Why Your Skin Needs Vitamin C — Every Day

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Whenever my patients ask me about what skincare ingredients they should be using, vitamin C tops my list. It’s an ingredient that’s been well researched with consistently great results.

What most people don’t realize—the reason it’s so critical in skincare products is vitamin C is naturally found, in high levels, in both the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) and in the dermis (the skin’s deeper layer, which is where the skin-firming proteins collagen and elastin are found).

Vitamin C is critical to the body’s production of collagen, which is what gives our skin its youthful firmness, structure, and elasticity.
Without enough vitamin C (and collagen), fine lines and wrinkles are more pronounced; skin is rougher and dryer; skin is less even-toned; and the complexion is dull.
But vitamin C is easily—and regularly—depleted from the skin when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light.
What this means: each and every time you head outdoors, the sun’s UV rays are hitting your skin and using up your skin’s vitamin C levels (among other skin-damaging results).
Vitamin C levels also decline with age.
As I tell all my patients, your skin doesn’t have to be a victim. Here are some key facts about vitamin C that you need to know:

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps slow (and in some cases, stop) the rate of free-radical damage to the body and to the skin. Free radicals are unstable molecules—triggered by exposure to environmental concerns, such as UV rays or pollution from car exhaust, as well as smoking (including exposure to secondhand smoke)—that can cause premature aging and damage to our DNA that can lead to diseases like cancer.

Your skin needs topical replenishment with vitamin C at least once a day. Is this true? Vitamin C can be very drying when used every day? Should we specific skin type? Vitamin C is water soluble, which means your body doesn’t store or accumulate it. Once depleted (via sun exposure or exposure to daily pollution), your skin needs its vitamin C levels to be replenished.While one study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating foods high in vitamin C—like strawberries, kale, and broccoli—can keep your skin healthy and more youthful looking, we typically don’t eat enough of these foods to feed both the body and the skin everything they need. That’s where topical products with vitamin C come in. When applied topically, vitamin C goes to work exactly where it’s needed the most—directly into the skin.


Vitamin C helps limit UV damage. It’s important to know that vitamin C is not a sunscreen, but it does help limit UV-induced damage because of the antioxidant properties I discussed earlier.

What’s more, studies have shown that when combined with another key antioxidant, vitamin E, vitamin C is even more effective at preventing photodamage. This is why, using products with both vitamin C and vitamin E** under a sunscreen can help protect the skin from sun damage and in turn, skin cancer.If you’re looking for an ingredient that gets noticeable results, vitamin C should definitely be at the top of your list.

Stay healthy and beautiful!
Article by
New York Dermatologist