Are you tired of trying of using expensive skin lotions and creams that promise lighter skin within a few weeks but never deliver? Vitamin C may be the answer you are looking for.
Whiter and lighter skin shades have long been considered more beautiful. While this is debatable, the efficacy of Vitamin C in lighting the skin tone is not.
You may have already come across this fact but may not be sure about its efficiency and how it works. This guide will answer all these questions, and most importantly, “How much Vitamin C should I take to lighten skin?”
What Exactly is Vitamin C?
Before jumping into the benefits of using Vitamin C, let us take a look at what it exactly is. Vitamin C is a naturally occurring element that can be found in food items such as citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons and limes), and dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, etc.). These days, you can also find supplement forms of the vitamin like pills and capsules.
The reason this vitamin is so sort after is because of its excellent health benefits which go beyond skin care.
- It is highly effective in managing common cold.
- Faster healing of wounds.
- Improving blood flow in the body.
- Managing sugar levels, lowering cholesterol and even combatting daily stress.
But how exactly does it do all this?
Vitamin C, also known in the scientific circles as ascorbic acid, is a natural and powerful anti-oxidant that fights hard to neutralize ‘free-radicals’ in our body. Free radicals are highly dangerous and are known to cause damage to skin and other major organs of the human body. Here’s a small video to help understand the power of Vitamin C.
The reason you need to rely on natural and other sources to meet your needs for Vitamin C is because the human body lacks the enzyme needed to produce it naturally. However, many plants and animals are capable of producing their own ascorbic acid – and that’s why we indirectly depend on them for our daily dose.
What Makes Your Skin Light or Dark?
The color and tone of your skin is dependent on a pigment produced by cells called melanocytes with the help of an enzyme called tyrosinase. This pigment is known as melanin. To put in simple words, the more melanin your body produces, the darker is the tone of your skin.
The melanin produced by your body is deposited in the upper layer of your skin in two forms – Eumelanin and Pheomelanin. The former form is the darker part of the melanin, while the latter is lighter and more yellowish.
This means if your body produces more pheomelanin and lesser eumelanin, your skin tone would become lighter. On the other hand, if your body ends up producing excessive eumelanin due to hormonal imbalances or too much exposure to the sun or free radical caused skin damage, you may end up with issues like dark skin pigmentation.
How Does Vitamin C Lighten Skin?
As noted above, free radicals are highly dangerous for the skin and can cause severe damage. The early onset of signs of aging and issues like dark skin pigmentation are examples of this. But, Vitamin C, being an anti-oxidant, Vitamin C neutralizes these havoc causing agents before they can cause any serious damage.
Regular intake of Vitamin C also helps exfoliate the skin which means it helps get rid of dead skin cells. This gives way to newer and lighter skin cells below, which helps in making the skin look much lighter and brighter.
Apart from performing as an anti-oxidant itself, this vitamin also boosts the production of Vitamin E and Glutathione. Both of these are strong anti-oxidants as well and speed up the process of neutralizing free radicals significantly. Many people also intake supplementary glutathione to help accelerate skin lightning.
Lastly, Vitamin C lessens the production of tyrosinase, the enzyme that helps melanocytes produce more melanin. This way, the skin remains lighter for longer. It is also useful to know that Vitamin C is acidic in nature (hence the name ascorbic acid) which makes it capable of cleansing the skin and fighting off infections.
How Much Vitamin C Should You Use?
The answer ‘how much’ depends on how you decide to get your dose of Vitamin C. The most inexpensive and readily available sources are citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables. However, they may not be as fast in producing results as topical Vitamin C found in various forms like serums, creams and lotions. Also available are pills and capsules which however may cause side-effects.
Before giving you any number, I should inform you that your body is incapable of storing Vitamin C in any form or way. This means you need to intake the vitamin daily. While the FDA recommends a minimum of 40mg per day per adult, this quantity will not greatly help lighten skin.
Much higher doses of about 1000mg to 3000mg of Vitamin C are recommended for the purpose of lighting your skin tone. The thing to understand is that beyond a certain limit, your body will not absorb the vitamin and simply flush it out. The best way to match the recommended intake value is to find a balance between natural food sources and topical sources.
Can Excess Intake of Vitamin C Cause Harm?
The fact that excessive Vitamin C cannot be stored in your body in any form and will simply be flushed out means that the risk of any kind of toxicity is very low. But high doses of over 1000mg have been reported to cause discomfort in the stomach, and even diarrhea.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before increasing your daily intake of Vitamin C, especially if you plan on making use of topical sources, pills or capsules. Pills and capsules may cause allergic reactions like swelling of the skin or acne, and hormonal disturbance.
What are Some Topical Vitamin C Sources Easily Available?
Topical sources are the highest rated Vitamin C treatment sources, even higher than oral intake of food sources or pills. Topical sources in the market include many kinds of serums, lotions and creams. I am sharing a few popular products that seem to genuinely work, but I strongly advise you to consult with your skin care expert before using any topical source.
There is absolutely no doubt that Vitamin C is a tried, tested and approved method for lighting the color of your skin. The best part about this treatment is that the vitamin is easily available, both naturally and otherwise. For best results, I recommend:
- Don’t rely completely on natural or topical sources, but strike a balance between both.
- Daily intake of 1000mg to 3000mg is recommended for efficiency.
- Consult your doctor or skin care expert to fix the exact daily intake suitable for you.
Did you find this tutorial helpful?
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have or share any suggestions you may have using the comments section.