Vitamin C and Our Skin

 “While oral vitamin C, by way of foods or supplement is beneficial for the skin, the anti-aging effects of vitamin C is demonstrated best by using topical agents.”

 Vitamin C plays many important roles in the body. It helps in the formation of collagen, aids in better iron absorption, wound healing and boosting the immune system, to name a few of its benefits.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can protect cells from free radicals, toxic chemicals and pollutants. These contribute to many health conditions. Thus, vitamin C is an important part of the diet. It is a water soluble vitamin, as a result, toxicity is not a real issue. However, excess amounts can cause stomach irritation. More research is needed to determine how much vitamin C is needed to greatly diminish risk of various health conditions.

The function of vitamin C in the skin is essential for firmer, more hydrated skin. By aiding in collagen formation its antioxidant properties decrease free radicals, which diminishes the appearance of wrinkles. Vitamin C also inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase which is responsible for converting tyrosine into melanin. As a result, it has an effect on evening the skin tone.

While oral vitamin C, by way of foods or supplement is beneficial for the skin, the anti-aging effects of vitamin C is demonstrated best by using topical agents. Using Vitamin C solely can produce positive results, but it is often coupled with other ingredients, such as other peptides, Vitamin E, and retinol. The concentration of vitamin C, and thus its efficacy and irritation profile, can vary. Over the counter vitamin C products tend to have a lower concentration than physician grade products. Furthermore, the packaging of physician grade products not only often looks more stylish, but also serves the purpose of keeping the ingredients more stable in various temperatures, thus allowing for a longer shelf life.

Higher concentrations of vitamin C can cause slight skin irritation, but it tends to be a very tolerable ingredient. Multiple concentrations and formulations are available so that it can be tailored for the individual. Topical vitamin C is appropriate for any age on the adult spectrum, but it is often touted in magazines as a must have for those “bursting” onto the anti-aging scene.

10% off all in-office Vitamin C products until 12/31/16 – call 703.865.6801 or visit to schedule your appointment. 

Dr. Dwana Shabazz received her undergraduate degree at Xavier University of Louisiana and both her medical degree and masters of public health degree at George Washington University. She remained at George Washington University for her internship in Internal Medicine. She then moved to Los Angeles for her Dermatology Residency at King Drew Medical Center/Harbor-UCLA. Dr. Shabazz has been in private practice in the Northern Virginia area since 2006. She opened her own practice, Renascance Dermatology, in 2013. Dr. Shabazz is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology, and a member of the Women’s Dermatologic Society.