The quest for whiter skin is a slow, arduous, and expensive process for most women. Pricey creams with all sorts of high tech ingredients are all the rage these days, but could the real secret to skin whitening lie in humble, everyday Vitamin C?
The short answer is yes. Read on to find out what Vitamin C can do for your skin! Hint: it's a multi-tasking vitamin!
What Does Vitamin C Do for Your Skin?
Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant and a key ingredient in forming collagen in our bodies. Because of this, vitamin C is crucial in repairing damage to our skin cells, as proven by studies that show that skin heals faster and scars less when exposed to Vitamin C.
Now that we understand how Vitamin C helps give us smooth and supple skin, how exactly does it whiten?
Vitamin C directly helps whiten skin by inhibiting the production of an enzyme called tyrosinase which lessens production of melanin pigments near the hair follicles. The fewer melanin pigments your body produces, the lighter your skin will be.
Vitamin C also helps protects skin against sun exposure. When one is exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight, reactive oxygen species (ROS) start to form, aggravating skin damage. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C works to neutralize the impact of ROS. Laboratory studies confirm this effect, wherein a topical application of Vitamin C on skin reduces the occurrence of sunburns by as much as 60%!
At the same time, it also helps keep pesky free radicals that damage and darken skin at bay. For example, Vitamin C works in tandem with sunscreen to protect the skin. You see, most popular sunscreens only block around 55% of free radicals from sun exposure, the rest that manage to cling on to skin are then neutralized by high levels of Vitamin C in the body.
But that's not all Vitamin C does for skin lightening. This helpful vitamin also helps boosts the production of another important antioxidant, namely Glutathione, one of the most important ingredients used for skin whitening.
Glutathione is a popular ingredient in skin whitening because it balances the darker and lighter pigments that are present on our skin. It does this by lowering overall melanin production in the body as well as changing the metabolic pathway of melanin from synthesizing dark pigmented melanin (eumelanin) to creating light-pigmented melanin (phaeomelanin).
The result? The more Glutathione present in our bodies, the lighter our skis is. So what role does Vitamin C play in all this? Simple. Vitamin C has the all important ability to regenerate glutathione from oxidation. With higher doses of Vitamin C, you can boost Glutathione production in your body and help ensure that the extra Glutathione you provide doesn't get destroyed.
How to Use Vitamin C for Skin Lightening: 3 Best Options
Which brings us to the logical next question...how does one get enough Vitamin C to have a significant effect on skin whitening?
So many ways. Read on as we spell them out!
Eat Vitamin C Rich Foods
Hands down the easiest way to get ample amounts of Vitamin C on a daily basis is to simply consume more foods that are rich in this wonderful vitamin!
Our bodies cannot produce Vitamin C on it’s own, but luckily there is an abundance of sources for Vitamin C rich foods, and they’re not just limited to citrus fruits either. Fruits such as strawberries, papaya, kiwi and blueberries are rich in Vitamin C as well.
Some other great sources include tomatoes, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. One thing to keep in mind though is that Vitamin C in food is sensitive to heat. To get the maximum dose, don’t cook them too much and avoid reheating multiple times.
The best way to get ample vitamin C in your daily diet? Juicing...
JUICING FOR VITAMIN C
The best thing about juicing is how easy it makes it to get vitamins and nutrients from fresh fruits and veggies.
And Vitamin C is an easy example of this. Know how much Vitamin C is in one orange? Around 70mg.
Now think...how easy is it to get your daily fill of Vitamin C for skin lightening with a glass of orange juice that you make with 5 delicious oranges?
That is the beauty of juicing - it's so incredibly easy.
And you don't even need a full-on, expensive juicer to get the benefits. Since you'll mostly be juicing citrus fruits, you can opt for a less expensive citrus juicer.
The best part? You can't overdose on vitamins you get from real foods 🙂
However, even if you eat Vitamin C rich foods in every meal, it might not be enough to give you the needed daily dose of 1,000 - 3,000 mg of Vitamin C daily. This is where the next tip comes in handy...
Take Vitamin C Pills for Skin Lightening
The healthy amount of Vitamin C for you is highly dependent on your age, weight and gender. As a general guideline, men need a minimum of 100mg a day, while women can get by with 75mg/day which can increase if they are on their period, pregnant or breastfeeding. While there is no such thing as too much Vitamin C, 3000mg is the recommended cap for most adults since that is the maximum that an average body can absorb.
To maximize the amount of Vitamin C for your body, it is recommended that you take supplements of 500mg - 1000mg in two doses. Start with 500mg, and work your way up as long as you don’t feel any side effects. Keep in mind that Vitamin C is best taken on an empty stomach.
If you're taking Vitamin C pills for skin lightening, it's best if you choose a supplement that also contains Glutathione (or Collagen, if you're looking for anti aging effects) to get the best, fastest results.
Here are our top picks...
HIGH POTENCY GLUTA-WHITE
This is probably our favorite of all the Vitamin C pills for skin lightening. Why? Simply because it works.
Which is not surprising considering its potent ingredients: for every scoop, you get 2000mg of liposomal glutathione and liposomal Vitamin C.
Super easy to take and incredibly effective.
RELUMINS ADVANCE WHITE SET
The Relumins Ultimate Whitening Set is the perfect blend of glutathione and Vitamin C.
In each Glutathione Complex pill, you'll find 1650mg of glutathione along with supportive ingredients like Alpha Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, Milk Thistle, Green Tea Extract, Rosehips, Quercetin and several other skin and health boosters that help increase the results of glutathione.
Their Vitamin C Max pills are equally well endowed with Vitamin C, Calcium, Quercetin and various citrus bioflavonoids.
IVORY CAPS GLUTATHIONE + VITAMIN C
Ivory Caps is the most affordable option you can get for another great 2-for-1 deal.
Their glutathione pills contain a potent blend of glutathione, l-cysteine (the amino acid that actually changes the metabolic pathway of melanin from dark pigment to light pigment) as well as antioxidants and flavanoids to boost glutathione's efficacy.
The Vitamin C pills are just as great, with each one containing 1000mg of Vitamin C along with other effective skin lightening ingredients like niacinamide and bearberry extract.
Use Vitamin C in Your Beauty Regimen
To get an additional boost of Vitamin C, make sure it’s not just your pantry that’s chock-full of Vitamin C products but your vanity as well. The fastest way to see a direct impact on your skin is to apply Vitamin C topically. In fact, topical application is usually preferred by dermatologists.
Aside from lightening your skin overall, Vitamin C also helps lighten dark spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation, and improves the texture and suppleness of skin.
When looking for products, 10% is the minimum concentration if you want to see a marked difference, with some serums having as much as 25% to speed up the process. When shopping for a serum, you will often see Vitamin C mixed with either ferulic acid or hyaluronic acid to aid with skin absorption so the good stuff gets to your skin, quick.
Here are our top picks...
KLEEM ORGANIC VITAMIN C SERUM
This Vitamin C serum is a skin lightening powerhouse - it's got 20% Vitamin C for maximum effectiveness combined with 10% Hyaluronic Acid and other skin boosting googies like Ferulic Acid, Arginine, Horsetail Plant Extract, Gotu Kola Extract and many more.
We especially love how it's packaged in an airless bottle to prevent oxidation, which Vitamin C is very prone to.
Oh, and no worries if you're acne prone - this serum moisturizes with non-pore clogging ingredients like aloe vera and jojoba oil. As for effectiveness, nearly 10,000 users have found it to work for everything from sun spots to melasma. Read user reviews here!
AMARA ORGANICS VITAMIN C SERUM
Want a great, super effective Vitamin C serum for half the price? You'll want to check out Amara Organic's Vitamin C serum.
It's a potent blend of 20% Vitamin C combined with 10% Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E.
The best part? It contains STAY-C® 50, a uniquely stable and bio-available form of Vitamin C that's clinically proven to deliver powerful anti-aging results.
It's also great for acne prone skin gentle enough for sensitive skin. Read user reviews here!
If you prefer to go the DIY with a serum, you can mix L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C powder which can be found in most health stores) with glycerine or aloe vera gel to form a paste. Start with a mixture with a ratio of 1:4 of Vitamin C to water, and work your way up, as long as you don’t notice any skin irritations.
In terms of storage, keep your serum in an amber glass bottle with a dropper applicator to minimize light exposure and oxidation. Try to make a fresh paste every 3-4 days to maximize effectivity.
If you want to go even more natural or are in the market for a quick fix, there are options that make use of lemon juice that can effectively lighten and brighten skin, albeit temporarily.
Lemon juice or lemon essential oils are high in Vitamin C and citric acid, one of best alpha hydroxy acids that aid in skin exfoliation. Furthermore, lemon is also an antibacterial, and this can be effective when you want to lighten scars caused by acne, since lemon kills the skin-darkening bacteria from acne.
If you have sensitive skin, be extra careful when using lemon, and perform a patch test first to make sure it will not cause redness. As with any potent serums, make sure to stay away from sun exposure or apply liberal doses of SPF immediately after your treatment to avoid phytophotodermatitis, or skin irritations caused by reactions to sunlight.
Some ways you can use lemon are to mix it with sugar and egg white for a scrub or you can simply squeeze out the juice and dilute with water to use as a toner, it makes for a refreshing face mist too (just make sure that it doesn’t get into your eyes). The skin whitening effect from regular use of fresh lemon treatments can take around 2-3 months to make a noticeable difference.