It's believed that a deficiency of vitamin C leads to skin looking and feeling dull, uneven, and less firm than it once was (2). Fortunately, vitamin C can be applied topically, which helps one's skin feel healthier as well as appear younger.
A Vital Molecule for Skin Health
Vitamin C has all the benefits you crave in a powerhouse beauty ingredient plus more. Where to start? While renowned for its skin-brightening benefits, research also shows Vitamin C can shield skin from the visible impacts of environmental stressors, including free radical damage (4). It also helps even out skin tone and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (3). This synergy of beneficial properties will turn any skeptic into a diehard fan.
Boosting Collagen Synthesis
Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis. Several research groups have looked at the question of whether topical applications of vitamin C can affect collagen production. In both petri dishes and in people, applications of vitamin C were able to stimulate production of more collagen. "Vitamin C is a necessary cofactor for building collagen bundles, without which this process halts," Dermatologist Herrmann explains.
Legendary Brightening Effects
Studies have also shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage. Vitamin C is not a “sunscreen” because it does not absorb light in the UVA or UVB spectrum. Rather, the antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals(5). The result is a fresh-faced glow that gets better and better over time with consistent application.
 Dermatologic Surgery, July 2005, pages 814–817
 The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, August 2019, pages 46-53
 Darr D, Combs S, Dunston S, Manning T, Pinnell S. Topical vitamin C protects porcine skin from ultraviolet radiation-induced damage. Br J Dermatol 1992;127:247-253. (PubMed)