The benefits of vitamin C for the skin

Written by: Kernel



Time to read 8 min

Vitamin C! It is one of the best-known vitamins and one that we hear about the most! We could almost imagine it being orange in color, linked to the orange juice with which we have always associated it. We all know its name and the association that is made between it and the energy supply we need. But ultimately do we really know her? What is its connection with our face ? What are its beneficial effects for our skin ? Why should you use it in your skincare routine ? In this article, we will take a detailed look at vitamin C and its benefits for the skin and face .

Indeed, in the world of skin care, vitamin C is cited everywhere for its anti-aging, anti-oxidant, anti-brown spot properties , for its link with the production of collagen and the reduction of inflammation. skin . We are going to look at each of these characteristics in detail to disentangle fact from fiction and provide answers to the questions we ask ourselves.

1. What exactly is vitamin C or ascorbic acid?

The scientific name for vitamin C is ascorbic acid , a name which comes from the Greek and which means anti-scurvy in connection with the disease of the same name which results from a significant and prolonged deficiency of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin sensitive to light and heat . Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins that will dissolve in water and in all aqueous substances.

Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and B vitamins must be supplied to the body every day because they are eliminated quite quickly by the body. Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K must also be supplied regularly to the body but can be stored for longer in the liver and adipose tissues such as fats while awaiting their release and use by the body. 'body.

One of the important points regarding vitamin C is that it cannot be synthesized or stored by the body, so it is necessary to obtain it through a rich and varied diet with foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and in particular citrus fruits . Its intake through our diet is optimal when the foods that contain it are consumed raw.

Indeed, vitamin C is a heat-sensitive vitamin, so it will be destroyed by cooking food. It will also be destroyed by pasteurization and sterilization processes which are food preservation processes using heat.

Vitamin C intake for the skin and face must also be done topically through the application of a cream, lotion or serum enriched with vitamin C. Regular application of a facial treatment in a container will allow the skin to benefit from its many benefits which we will detail just below.

It should be noted that integrating one or more vitamin C treatments into your skincare routine is recommended when our skin needs it but in no way replaces the recommended daily intake which must be achieved through a balanced diet.

2. What are the benefits of vitamin C for the face?

Vitamin C has many benefits for the skin :

  • Anti-oxidant: It counters free radicals thanks to its powerful antioxidant functions . In this way, it protects the skin from environmental oxidative stress which can, for example, be caused by the sun, air pollution, lack of sleep, stress, alcohol or tobacco. It is important to note that tobacco indeed reduces the vitamin C present in the body, which can increase cardiovascular problems.

  • Anti-brown spots: It helps reduce brown spots present on the skin. These dark spots can be caused by acne scars, hormones, sun exposure or skin aging. When the skin undergoes inflammation , it will heal and form a brown spot also called a pigment spot . These spots often have an unsightly side that vitamin C will help to reduce . To go into more detail, brown spots result from increased production of melanin , the pigment responsible for skin color. Vitamin C will then moderate the action of tyrosinase, the enzyme which allows the production of melanin .

  • Anti-aging and hydrating: It plays a crucial role in the production of collagen . Collagen, which is part of a family of proteins called structural proteins , is the most abundant protein in the human body. It represents 25 to 35% of the total proteins in our body. It is present in connective tissues including skin, bones, muscles, cartilage and on the walls of blood vessels. Collagen therefore proves to be an essential ally for our skin. It helps retain water in the tissues and therefore fight against dehydration . Being inextensible and resistant to traction, it also helps fight against sagging skin and the appearance of wrinkles to keep the skin supple, firm and smooth.

  • Strengthens the immune system: It strengthens the immune system and helps the body defend itself against viral infections such as colds. Vitamin C accumulates in white blood cells to improve their ability to destroy microbes. Vitamin C deficiency affects the proper functioning of the immune system and makes the body more susceptible to infections.

  • Beneficial against stress: It plays a role in adaptation to physical and psychological stress and in reducing blood pressure. Vitamin C will in fact help to attenuate the body's response following a stressful situation by reducing the secretion of the hormone which causes it, cortisol . It is also involved in the production of norepinephrine and dopamine , two hormones that allow the body to react to stressful situations.

It is important to note that vitamin C can act in synergy with vitamin E, zinc, selenium and beta-carotene to increase the beneficial effects for the body and skin.

3. What do you need to know about using vitamin C in a facial treatment?

Why use a facial treatment containing vitamin C?

The human body is not capable of synthesizing vitamin C, it therefore needs its intake via food but also via topical application, which is why it is very beneficial to use a treatment with it daily. balanced and stabilized vitamin C.

A facial treatment containing vitamin C should be integrated into your skincare routine when you have the following concerns: pigment spots , acne marks , wrinkles , fine lines , crow's feet wrinkles , loss of elasticity , loss of brilliance .

The action of vitamin C will help slow down the skin aging process thanks to its antioxidant action and by stimulating the production of collagen . This will allow the skin to retain its elasticity and remain supple, firm and smooth.

What is the difference between a vitamin C cream and serum?

The differences between a cream and a serum , whether for vitamin C or for other active ingredients, will mainly reside in their concentrations, their textures and their properties.

A serum is an aqueous or oily treatment which will be highly concentrated in active ingredients (more than a cream) and which will quickly penetrate the skin deeply for targeted action.

A cream is a treatment with a thicker texture and richer in fatty elements than a serum and generally less concentrated in active ingredients. The cream will have a more protective and moisturizing effect on the skin.

These two types of care can be used together for greater effectiveness . In this case, you will need to apply the serum first and the cream afterwards on clean, dry skin.

How strong should a vitamin C facial treatment be?

A facial treatment does not necessarily have to contain the highest possible dose of vitamin C, a large quantity is not necessarily a sign of the quality of the treatment.

The effectiveness of the treatment will result from the correct dosage of vitamin C and its synergy with the other active ingredients present . Too high a concentration of vitamin C can have an abrasive effect on the skin and cause irritation . The concentration must be perfectly dosed for the treatment to be effective while remaining suitable for the skin.

In the case of treatment with vitamin C, for topical application , the combination of several antioxidants takes precedence over the quantity of a single one. Vitamin C will be more effective and will have a reinforced action on the skin if it acts in synergy with other active ingredients such as vitamin E or zinc .

When and how often should you use your vitamin C treatment?

A vitamin C cream should be used daily morning and/or evening , or at any other time of the day, over a long period of time and at least for 6 weeks to see the effects on your skin. The cream should be applied daily to clean, dry skin, massaging and making circular movements on the face to make it penetrate.

A vitamin C serum should be used for 4 to 8 weeks or over a longer period depending on your needs. To use the serum, you will need to apply a few drops to a clean, dry face using patting motions to make the serum penetrate more quickly and promote its effectiveness.

Is vitamin C photosensitizing for the skin?

Vitamin C is photosensitive , that is, sensitive to light, but it is not photosensitizing , that is, it does not make the skin more sensitive when exposed to the sun. .

In addition to not causing photosensitivity, combining a treatment containing vitamin C with sunscreen will offer greater protection against the sun's rays than using sunscreen alone.

For which skin types is vitamin C recommended?

Vitamin C is well tolerated by all skin types : normal, oily, dry, very dry and sensitive. In rare cases, it can prove irritating to certain sensitive and reactive skin; in this case it is recommended to stop using it.

4. What are the recommended daily intakes for vitamin C?

According to ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety), here are the recommended daily intakes for vitamin C intake via food , depending on population groups:

Population group

Vitamin C requirements (mg/day)

Children 1 to 3 years old

20 mg

Children 4 to 6 years old

30 mg

Children aged 7 to 10

45 mg

Adolescents aged 11 to 14

70 mg

Adolescents aged 15 to 17

100 mg

Men and women aged 18 and over


Pregnant women

120 mg

Breastfeeding women


5. In what foods can you find vitamin C?

Vitamin C can be found in a large number of foods , mainly fruits and vegetables , here are the foods containing the most according to ANSES :



Acerola cherry

2850 mg

Cashew apple

556 mg

Cooked guava

492 mg


359 mg

Raw guava

228 mg


181 mg

Fresh parsley

177 mg

Fresh thyme

160 mg


155 mg


152 mg


145 mg

Red bell pepper

144 mg

Dried parsley

137 mg


129 mg

Yellow, red, green pepper

121 mg



Brussels sprouts


Fresh aromatic herbs


Dried tomato in oil

102 mg

In summary

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an active ingredient with multiple virtues which is essential for our skin and which must be integrated into your facial care routine for daily use . Using a cream or serum containing vitamin C will allow you to benefit from its anti-aging , anti-brown spot and anti-oxidant properties to obtain more radiant and younger-looking skin.