Wrinkles, fine lines, brown splotches, red spider veins, rough texture, dull color, dry flakes . . . all are signs of aging you’d like to wish away. Since wishing doesn’t make it so, here’s another option: a supplement or vitamin-enriched product that promises to make older skin look young again and to keep young skin from growing old Can anything you swallow or swab on skin make it bright, smooth, and supple?
The answer is yes . . . and maybe. So far, vitamin-based treatments have the lion’s share — about 65% — of the ginormous cosmeceutical market. Vitamins are the superstars of the cosmeceutical world for two reasons: One, many are powerful antioxidants that scarf up the destructive molecules called free radicals. Two, some vitamins may help repair the damage to skin structures that has been done by those free radicals.
If you nix enough of those dangerous molecules, can you prevent signs of aging on your face? And can you repair any sun damage you’ve accumulated by flooding the skin with healing vitamins?
Thanks to a team of UCLA researchers who did a painstaking review of key studies of vitamins, skin, and photoaging, we — and you — now have some answers. Vitamin C is essential to building collagen and elastin — the fibers that make skin strong and stretchy. C is also a potent antioxidant, which means it can neutralize troublemaking free radicals. Scientists have shown that not getting enough C each day contributes to wrinkles and dryness. Putting vitamin C directly on your skin can improve not only wrinkles and dryness but also roughness, broken blood vessels, and sallow skin tone. But there’s a hitch: Vitamin C is so unstable that just a bit of sunlight, air, heat, or water renders it ineffective. Depending on the formulation, some products may not stay active long enough to do much good.