If you have spent time reading about skin health, you likely already know the importance of healthy, abundant collagen for skin care. What you may not know is that vitamin C and collagen have a unique relationship that is essential for the health of your skin – as well as most every other part of your body. So just what does vitamin C have to do with collagen?
Collagen is a protein that is essential to the structure of skin, blood vessels, teeth, bones, joints, connective tissues, eyes, the heart and much more; and vitamin C is essential to the synthesis, or production, of collagen within the body. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C also helps to prevent damage to existing collagen, protecting the health of all of those essential body parts. Getting enough vitamin C in your diet is the way to ensure the health of all that internal collagen, but when it comes to the collagen fibers that help keep your skin smooth and supple, topical application of vitamin C can provide a much needed boost in collagen for skin care purposes.
Vitamin C, in the form of L-ascorbic acid, has been clinically proven to penetrate into the deep, collagen producing layers of the skin when applied topically and, if used regularly, to stimulate increased collagen synthesis. More collagen production means more collagen remodeling – which is the body's natural process for skin repair and maintenance. Additionally, increasing the levels of vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant – in the skin also helps to protect the skin against oxidative damage to the collagen and elastin fibers that give it its shape, structure and volume. More efficient skin repair and maintenance and less damage to existing collagen and elastin fibers means less skin degeneration, slowing the rate at which the telltale signs of aging appear, such as lines, wrinkles, pigmentation problems, poor skin texture and skin laxity.
If you have seen advertisements for creams or serums containing collagen for skin care, you may be wondering why you wouldn't be better off using them to boost collagen in the skin, rather than vitamin C. While that may seem the more direct route, it isn't a very effective one. The problem with applying collagen topically is that it is not absorbed very well through the skin. Unlike the vitamin C found in quality skin care products, collagen molecules are too large to penetrate into the deep skin layers where collagen remodeling occurs, so applying it topically does little to increase collagen levels where they are needed most to protect against skin aging and damage. So if more collagen is your goal, seeing your skin care specialist for a high-quality vitamin C cream is definitely the better option in terms of effective results. Quality is important for real absorption.