The Guide to Vitamin C

An anti-aging shield that cleans up the mess left by UV rays

You’ve probably heard of vitamin C: citrus fruits, carrots, cure for the common cold. But did you know vitamin C also repairs fine wrinkles and combats the damaging effects of UV rays and free radicals?

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What makes skin look old?

Remember that aging skin is caused primarily by UV rays and harmful compounds called free radicals (produced when your skin is exposed to certain pollutants such as cigarettes and ozone, or to UV light).

UV rays damage your skin by:

  1. Breaking down proteins that give structure to your skin, and
  2. Stimulating too much pigment, leading to discoloration or dark spots

Free radicals are unstable compounds. Because they are missing electrons, they’ll try to nab them from other molecules. These stolen electrons can warp the structure of your skin and cause fine wrinkles. Sound sinister? Don’t worry, vitamin C fights both.

A shield against free radicals

A top-notch antioxidant, vitamin C shields you on all sides: it protects against forces that age your skin, while working to repair existing damage.

Vitamin C blocks damage before it can even happen by neutralizing free radicals. Think of it as a policeman disarming a thief before it can vandalize your skin’s DNA. Vandalized DNA = wrinkles.

Boosting collagen production

In addition to crime-fighting, vitamin C works behind the scenes to rebuild your skin’s structure. Its secret to repair? Collagen, a protein that makes up your connective tissue and gives your skin structure.

By stimulating collagen production, vitamin C makes skin stronger and fuller  — providing the protein building blocks of fine wrinkle repair.

Reducing dark spots

This talented vitamin has also been shown to lighten dark spots. It works by blocking the formation of pigment, or melanin  —  making it a one-stop anti-aging shop.

Not all vitamin C is created equal

Be warned! Many over-the-counter products contain less stable forms of vitamin C that degrade over time. L-ascorbic acid, or LAA, is perhaps the most common. Curology prescriptions contain an especially stable form of vitamin C known as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, or MAP.

Side effects

Good news! Vitamin C is safe to apply to your skin  —  side effects are extremely rare. Avoid applying actual citrus fruits or juices to your skin, as they may be irritating.

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Learn more

Curious about other anti-aging ingredients? Check out our guides to tretinoin or niacinamide. See you around!


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