Anti-Aging Insights: How Vitamin C Helps Fight Back Against Free Radicals
History is full of examples that pit the “good guys” against the “bad guys.” For example, Dorothy vs. the Wicked Witch of the West, Ariel vs. Ursula, Batman vs. the Joker. and the list goes on.
However, there is one epic battle of good against bad that continues to unfold every second of every day. But it’s not happening on the big screen, or when our favorite sports team goes against our most hated rivals. It’s happening INSIDE US. Let’s start by looking at what we’re fighting against 24/7, and then we’ll switch over to the hero that comes in to save the day.
The Bad Guys: Free Radicals
Free radicals are atoms (or groups of atoms) that contain an odd number of electrons. What’s the problem here? Well, that unpaired electron sends the atom on an obsessive mission: hunt down other normal molecules in the body — such as those found in proteins, fats, cell membranes, and DNA — to either steal an electron, or get rid an electron. These atoms that have turned against the body are called “free radicals.”
Now, as you probably know, there are MANY molecules in the body. And so, you may be wondering: what’s the big deal with a few free radicals creating a few unbalanced molecules? It’s that the process triggers a chain reaction by damaging a cell’s structure, DNA and overall ability to function.
Over time, this harm — which is called oxidative damage — builds up. This is the same process that turns butter rancid and causes metal to rust. Can you imagine what it’s doing to your body? Actually, you don’t have to imagine — because researchers have found that oxidative damage has been shown to (among other hazards) accelerate the aging process, and make skin look and feel older and less vibrant and healthy.
The Good Guys: Antioxidants
So far, we’ve looked at the bad guys: free radicals. But thankfully, there are good guys in this fight as well, and they’re called antioxidants!
As the name suggests, antioxidants thwart the damage that free radicals inflict on molecules by either donating an extra electron, or by absorbing one. Either way, the goal is to make a molecule stable and prevent oxidative damage.
You may be asking: won’t antioxidants, themselves, become unstable if they either donate or absorb an extra electron? The amazing answer to that is no!Free radicals remain stable, which means there’s no concern that they’ll suddenly betray the good guys and head to the other side, like Darth Vader. Antioxidants always fight the good fight!
Vitamin C: Nature’s Antioxidant
Now that you know that free radicals are the bad guys that accelerate skin aging, and that antioxidants are the good guys that fight to stop this from happening, the big question is: how to you boost the antioxidants in your body to keep your skin youthful, healthy and beautiful? The answer is to nourish it with Mother Nature’s most potent antioxidant source: vitamin C!
Vitamin C: Key Facts
Here are some key facts about vitamin C that you may not know, but are vital to consider as part of your overall skin care routine and program:
- Human beings cannot naturally produce vitamin C, and so the only ways to get it into the body are by ingesting it (foods, drinks and vitamin supplements), or by applying it topically.
- According to research at Oregon State University, when taken orally only a small amount of vitamin C makes it to the skin. This is because absorption is limited by active transport mechanisms in the gut.
- Because vitamin C is water soluble, much of what is ingested orally is rapidly excreted.
- Applying vitamin C to the skin is 20 times more effective than oral ingestion, and provides a skin-rejuvenating effect by increasing collagen synthesis in the skin that limits free radical damage and slows down aging.
- Once an antioxidant is absorbed into the skin, it cannot be rubbed or washed off. As such, topical applications of vitamin C can remain in the skin for up to three days.
- Applying vitamin C each day for just a few days can achieve optimal levels in the skin.
The Benefits of Vitamin C in Skin Care
Clinical studies have shown that vitamin C plays a key role in addressing a host of skin related problems caused by oxidative damage and other hazards, including:
- Loss of skin elasticity and wrinkling.
- Skin discoloration, dryness and accelerated wrinkling as a result of exposure to the elements.
- Damage caused by harsh chemicals found in many beauty and cleansing products, such as hair dyes, soaps, detergents and bleaches.
- Direct injuries caused by wounding and burning.
Plus, vitamin C brightens the skin and creates a more even skin tone by inhibiting tyrosinase, which is the enzyme that leads to an overproduction of melanin and creates age spots. Vitamin C also helps calm skin redness and irritation due to conditions like acne and rosacea.
Helping You Fight Back Against Free Radicals
At Gracieux Beauty, we believe that when it comes to fighting back against free radicals — and undoing or preventing all the oxidative damage that these “bad guys” cause to the skin — nothing is as potent as vitamin C. That’s why vitamin C is a core ingredient in our products. Because sometimes Mother Nature needs an ally in the battle for beautiful, healthy and youthful-looking skin!