Vitamin C For Acne – Does it Really Work?
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), is essential for humans and other animals. It’s water soluble, meaning if we get more vitamin C than we need one day, it’s expelled from the body in our urine.
Therefore, it’s important to get vitamin C every day, because we don’t store it in our bodies like some other vitamins.
Vitamin C is necessary for proper synthesis of collagen, which is really important for acne, our skin, and our bodies in general. Collagen is the most abundant protein in humans, and it’s what makes up the connective tissue that gives our body form.
Vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, that nasty disease that pirates and sailors get when they’re at sea for long periods of time with no access to fresh fruits or vegetables. So, what’s all this have to do with acne?
Why Do We Need Vitamin C For Acne?
There are a number of good reasons to use vitamin C for acne. It helps reduce skin redness, helps maintain healthy levels of collagen in the skin, and it acts as a very powerful antioxidant. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Vitamin C helps reduce the redness associated with acne. Your body releases certain inflammatory chemicals in an attempt to kill the acne bacteria.
However, the acne bacteria have a special “decoy” system which allows them to redirect these inflammatory chemicals toward the skin. So instead of dead bacteria, we get red inflamed skin.
Taking vitamin C for acne helps to actually “tone down” your immune system, preventing it from overreacting and making things worse in the process. This helps eliminate the redness!
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. This is important because research has shown that reactive oxygen can damage your skin and even increase the inflammation and scarring related to acne. So, you want antioxidants like vitamin C for acne, because they eliminate these dangerous free oxygen molecules.
And finally, vitamin C helps your body properly synthesize collagen. Collagen is extremely important for healthy skin, because it’s responsible for what the skin looks like. It gives the skin resilience, durability, and structural stability. A lack of collagen will cause wrinkles and other problems.
Vitamin C Acne Treatments
There are two common ways to use vitamin C for acne. You can take vitamin C supplements orally, or use a topical vitamin C cream or serum for acne. I prefer taking vitamin C orally because then your whole body gets the benefits, but let’s look closer at each option.
Take A Supplement Of Vitamin C For Acne
Are you getting enough vitamin C each day? The vitamin C foundation recommends adults take 1000 mg of vitamin C three times each day for a total of 3000 mg per day.
The reason they recommend taking three smaller doses rather than one big dose is because vitamin C is water soluble and is eliminated from our system very quickly, within just a few hours. The half life of vitamin C in our blood is only 30 minutes. So, half of it is gone every 30 minutes.
You may be thinking that 3000 mg sounds like a lot. After all, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in the United States is only 90 mg for adult men and 75 mg for women. However, keep in mind the RDA usually reports the minimum amount required to avoid deficiency, not the amount that promotes optimum health.
In fact, doctors have used much higher dosages (as high as 200 + grams) perfectly safely to treat individuals suffering from numerous diseases including cancer, bacterial infections, pneumonia, and many others.
Yes, that’s 200 grams or 200,000 mg, so don’t worry about a measly 3000 mg. If you want to read more about vitamin C, head on over to the Vitamin C Foundation.
Use A Vitamin C Serum or Cream For Acne
This can be another good way to boost your skin’s natural collagen production and enhance your overall skin health. Studies have shown that long term use of topical vitamin C can regenerate collagen and improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Vitamin C also lightens pigmentation, which can be helpful in reducing the appearance of redness from acne or scars. It also provides some protection from harmful UV rays (though not as much as sunscreen), and as a powerful antioxidant, it protects the skin from free radical damage and the aging process.
You can find vitamin C in various moisturizing creams which are good as a general acne treatment for your whole face. Vitamin C also comes in a highly concentrated serum which can be used by itself ( you only need a couple drops) or added to sunscreen or your favorite moisturizer.
One problem with vitamin C is that it oxidizes very easily. You can tell a vitamin C serum has gone bad when it gains a yellow or orange tinge. It will look kind of golden brown.
When vitamin C oxidizes it becomes not only ineffective, but damaging to your skin, with a whole host of possible problems.
To avoid this you want to always store your vitamin C products in a dark place, and be sure the cap is on tight. Exposure to light or air will cause oxidation. If you don’t want to worry about all this, you can make your own fresh vitamin C.
Make Your Own Vitamin C Acne Treatment
The two main reasons to make your own vitamin C serum is because it will cost much less (an average 1 ounce bottle is $30-$100 at retail price), and you can make fresh batches more often so that you have fresh and potent (not oxidized) serum.
What You Will Need And Where You Can Get It
- 4 Teaspoons Distilled Water – From your local grocery store for about $1.
- 1 Teaspoon L-Ascorbic Acid (powder or crystals) – From vitamin stores, natural food stores, or online. It’ll cost about $4 for 4 oz (which will make many batches).
- 1 tsp Glycerin or Propylene Glycol – From drugstores like Walgreens. Costs maybe $3.
- 1 Dark Colored Glass Bottle – Health food stores sometimes, online, I’ve heard of people buying them from their local pharmacy (maybe ask your pharmacist nicely). $1 each.
Total cost: less than $10 for a year of fresh vitamin C serum acne treatments. Not a bad deal.
- Sterilize your glass bottle by boiling it in hot water.
- Wait for the bottle to completely dry (and cool off).
- Add the L-Ascorbic Acid to the bottle.
- Add the distilled water.
- Use a stirrer or swish around the bottle until the L-ascorbic acid is completely dissolved (this can take a while).
- Add the Glycerin or Propylene Glycol.
- Mix it really well. Just put the cap on and shake it a bunch.
- Remember to store your vitamin C serum in a cool dark place.
- Use a few drops on your face, neck, and wherever else you like each day.
If you like the idea of treating acne naturally using things like vitamins, instead of harsh chemicals that can end up damaging your face, then check out my Acne No More review. It’s a holistic (whole body) approach to treating acne.
You see, acne is just a symptom of a very real imbalance in our bodies, and the Acne No More system teaches a step-by-step way to eliminate this harmful “acne environment” in our bodies. It’s the only program I promote on this site, because I’m a big supporter of natural and holistic healing. I personally think we take the wrong approach to healing in our society. We too often treat the symptoms instead of the underlying cause. But that’s a whole other conversation.
Some Other Important Vitamins (and Minerals) For Acne
Vitamin C is great for acne, but there are some other vitamins and minerals you should be aware of. A couple of the most important ones are vitamin E and Zinc.
You can benefit from taking zinc for acne because it’s one of the most important nutrients for maintaining a strong immune system. It also accelerates the renewal of skin cells which helps acne heal faster, and finally, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe red irritated skin.
I recommend taking vitamin E for acne because it’s a powerful antioxidant, it prevents damage to cell membranes, and it helps skin recover from acne scars. It’s also responsible for regulating levels of vitamin A in the body (vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for healthy skin).
If you have experience with vitamin C and acne, tell us about it below. As always, good luck with that acne!