Acne is one of the most common chronic skin disorders affecting millions of people around the world. According to an estimate, approximately 17 million people are affected by it at any one point in time in the United States of America only.
A lot of medications have been developed to prevent if not cure the problem of acne breakouts.
This includes antibiotic, anti retinoid, Accutane, oral contraceptives and various other herbal and home remedies, minerals and vitamins.
This article will talk about one of the essentially required vitamins in our body, vitamin C, and its effectiveness towards the problem of acne.
Please feel free to use the Table of Contents below to jump to the relevant section
Table of Contents
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a naturally occurring antioxidant in nature and is also an essential nutrient required by humans as well as certain other species of animal.
It is also popularly known as ascorbic acid and is responsible for activating 8 enzymes in the body, including several collagens.
These collagen reactions when dysfunctional might cause severe symptoms of scurvy.
Though most animals have the capacity to synthesize vitamin C internally from glucose, humans are not able to do so.
Humans with some other invertebrates lack the L-glucono-gamma lactone oxidase enzyme, which assists the synthesis of Vitamin C.
They must, therefore, rely on external sources of vitamin C which includes citrus fruits and green vegetables among others.
Vitamin C is essential for the development and proper functioning of different parts of the body and also helps in strengthening the immunity system.
The collagen synthesis reactions are specifically effective in the healing of wounds and prevention of bleeding from capillaries.
It also functions as a natural anti-oxidant against oxidative stress.
Vitamin C for Acne and Skin Problems
Vitamin C exhibits anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help in preventing and correcting acne breakouts.
It also helps in undoing the pigmentation caused by acne inflammations.
Vitamin C is, however, an unstable compound and is often combined with other agents to perform its function.
Vitamin C is a naturally occurring and one of the most plentiful anti-oxidant and forms a complex part of enzymatic and non-enzymatic anti-oxidizing nutrients. It reduces oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radicals.
This anti-oxidant nature helps vitamin C in fighting the acne-causing bacteria.
It also provides protection against the harmful UV rays on the Sun but tends to provide better protection when combined with vitamin E.
Apart from this, it also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in reducing the inflammation caused due to acne breakouts.
It further helps in reducing the post inflammation pigmentation by interrupting the steps of melanogenesis, decreasing the melanin formation and thereby becomes an important de-pigmentation agent.
For acne, vitamin C can either be applied topically or orally in form of supplements, though the safest way would still be a vitamin C rich diet.
The recommended dosage in topical and oral forms is listed below:
Oral: The dosage is specified according to the age of people on a per day basis. It is as follows:
- 1 to 3 years: 15 mg (>400 mg)
- 4 to 8 years: 25 mg (>650 mg)
- 9 to 13 years: 45 mg (>1200 mg)
- 14 to 18 years: 75 mg (boys); 65 mg (girls)
- 19 and above: 90 mg (men); 75 mg (women) (>1800 mg)
While pregnant and nursing mothers should take 120 mg on an everyday basis (>2000 mg), the dosage for people ho take tobacco must be increased by 35 mg.
Topically: Topical applications can include concentrations of 5% and 10% vitamin C.
The best way to take in vitamin C still remains a diet with healthy and assured food sources rich in vitamin C.
The following fruits and vegetables are believed to be rich in vitamin C:
- Citrus fruit
- Green peppers
- White potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy green vegetable
- Red pepper
- Winter squash
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C incurs various health benefits as it is one of the essential nutrients of the body. Some of its health benefits are enumerated as below:
It is known to be a nutrient-sensitive to stress and is often helpful in reducing it.
It is effective in reducing cold and flu and might reduce risks of other complexities like pneumonia and lung infection.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claimed that for those who took regular intakes of vitamin C, the risk of heart disease was reduced by 42%.
It prevents dryness and wrinkles on the skin by regulating cell growth and also reduces inflammation.
Reduces or rather delays age-related muscular degeneration.
Reduces the risk of cancer.
Since vitamin C is a natural and essential nutrient, it rarely causes any side effects that severely hamper our health.
However, it’s overdosage might lead to some consequences. Enlisted below are some side effects associated with the use of vitamin C orally and topically:
When used topically, the oxidative changes might cause the yellowish colour of the skin, hypo-pigmented hair and staining of hair.
Over application might cause stinging, erythema and extreme dryness.
Rare cases of urticaria and erythema multiforme after the use of vitamin C have been documented.
Overdose orally might lead to irritation is the gastrointestinal tracts and diarrhoea. Severe diarrhea might lead to dehydration and fatigue, low urine output and therefore low blood pressure.
It has been associated with increased risk of oxalate kidney stones.
It can worsen the condition of hemochromatosis which is caused by excessive iron build-up, since vitamin C facilitates iron absorption in the body. The condition of hemochromatosis is known to affect the liver, heart, and pancreas.
Vitamin C deficiency, however, can cause a severe form of scurvy or anemia.
Precautions While Using vitamin C
Though it is a fairly safe nutrient, you must observe the following precautions while using it:
Pregnant women should not exceed the amount of 120 mg per day or it might harm the unborn baby.
It is suggested that vitamin C be avoided immediately before or after angioplasty as its antioxidant nature might interfere with the healing process.
Cancerous cells tend to collect vitamin C and it should be used only under the supervision of your oncologist if you have cancer.
It might raise your blood sugar level and it is generally advisable that diabetes patients consult their doctor before taking higher doses.
If you have a history of kidney stones then you must avoid taking vitamin C in doses higher than those present in multivitamins.
People suffering from ‘glucose-6 phosphate dehydogenase deficiency’ are advised to avoid vitamin C as in that condition, it might cause red blood cells to break.
Vitamin C can make the sickle cell disease worse and it should be avoided in such a condition.
It should not be applied to the eyes or eyelids.
Possible Drug Interactions
Vitamin C might interact with the following:
- Antacids contain aluminum which might react with vitamin C. vitamin C tends to increase the amount of aluminum that the body absorbs.
- Vitamin C decreases the rate at which the body tends to dispose of estrogen.
- It might react to the medications of cancer and reduce their effectiveness.
- It might also decrease the effectiveness of some medications used to deal with HIV/AIIDS.
- Vitamin c reduces the effectiveness of cholesterol-reducing medicines.
- A large amount of vitamin C might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin.
- Vitamin C might decrease the breakdown of aspirin.
Customer review of Vitamin C for Acne
We did an analysis of review by consumers who have tried using vitamin C for their acne problems to see what they liked and disliked about the treatment.
Here is a summary of their experiences:
What they liked about it
Heal scars: Most of the consumers were happy that they did not have to find any other substitute to deal with acne scars. Vitamin C offers a solution to that too. It must be noted that vitamin C rich food is known for its lightening properties, like lemon
Smooth skin: A lot of consumers experienced an overall upliftment in the health of their skin. Vitamin C made their skin soft, smooth and glowing. It evens down the tone as well, giving it a calm feeling.
Overall health: many consumers were happy that it was one solution that caused a strong immunity system, in the process of healing acne breakouts, so that they were generally stronger to fight any kind of infection or disease
What they did not like about it
Expensive: Some people found vitamin C supplements rather expensive. The reason behind it can be a large number of additives it requires to stable the highly unstable vitamin C
Dryness: A few consumers experienced extreme dryness on the application. It is usually advised that they use a moisturizer in cases of extreme dryness.
Vitamin C is a naturally occurring antioxidant and an essential nutrient required for the proper functioning and growth of our body.
It has a very high safety level and boosts our overall immunity.
Vitamin C is naturally present in so many fruits and vegetable in high concentrations and you do not essentially have to rely on supplements as these food sources are a healthy option.
It helps to make your skin soft, smooth, glowing and scar free.
Antra is a seasoned writer and has written for several health and wellness topics especially related to skin problems. When not researching and writing, she loves to travel and explore the world.