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Acne problems are nothing new. I’m sure you or someone you know have had those tiny (and big) annoying red dots that just wouldn’t go away, at one point in your life. Scientists have discovered that among the many products out there, vitamin C is a simple yet effective solution, often overlooked. We just don’t believe something so easily available (and natural) could be the solution to a life-long problem. Well, here are the reasons you should start believing.
Immune System Booster
You see, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are great for the skin and the body as they neutralize the free radicals which cause damage to the body. The reason vitamin C is recommended to keep colds at bay is that it makes the immune system stronger which in turn fights off colds. However, the same principle can be applied to acne.
If the immune system is strong it will fight off acne as well and help it heal faster and better. It also helps with acne scarring. It helps the skin to make essential proteins needed to generate new skin. Without vitamin C, these proteins weaken which will cause scarring and also prevent the older scars from healing properly.
Vitamin C Helps Take the Red Out of Acne
Furthermore, one of the most important effects of taking a vitamin C for acne is its reduction of redness on your skin. Redness is partially the result of inflammation. The immune system releases inflammatory chemicals known as leukotrienes to destroy acne bacteria, but the bacteria have a “decoy” system that redirects those chemicals toward the skin itself. Vitamin C in large doses protects the skin from these chemicals, while the bacteria is getting destroyed.
The other way vitamin C helps take the red out of acne is by strengthening the linings of capillaries. These are microscopic blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the basal layer of the skin, about the thickness of 25 cells deep. The basal layer generates new skin cells that keep pushing outward to the stratum corneum, where they die and rupture to form a solid protective layer of protein and ceramides over the skin. The redness we see in pimples is mostly generated at this lower layer, but it is minimized when vitamin C with its cofactors helps stop leaks of bright red blood.
Vitamin C Sources
So how do you stay on top of your vitamin C intake? As a matter of fact, very easy. Your primary sources of vitamin C should be whole foods, which provide other types of anti-oxidants that may further assist in acne-scar healing. Fortunately, vitamin C is one of the top constituents of all whole foods. Thus, fruits and vegetables are your best bet to get the maximum amount of vitamin C from your diet.
Vegetables high in Vitamin C
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, methi (fenugreek leaves) (1 cup – 80mg)
- Broccoli (1/2 cup – 50 mg)
- Tomatoes (1 cup – 54 mg)
- Peas (1 cup – 37 mg)
- Brussels sprouts (1 cup – 96 mg)
- Cabbage (1 cup – 51 mg)
- Cauliflower (1 cup – 54 mg)
- Red peppers (1/2 cup – 95 mg)
- Green peppers (1/2 cup – 60 mg)
- Sweet potato (1 cup – 40 mg)
Fruits high in Vitamin C
- Strawberries (1/2 cup – 42 mg)
- Guava (1 whole – 125 mg)
- Kiwi (1 whole – 64 mg)
- Oranges (1 whole – 82 mg)
- Papaya (1/2 cup – 60 mg)
- Pineapple (1 cup – 78 mg)
- Amla (Indian gooseberry) – (1/2 cup – 600 mg)
NOTE that fresh, raw fruits and veggies have more vitamin C, whereas cooking the food destroys up to 60% of it.
Topical treatments may provide immediate relief, but cosmeticians and skin professionals state that taking oral vitamin C through food has longer-lasting benefits (though there is also research that topical application is 20 times more effective than oral ingestion). So, in my opinion, your daily dosage should include both a topical and oral form of vitamin C.
When we continually supplement our skin with topical vitamin C applications, we help reduce wrinkles, fine lines and discoloration. Applying topical vitamin C is a scientifically proven way to combat the signs of acne and aging.
Fast acne-relief mask
As you know by now, I love natural, and homemade stuff so when something can be DIYed I make sure I DIY it till the end (that may sound pretty strange, but you get my point). Namely, I’ve thought of this mask as a helpful fast-acting relief for those struggling with acne. A simple vitamin C plus honey leave-on treatment you can use as an SOS till those annoying pimples are gone, or as a preventive treatment once or twice a week. Basically, honey is naturally antibacterial and can help reduce acne. Vitamin C balances the pH of the face and may reduce breakouts as well and lavender is anti-inflammatory and often recommended for acne.
- 1 teaspoon raw manuka honey or organic honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder (find a natural source) or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 drops of high-quality lavender essential oil
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Massage onto face for 1-2 minutes in a gentle, circular motion.
- Leave on for 5 minutes to 45 minutes (depending on the severity of the problem)
- Rinse off with warm water and a washcloth.
- Finish with a Vitamin C or apple cider vinegar toner (optional).
- Repeat as needed for clear skin.
Pro tip: Adding 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar will make this mask a great exfoliating product. This is optional but it’s good to know if you want to ditch those harmful chemicals. You can also use regular sugar, but the reason I recommend brown is that it’s less abrasive than the white.
Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C serums can be a great way to topically deliver vitamin C to the face. I love using Moss Skincare’s Illumina Decongesting Radiance Serum for my acne, it contains Vitamin C along with other anti-acne and anti-aging compounds.
Ingesting a little too much vitamin C usually doesn’t have adverse health implications, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. If you take too much in one day, however, you could experience gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhea, bloating, cramping and nausea. Vitamin C is generally safe in doses up to 2,000 mg.
Do you have experience with Vitamin C? If you need more acne advise, I suggest reading our Organic Skin Care Guide for Acne.
To your clear skin,