top of page

Vitamin C and the Skin by Joel Bain Herron, MD

A Little History on Vitamin C

As dermatologists, we know that vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays an essential role in the health of the skin. A deficiency of vitamin C leads to the medical condition of scurvy. It can cause roughness of the skin, with easy bruising or bleeding and poor wound healing. A few hundred years ago, it was assumed that up to half of sailors would succumb to scurvy and die on a long passage. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, are high in vitamin C, and were given to sailors on voyages in order to prevent scurvy. This may be how English sailors earned the nickname of “limeys.”

Vitamin C’s Importance to Skin

Excessive ultraviolet light exposure can trigger oxidative damage and premature aging of the skin. Vitamin C serves as an antioxidant, slowing the oxidative damage of free radicals to your collagen. This helps to reduce dry skin and the aging process that contributes to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C is so important to the skin because it plays a vital role in collagen production, helping to give skin its strength and firmness.

Topically Applied Vitamin C Most Effective for Skin

As we age, the level of vitamin C in our skin declines and needs to be replenished. Only a small percentage of vitamin C consumed orally will make its way to the skin. Topically applied products can provide the skin with the vitamin C that is needed to help build and regenerate collagen and defend against skin aging from free radicals. In fact, topical application to the skin provides about 20X more vitamin C than consuming it by mouth.

Topically applied vitamin C is an important factor in skin rejuvenation and maintenance of healthier, younger-appearing skin. Multiple studies have found that topical vitamin C provides beneficial results to photodamaged, as well as aged, skin. Effects of reduced wrinkles can be seen in as short as three months. Your providers at Northeast Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center and SKIN Dermatology & Aesthetics can recommend some topically applied vitamin C products that should be a critical component of any rejuvenative skin care regimen to restore and maintain younger-looking skin.



bottom of page