Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential for life. Deficiency of Vitamin C causes scurvy. In most industrial countries, scurvy is usually seen in alcoholics and institutionalized elderly.
Interestingly, vitamin C increases the absorption of dietary iron. Supplemental oral vitamin C is involved with wound healing, cancer prevention, cataract prevention, prevention of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and enhancing immune mechanisms.
The half life of oral Vitamin C is ten to 20 days, so that after three weeks, oral Vitamin C is gone, if not replaced by more Vitamin C pills. The body allows for a maximum of 1200 mg to be absorbed orally. Vitamin C is a major antioxidant in the body, and is also important in collagen synthesis.
TOPICAL VITAMIN CNew formulation of topical Vitamin C creams, ointments and solutions have been found to deliver more than 20 times the normal Vitamin C to the skin.
Topical Vitamin C is a weak sunscreen, protecting against UVA and UVB. It is not an effective sunscreen and should not be considered enough for protection here in Hawaii. While it does help somewhat because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Vitamin C should not be considered as the only sunscreen you use.
Because Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory, it can help reduce the acute effects of the sun -- the sunburn. Of course, it is better to prevent the sunburn with an effective sunscreen used daily.
Topical Vitamin C cannot be washed or rubbed off. It becomes an inherent part of the skin and can work for three days after an application. Topical Vitamin C preparations usually contain a 10% stabilized formulation of Vitamin C at an acid pH.
Volunteers who used Vitamin C products on one side of their bodies have shown a dramatic reversal of wrinkling on that side. Ultraviolet photography, similar to the special photographic technique we started using 25 years ago in our office, reveals dramatic reduction of the aging pigments such as "liver spots" and "age spots."
MY RECOMMENDATIONSThere are several topical Vitamin C preparations available today. The most popular is the Vitamin C Complex Cream and Vitamin C Complex LS-night cream.
The Vitamin C Complex LS-night cream contains liposomes with not only Vitamin C but also Vitamin E for maximum antioxidant activity, and the only form of Vitamin F (essential fatty acids) that can penetrate the epidermis and protect collagen.
In many people, a dramatic difference in the skin texture is noted after only one week of twice daily applications of the Vitamin C Complex LS. These and other Vitamin C products are available in our Medicine Chest. A prescription is not required, but these Vitamin C products are not readily available at other locations.
I usually recommend that a sunscreen with an SPF 30 be applied first every morning, followed by the Vitamin C product and any other products you wish such as makeup. The Vitamin C Cream should also be used at bedtime. Because it has a moisturizing base, most patients find any additional moisturizers are not necessary.
© 2006 Pacific Monograph