Vitamin C

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Vitamin C is a considered to be one of the more recognizable nutrients with respect to most people, and is a vital component to ensure that we remain healthy.  It is most widely recognized as an essential dietary nutrient, with everyday people and medical professionals alike recommending that you consume a few servings of fruits and vegetables a day, in part, in order to get your daily requirement of Vitamin C.  This nutrient is used to prevent diseases like scurvy, and also serves to support the growth and recovery of body tissue, in addition to countless functions within the body including the support of an effective immune system, maintenance of bones, and the formation of collagen.

When it comes to skincare, however, Vitamin C, particularly in its Ascorbic Acid form, is considered an effective and Powerful Anti-oxidant nutrient.

Ingredient Safety

Because knowing what goes into your skin is important.

As one of the essential nutrients required by our bodies, and one that has been consumed since antiquity, Vitamin C is considered quite safe as an ingredient, including when applied topically as a part of a skincare product and regime.

EWG: 1 (Low Hazard)
Also noted by a different name of ‘Ascorbic Acid’, Vitamin C has maintained the lowest risk level possible on EWG’s Skin Deep Database of 1.  As of August 13, 2019, over 500 different products have been registered to EWG as containing Vitamin C as a part of their ingredient make-up.
You can view EWG’s Vitamin C entry here.

US FDA:  As an essential ingredient necessary to human life, Vitamin C is not required to be ‘approved’ by the FDA, but numerous studies have been done to verify that this ingredient is essential to life.  With respect to the skincare arena specifically, studies have shown that Vitamin C plays a meaningful role when it comes to collagen synethsis, weakened connective tissues, hyperkeratosis, and conditions like petechiae.
Read more about The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website
See the FDA’s Vitamin and Mineral Chart, particularly on Page 2 where Vitamin C is located

Effect Types

Categorization of what the effects this ingredient may be when used on the skin

Collagen Formation: The topical skin barrier is one that isn’t readily connected to blood vessels making it difficult to receive and maintain a continuous quality supply of nutrients such as Vitamin C.  Studies have shown that Vitamin C may promote the formation of collagen, and conversely, that the absence of Vitamin C hampers that very action.  

Wound Healing:  According to one study done on the efficacy of this ingredient, “of all effects of Vitamin C on skin health, its beneficial effect on wound healing is the most dramatic and reproducible.”  While most cosmetic products generally advise avoiding wounds and sores, this effect is one that should be noted, even if to be achieved via diet.

UV Protection:  Vitamin C, when used together with Vitamin E, has been noted to potentially provide protection against UV irradiation.  While this does not mean an individual should apply Vitamin C and only Vitamin C or a Vitamin C/E mixture to their skin as an alternative to a sunscreen product, measured benefits have been seen with regards to Vitamin C, Ultraviolet Rays, and the Skin.

References and Further Reading(need to be fixed):
The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Vitamin C in Dermatology, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

ASCORBIC ACID (Vitamin C) || Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | EWG

Recommended products with Vitamin C