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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vitamin C is normally deposited in the skin

By Dr. Des Fernandes
Vitamin C
is ascorbic acid and is naturally found in nature, while some animals have the
ability to produce their own vitamin C, human beings do not produce vitamin C themselves
and are totally reliant
on the vitamin C they get in their diets. Vitamin C is a water
vitamin and we do not have large stores of vitamin C in our body. If we don't eat vitamin C
then within about six weeks we develop the signs of deficiency of vitamin C, that is scurvy.
Vitamin C is normally deposited in the skin and is an essential part of the anti
brigade to protect skin against free radical assault from the atmosphere and from ultra violet
light. Vitamin C plays a very important in converting inactivated vitami
n E back into an
active anti
oxidant form of vitamin E. This is probably the reason why vitamin C has such an
important role to play in the protection of cellular membranes even though it is a water
soluble product while cellular membranes are mainly compo
sed of lipid molecules.
Vitamin C is denatured in the skin by exposure to blue light and also to ultra violet light in
the group A. As with vitamin A we probably develop a chronic deficiency of vitamin C in all
the areas of skin that are exposed to sunlig
ht. Vitamin C does not seem to have any activity
on DNA itself, but certainly does work on various enzymes in the body. Therefore vitamin C
has both an anti
oxidant activity and a metabolic activity.
Vitamin C in photoageing:
Vitamin C plays a potent rol
e in diminishing the effects of free radical damage and in this
role can be quite effective as a protectant from ultra violet light damage. The advantage of
vitamin C over a sunscreen is that vitamin C can be absorbed into the cells and is generally
present about 30
36 hours after it has been applied topically to the skin. It will, therefore,
still give sun protection even though the subject may have washed their skin or gone
swimming. As a result of this we can expect that vitamin C can slow down pho
Vitamin C plays an essential part in the incorporation of proline into collagen and is also
involved in the formation of elastin. With a deficiency of vitamin C impaired collagen is
created and the skin can become more wrinkled. The re
placement of vitamin C boosts the
manufacture collagen and so wrinkles can become less noticeable after using vitamin C.
Vitamin C effects pigmentation in two ways: The creation of melanin is
an oxidative process
and so a powerful antioxidant like vitamin C could counteract the oxidative process required
to create melanin. Ascorbic acid also has a role to play as an inhibitor tyrosinase. Tyrosinase
is essential for the formation of melanin, so
if it is inhibited then the action of pigmentation is
The use of vitamin C in scarring:
The use of vitamin C for scarring of the skin is a recent discovery. In this case the vitamin C
has to be delivered in high dosage to the skin and as a result
of that more collagen will be
formed and normal collagen that is often found tethering scars will be replaced with normal
collagen and the scars will fill up to a degree and become less noticeable. This process seems
to be best effected with the use of io
ntophoresis. Enclosed is a photograph to show the
numerous effects of vitamin C when iontophoresed onto a patient with severe chicken pox
scars. You will notice that after a period of 24 treatments of iontophoresis of vitamin C the
skin looks smoother, the
pigmentation has been reduced and the scars are flatter.
The role of the beauty therapist in the preparation of the patient for laser resurfacing of
the skin:
Laser resurfacing of the skin is a destructive procedure of the epidermis of the skin and is
st likened to a superficial burn of the skin. In most cases the whole of the epidermis and the
rete pegs are destroyed and the skin has to heal from remnants of epidermal cells found in the
hair follicles and the sweat glands. In a superficial burn of the
face which has very many hair
follicles and sweat glands, the healing phase can take about five to seven days.
Bearing this in mind the beauty therapist should prepare her client for the laser by getting the
skin into its optimum health. To do this one ha
s to make sure that the vitamin status of the
skin is kept up in its healthiest condition and daily applications of vitamin A and C, together
with the antioxidant vitamins E and beta
carotene should be done. One should try and reduce
excessive horny layer
or rough skin prior to the laser treatment. If the laser treatment is
planned in several months and the patient has rough skin then it is worthwhile to do some
ultra light peeling on the skin simply to reduce the amount of the horny layer. This may be
with the daily use of an alpha hydroxy acid. The one that I favour most would be lactic
acid, and then periodic ultra light peeling done once a week with a low dose alpha hydroxy
The skin care therapist can influence the keratinocytes so that they
will grow faster and heal
the wound much sooner. The best way to do this is to prepare the skin with vitamin A, which
increases the rate of keratinocyte duplication. This effect would be boosted by the use of
alpha hydroxy acids, which would also stimulate
keratinocyte growth in the early phases. The
client has to be carefully trained in sun protection strategies, because once the skin has been
treated with laser, then it will be significantly more sun sensitive. The reason for the sun
sensitivity is the ve
ry thin horny layer that will persist for several months and also the fact
that the epidermis is very much thinner than it used to be. The client should be instructed in
the use of a proper protective hat and, if necessary, the use of sun protection creams
On the point of sun protection creams it is probably wiser not to rely on a cream with a SPF
ratio of higher than about 16
20. The reason for this is that one needs to reduce the exposure
of the skin to inorganic sunscreen chemicals as much as possible.
In this regard it is wiser to
use a product which has a major component of inorganic sunscreen chemicals. The additional
advantage of these reflective sunscreens is that they may further reduce the clients' chances of
getting increased pigmentation follow
ing laser treatment. The most perfect sunscreen product
would also contain antioxidant vitamins beta
carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C as well as the
soothing antioxidant pro
vitamin B5.
If the client has acne and is being treated with laser treatments for a
cne scars, then it is a wise
idea to reduce the status of the acne. This should be done with the daily use of low dose
vitamin A which is ideally combined with Australian Tea Tree Oil to reduce chances of acne
development. The combination with benzoyl benz
oate is also important. Please remember to
use the benzoyl benzoate in the morning and the vitamin A rather at night. If necessary
peeling should be done to control the acne and I recommend light, but frequent peeling, till
the acne condition is stabilised
. In acne patients I would the use of high dose vitamin C.
However, low dose vitamin C combined with the antioxidants, beta
carotene, vitamin E are
safe for skin. I do not recommend the use of hydroquinone, though it is generally used by all
doctors doing
laser treatments.

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