Collagen is one of the most common and abundant proteins found in the body. This supermolecule is responsible for building and maintaining connective tissues, ligaments. blood vessels, muscles, bones, teeth, and skin. In short, it’s the glue that keeps everything together. Aging and environmental factors like pollution and UV radiation negatively impact collagen levels in the body, which shows up in our skins first. When it comes to skin rejuvenation, vitamin C has most certainly proved itself effective over the years. It is also one of the most important nutrients necessary to stimulate collagen production inside the body. In this article, we have a closer look at whether vitamin C serum stimulates collagen production in the skin specifically and what you can do to boost collagen levels.
Vitamin C and collagen: a perfect pair
The collagen molecule is a design marvel. Its structure is a perfectly designed piece of architecture that looks pretty much like a three-dimensional triple helix. This complex structure consists of 3 polypeptide chains, coiled to form a helical strand. These helical strands then twist to form a superhelix that forms the collagen molecule.
Vitamin C forms an integral part of collagen’s formation every step of the way. The first step involves the building of the initial structure called procollagen, using lysine and proline. Vitamin C then transforms these amino acids into hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, allowing a process of cross-linking of the helices into tissue fibers that help stabilize the collagen molecule.
In the skin, collagen is found in the dermis. In this middle layer of the skin, cells called fibroblasts are responsible for the synthesis of collagen. Fibroblasts produce more collagen if there is adequate availability of vitamin C. When vitamin C is absent in vitro, the synthesis of collagen decreases as explained here about the role of vitamin C in skin health. In the next section, we look at how exactly vitamin c serum stimulates collagen production effectively.
Vitamin C serum stimulates collagen: here’s how
Both oral and topical ascorbic acid work wonders for skin health. As we age the skin becomes thinner and drier and as collagen depletes, wrinkles and lines start to form. Vitamin C is a powerful buffer against collagen loss, sun damage, premature aging, and wrinkling. Compared to oral intake, the topical application offers a more direct route into the skin, allowing vitamin C to stimulate collagen production more effectively. In turn, adequate collagen in the dermis creates a stronger and more resilient skin barrier.
The effectiveness of a vitamin C serum depends on a number of factors. Formulation of the cream or serum to ensure good skin penetration], is a factor. Absorption can only occur when the PH level is below 4 and when vitamin C is available as ascorbic acid. With this in mind, the industry developed ascorbic acid derivatives such as Ascorbyl glucoside and Ascorbyl palmitate, in the hope to overcome these challenges. Although showing promise, doubt still remains over how stable these derivatives are. A new kid on the block is the liposomal delivery system which may be much more effective in delivering ascorbic acid to where it is needed in the skin.
Not everyone will have the same results when using vitamin C serums and not all vitamin C serums will stimulate collagen effectively. Interestingly, a study found that topical vitamin C application will have little effect on the skin of a person with a high dietary intake of vitamin C. However, if the body’s vitamin C plasma levels are low, the topical application will increase vitamin C content.
After about 3 months of topical vitamin C (3-10%) use, marked changes are noted such as a reduction in wrinkles, an increase in the formation of collagen, and a smoothing out of the skin. Although the sun’s UV rays deplete the collagen in our skins, this study shows that a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E brings healing to the skin.
Last thoughts on how vitamin C serum stimulate collagen production
The research clearly shows vitamin C serum stimulates collagen production. It also shows just how important the nutritional intake of vitamin C is in producing enough collagen in the body that has a direct impact on the skin too. Vitamin C serums have been around for a long time and for good reason. People keep buying them. A good vitamin C serum can make a big difference in the skin’s plumpness and elasticity. The challenge comes in choosing the right one though.
Find a list of our favorite vitamin C serums for bright and glowy skin here.
Taking dietary supplements should always be done alongside the guidance of a medical practitioner. This article was not written or overseen by a medical professional and should not be viewed as advice or diagnostic information.
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Cautionary note: Not any of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The content of the articles and the products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health issue. The intention is also not to imply that vitamins or any dietary supplements are substitutes for a balanced diet or are in any way more beneficial or superior to dietary nutrients. It is also not intended to imply that general or normal health may be affected by not taking dietary supplements or receiving intravenous vitamin C infusions.
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