The Benefits of Vitamin C For Your Skin: A Simple Guide

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; it is these underlying advantages that result in comparisons of Vitamin C to the holy grail of skincare. The question: is there evidence to support the rumors? According to the research, vitamin C can brighten complexion, repair skin damage, prevent premature aging, heal wounds, and improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. If vitamin C is the holy grail, how do you take advantage of it?

Benefits of Vitamin C for Your Skin

Your body cannot make vitamin C on its own, which is why it is necessary to include the vitamin in your diet through foods or supplements. Vitamin C is capable of incredible things, including:

  • Counteracting sun damage
  • Improving overall immunity
  • Treating skin conditions, like psoriasis, acne, scars, wrinkles, and fine lines

How To Take Advantage of Vitamin C

If you have heard enough, it's time for you to make your skin glow. What you eat and apply can help you achieve that happy, glowing complexion of your dreams. Vitamin C can be found in sources such as oranges, grapefruits, papaya, lemons, limes, berries, and fortified cereals, like yogurt and granola. The highest food sources of the vitamin are found in citrus fruits. It is these foods that are particularly powerful when used as skin-care ingredients, which leads to the other source of vitamin C in topical treatments.

What Skin Conditions Can Vitamin C Help With?

In general, vitamin C can help reduce the effects of several conditions, including acne and premature aging. However, the full impact of vitamin C is achieved when you consume or use enough of it, and there are plenty of ways to get enough of the vitamin. If you want to consume vitamin C in your diet, focus on fruits and vegetables; if you want to include it in what you drink, look to orange juice. However, if you want to use vitamin C at high and effective levels, look to supplements and topical treatments. 

Vitamin C, when applied topically, accelerates collagen and elastin production. Using topical treatments helps to keep skin firm and plump, ensuring a youthful appearance and preventing premature aging. 

Every skin treatment requires adherence to the instructions to achieve desired results. However, before using any skincare supplement, check with your dermatologist to ensure your skin is capable of the regimen.

After following the basic steps of the vitamin C topical application, how do you ensure that you are getting the most out of this little beauty treasure? No matter the technique, choosing the right Vitamin C-based skincare products, the proper application technique, and making sure you are adding the proper amounts to your diet, you will be rewarded with improved, smooth, and glowing skin.

Obviously, vitamin C is not the only thing you need to ensure healthy and beautiful skin. A dermatologist can help you determine the right creams and treatments to achieve your best skin. However, vitamin C is a highly effective vitamin, and it does provide several research-backed benefits when applied or consumed correctly.

What do you think of vitamin C as a skincare holy grail?

My Thoughts on “Natural” Deodorant

I think most of us agree that natural is generally best when it comes to beauty products. Utilizing the best ingredients Mother Nature has to offer can help us improve our health and appearance. But I am of the opinion that natural isn’t always better and may not always be effective.

So if you’re wondering where I stand on natural deodorants, well … it’s complicated. Let me explain why.

The “Natural” Movement

There is a large demographic of people who are migrating toward natural products. I generally think this is a great thing. Most natural deodorants are free from dyes, sulfates, parabens and phthalates. They also use responsibly sourced botanical ingredients. I say “most,” because the definition of “natural deodorant” seems to be fluid, depending on which company you talk to.

Honest, well-meaning companies work long and hard to come up with safe, natural formulas that do what they’re marketed to do. But of course, there are some bad apples that label their products as “natural” even when they contain many of the same chemicals you’ll find in traditional commercial beauty products. So it’s important to do your research and pay close attention to labels when you buy “natural” deodorants.

The Debate About Natural Deodorant Effectiveness

When it comes to body odor, it’s often a two-headed beast. On one hand, you have bacteria that love the atmosphere your underarms provide. But those bacteria don’t often start to smell until you introduce them to perspiration. Our underarms are notorious for emitting perspiration when we exert ourselves or when our bodies get too hot.

When perspiration and underarm bacteria meet, the result is a not-so-pleasant smell that can be mild or overwhelming, depending on who you are. The problem with many natural deodorants is that they are not considered antiperspirants. Instead, they are formulated with anti-bacterial agents and fragrances to help block body odors. This means they don’t stop perspiration, which is viewed by many as the underlying cause of body odor.

How Antiperspirants Work

Most commercial antiperspirants physically block the secretion of sweat by plugging the sweat glands with an aluminum salt. This means most of your underarm sweat won’t ever reach your skin. Many people see this as a positive thing because it cuts back on body odor, but others think the body’s natural method for sweating out toxins shouldn’t be prevented. I tend to agree with the latter group. Additionally, research shows that continued use of antiperspirants changes the balance of bacteria in the armpits and may reduce the “good guys.” But the jury is still out regarding whether or not deodorants with antiperspirants are safe or dangerous for long-term use.

The Case for Natural Deodorant

If you don’t like the idea of messing with your body’s natural sweat processes, or if you have experienced any kind of reaction to commercial deodorant products, you may want to give natural deodorant a try.

You should understand that when you first stop using regular deodorant/antiperspirant products, your sweat production and odor will likely increase for a couple of weeks. Don’t mistakenly attribute this reaction to your natural deodorant. It happens because you’re no longer blocking your sweat glands, so all that built-up sweat and bacteria will release within the first two weeks.  

If you can be patient and make it through the initial sweaty and stinky stage, you may discover that your body naturally starts to produce less sweat. You may also notice your body odor decrease or become milder as a result of the antimicrobial ingredients in your natural deodorant and the changes to your underarm bacteria.  

Having said all this, you may find that some natural deodorant works much better for you than others. Natural deodorant that works for my best friend doesn’t work well for me, and vice versa. Take some time to test out different brands until you discover the type that provides the best results.

The Unique Advantages of a Humidifier

Humidifiers work by vaporizing liquid to add to the moisture level in your home. While these devices might not be paramount in the warmer, more humid months of the year, they play a critical role in your house and even health during the winter. 

People often undervalue the significance of moisture levels in their homes, often equating moisture with problems, such as mold. Still, despite moisture causing some complications, at adequate levels — no higher than 50% — moisture content can help maintain the house's structure and the people, pets, and plants inside. 

The idea of bringing a tool into your home to add moisture to specific areas can seem a bit strange, but it is beneficial. Before you decide to forego purchasing a humidifier, consider the advantages of using one.

Prevent Dry Skin 

Did you know that it is normal for moisture levels in your home to dip below 30% when using forced air heating? Your skin begins to lose its moisture at such levels, resulting in dry, tight, itchy, and flaky skin. 

Your hands and lips are especially vulnerable to losing moisture and becoming dehydrated. The hands have fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, so they have less protection against dry air. The lips are more sensitive with more tender skin, making it easier for them to become chapped and cracked. 

A humidifier helps return some of the lost moisture in the air, providing relief for your skin. Applying hand lotion and chapstick can also help mitigate damage in the colder, drier months.

Ease Sinus Symptoms 

The winter and drier climates are notorious for drying out sinuses and nasal passages. The excess dryness can lead to sinus pressure, headaches, bloody noses, and discomfort. 

While many people believe that humidity will only worsen stuffiness and sinus issues, the contrary is true. Maintaining optimal humidity levels throughout your home contribute to healthy sinus and mucus function, reducing the risks of sinus-related problems. 

A humidifier permits the ease of breathing because it encourages the free movement of mucus. Additionally, it reduces the risks of a bloody nose and sinus headaches.

Reduce Spread of Germs and Bacteria

The National Academy of Sciences found that dry conditions promote the survival and transmission of the influenza virus. Therefore, using a humidifier to maintain optimal moisture levels can reduce the risk of spreading viruses, germs, and bacteria. 

Humidity does not permit the spread of bacteria through the air as much as dry conditions. Moisture in the air makes it heavier and harder to navigate at a molecular level. With appropriate moisture levels, viruses cannot spread as far and wide, meaning humidifiers can reduce the risk of infection. 

However, do not count on humidifiers to eliminate all risks. You will still need to focus on hygiene — regularly bathing and washing your hands and taking necessary precautions like receiving vaccinations. 

Provide Additional Warmth 

Aside from the health benefits of using a humidifier, the device also provides environmental advantages, such as providing greater warmth. Research suggests that dry air typically feels chillier than moist air. 

HVAC professionals recommend using humidifiers in combination with forced air heat to combat feeling overly cold. Additionally, using a humidifier can help reduce the strain on your HVAC system. 

While the general principle of homeownership is to avoid moisture in the house, it should be changed to the avoidance of excess moisture. Humidifiers add a beneficial amount of moisture to an otherwise dry space, helping to relieve wintertime ailments. 

Do you use a humidifier? Why or why not? 

Keeping Your Skin Hydrated in the Winter

The frigid winter air causes many problems for the skin, drying it out, resulting in flakiness and itching. Unfortunately, women often suffer more than men in winter, especially as they get older. 

According to dermatologists, as women age, their skin is less capable of maintaining moisture. The natural loss of moisture only compounds the winter dryness problem.

Dehydration leads to the compromise of the skin's protective layer. The compromise of this layer can result in further skin damage, including cracking and wrinkling. 

How do you protect your skin? What can you do to ensure you maintain adequate hydration even in the coldest and driest months of the year?

Look for Serums With Hyaluronic Acid

Skin serums help repair the damaged protective layer of the skin, and serums containing hyaluronic acid provide extra hydration protection. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in hydration, making it one of the best ingredients for super-thirsty skin.

When looking at the ingredients list for facial serums, look for the amount of hyaluronic acid. Some serums contain the ingredient but only in small amounts. You want to find the solutions that use it as a primary ingredient. Some manufacturers have as much as 75% hyaluronic acid in their serums.

Purchase Body Creams

While worrying about the face is one thing, you should also focus on the rest of your body. Many people experience winter flakiness on their chest, back, arms, and legs.

If you want to combat complete body dryness, look for moisturizing lotions and creams containing lactic acid and glycolic acid. The two alpha-hydroxy acids encourage skin cell turnover and hydration for a healthier, hydrated appearance. 

When looking for creams and serums, you should avoid products containing perfumes and other potential irritants or dehydrating ingredients if you have sensitive skin. Some of the elements to avoid include: 

  • Parfum, or perfume
  • Charcoal
  • Kaolin
  • Tea tree oil
  • Salicylic acid

Drink More Water, Maybe

Many people assume or advocate for drinking more water to relieve dry skin. The jury is still out on whether internal hydration will make a difference in wintertime dryness. According to dermatologists, an individual must be clinically dehydrated to experience any changes to their skin.

While drinking more water might not help your skin, many people do not realize they are already not drinking enough. Experts recommend consuming half your body weight in ounces to remain adequately hydrated.

Try Other Remedies for Dry Skin

Serums, lotions, and water are not the only things you can try to rehydrate your irritated winter skin. Many people find that using a humidifier can make a world of difference. Additionally, wearing the proper clothing when going outside can help. For instance, wearing gloves, a scarf, and a winter coat can protect your skin from the damaging wind and cold.

You can also alter your diet to include more antioxidant-rich foods and omega-3 fatty acids. For instance, eating blueberries, carrots, tomatoes, peas, lentils, and beans can contribute to skin health by removing toxins from the body and promoting healthy cell production. Salmon can also contribute to glowing skin.

You have many options. Some of the other things you might want to try include:

  • Oatmeal baths
  • Coconut oil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Lukewarm showers

Dry skin in the winter is a struggle. However, by adopting the proper skincare routine and staying hydrating, you can protect the health and beauty of your skin.

How do you keep your skin moisturized in the winter? Comment below.