Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022

Vitamin C 101: Everything You Need to Know

Written by: Julia McVeigh

Although newly-minted wellness darlings arrive each season (hello, CBD!), vitamin C has reliably maintained its status as a go-to health-enhancing ingredient for years. Understandably so, too. Vitamin C’s benefits are manifold, and they can be unlocked from both the ingestion of vitamin C-containing foods as well as via the topical application of vitamin C-based skincare products.

Ahead, we’re breaking down the A, B and Cs of vitamin C—and we’re tapping our friends Dr. Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist practicing at SmarterSkin Dermatology, and Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN and Founder of New York City–based Real Nutrition, to help. Read on!


Found in some foods, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin (also known as L-ascorbic acid). It plays a critical role in a number of processes in the body, including the biosynthesis of collagen. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to limit the damaging effects of free radicals within the body. In this sense, vitamin C is a particularly attractive skincare ingredient, as it helps to both plump the complexion and can reduce the signs of early aging.


Dr. Shah argues that the benefits of vitamin C are innumerable, suggesting that all skin types would benefit from its topical application. She elaborates, “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has a number of proven benefits for the skin, such as anti-aging, brightening the complexion and evening out one’s skin tone. As an antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals generated from UV radiation, pollutants and other sources.” She continues, “Additionally, vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis, inhibits melanin synthesis, and has anti-inflammatory activity.” Translation: This is a do-it-all beauty ingredient.


Sure, we all want a glowing complexion, but consuming vitamin C goes way beyond #skingoals. Shapiro points out the staggering holistic benefits of vitamin C, noting, “It may prevent heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, as it is a powerful antioxidant; it helps to absorb non-heme iron from plant sources more efficiently; and it helps to treat high blood pressure, as it has a slight diuretic effect.” She then summarizes, “Consuming vitamin C will generally help to boost overall immunity and can even assist with things like wound healing.”


While the classic sources of vitamin C are usually citrus fruits, Shapiro suggests noshing on a wide array of plants in order to increase your vitamin C intake. Some of her favorites include red pepper, kiwi, strawberries, papaya, chili peppers, kohlrabi, pineapple, broccoli and cauliflower. As for skincare products, Dr. Shah recommends the following: Jan Marinin C-Esta, Revision Skincare Vitamin C Lotion 30 and La Roche Posay Redermic C Vitamin C Lotion.

Taking notes? We are, too—because if the recipe is for radiant health, then we’ve got a killer grocery list at the ready.

Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2022

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