Vitamin C (for the face, in food): check benefits

Fundamental to the nutrition and correct functioning of the body, vitamin C has benefits that go beyond strengthening against colds and flu.

What is vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid , is a chemical compound necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. It is water-soluble (can be dissolved in water) and a powerful antioxidant that is part of the hydroxylation (a process that modifies the chemical composition of a substance, making it water-soluble) of proteins used to replace skin, bones and teeth.

Vitamins are compounds that the body cannot produce – or what it produces is insufficient -, but which are needed in small amounts, and must be obtained through food. Vitamin C is one of the vitamins that the body does not produce.

Most animals produce ascorbic acid, so for them the substance is not considered a vitamin, but for some animals such as humans and guinea pigs, it is necessary for food.

What is its function in the organism?

The function of vitamin C is to hydroxylate collagen. That is, it participates in the synthesis of the substance, which is essential for the firmness of the skin, bones and teeth, as well as for the integrity of the blood vessels. Without vitamin C, collagen synthesis is impaired, which can cause the disease called scurvy, which we will talk about later.

In addition, vitamin C is an antioxidant. This type of substance can prevent oxidation reactions. Oxidation is a natural and necessary process for life, but it can cause damage. Oxidation can produce free radicals.

Free radicals within the body can damage and kill cells. Therefore, having antioxidants in the body is important to reduce these losses a little.

There are other functions of the vitamin, for example:

  • Production of norepinephrine (a neurotransmitter that turns into adrenaline);
  • Iron absorption;
  • Carnitine production (necessary for the production of cellular energy);
  • Anti-inflammatory effect.

Benefits of Vitamin C

Intake of vitamin C is necessary for the body. A healthy person, who already ingests the necessary amount of the vitamin, will not receive extra benefits from consuming more, so the excess is unnecessary. But, ensuring that vitamin C is being ingested in the correct proportions can promote:

Healthy tissue production

The main function of vitamin C is the production of collagen, an essential material for sustaining the skin. Without collagen, the skin loses its elasticity, can hurt itself more easily and has difficulties in healing.

Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are used by the body to neutralize free radicals that can be released by the oxidation of nucleic acids, proteins and lipids within the body.

This oxidation occurs in several ways, including through exposure to the sun, smoke and pollution. The skin has abundant vitamin C and the consumption of the nutrient helps to keep it protected from these factors that increase oxidation.

Among them, for example, photoaging and photocarcinogenesis, which are, respectively, the aging caused by solar radiation and the synthesis of cancer cells through sunlight.

The vitamin is also necessary for bones, teeth and cartilage, so ingestion is important for these tissues to be produced properly.

Better absorption of ores

Ores, like iron, are more easily absorbed by cells when the body has the necessary amounts of vitamin C. The lack of this absorption can lead to diseases such as anemia , which is the lack of iron in the body.

Lower risk of gout

The drop is a condition caused by solidification of uric acid in the joints, causing pain forming crystals. Vitamin C reduces the risk of this solidification happening, effectively decreasing the chances of gout.

Reduction of free radicals in the body

Due to the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, the production of free radicals is reduced in the body, which protects cells from damage.

Free radicals are molecules that can associate with others, causing oxidation. They can enter the body in several ways – for example, through food – in addition to being produced by the body in the process of burning oxygen.

They cause damage to cells, but the body can usually repair most of them. Vitamin C fights this damage, protecting cells from premature aging.

Increased resistance to heart disease

Vitamin C helps to control blood pressure and protects the body’s circulatory system, reducing the dangers of heart disease. The antioxidant effects are responsible for these effects.

Prevention of vision problems

The consumption of ascorbic acid and its antioxidant effect helps to prevent vision problems, such as cataracts , which are the loss of the transparency of the lens, the lens of our eyes.

Improvement in cellular respiration

Despite being an antioxidant for the body, vitamin C itself oxidizes easily. When this happens inside the body, ascorbic acid is converted into dehydroascorbic acid (the oxidized version of vitamin C).

This transformation is reversible and helps in the transport of hydrogen, improving cellular respiration.

Protects blood vessels

The antioxidant effects of vitamin C protect cells in the circulatory system of the human body, making them more resistant.

Strengthens the immune system

The immune system is strengthened by the consumption of vitamin C, since it helps in the production of white blood cells.

There is no scientific evidence that taking vitamin C cures colds and flu, but it can help prevent them.

Decreases the chances of stroke

Through the antioxidant effects, vitamin C is able to reduce the chances of stroke. This is because the blood vessels in the brain are protected.

Avoid and cure scurvy

Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the body. It can be cured by taking the vitamin.

Vitamin C for the face

Vitamin C is very popular for leaving the skin on your face bright and youthful. Because of its antioxidant effect, it reduces the amount of free radicals that can damage cells (causing blemishes). Therefore, in addition to being part of the synthesis of collagen, which makes the skin more elastic and healthy, vitamin C slows down cellular aging.

The nutrient is good for the skin of the face when ingested and when applied topically. For that there are dermocosmetics based on vitamin C.

Its benefits for the skin include:

  • Hydration;
  • Wrinkle attenuation;
  • Attenuation of expression lines;
  • Reduction of sunspots and acne;
  • Skin softening;
  • Protection against pollution;
  • Reduction of signs of aging.

Dermocosmetics

Dermocosmetics are products for the skin that seek to make it more beautiful, with a young and healthy appearance. They are usually topical. Vitamin C cream should be applied to the face once a day.

Among them are the anti-aging creams Active c10 La Roche-Posay  and Redermic Hyalu C La Roche-Posay .

Read more:  La Roche Posay’s Active C10 has won a full review on our blog , how about checking it out?

These products are focused on providing greater luminosity to the skin, reducing expression lines and wrinkles, in addition to fine lines. Some may indicate different doses. Follow the instructions for use.

In addition to these, you can buy vitamin C creams at compounding pharmacies, which can make higher percentages of the substance available in the formula. But before taking any action, remember to consult a dermatologist .

Sources of vitamin C

Orange is not the only food that has vitamin C. It is famous because citrus fruits, in the past, were taken on long voyages by ship to serve as a source of vitamin C, thus avoiding its lack.

There are several foods that even have more vitamin C than orange. For example, acerola. While an orange has an average of 75mg of vitamin C, a single acerola – which is a tiny fruit – has approximately 150mg.

The table below contains some of the foods that have vitamin C, in ascending order. This list only lists some of the ones that contain the most ascorbic acid, but there are many more foods that contain the vitamin.

It is important to note that the list shows the amount of vitamin C for every 100 grams of the food. A pear orange usually weighs 160g, so consuming a whole fruit will give you around 75mg of vitamin C.

In the case of camu-camu, the fruit that most contains the substance, 12 units would be needed to reach 100 grams, but each, alone, still has more than 200mg of vitamin C.

Lime orange 43 mg / 100 g
Tomato 45 mg/100g
Poncã 48 mg / 100 g
Pear Orange 53 mg / 100 g
Cress 60 mg / 100 g
Carambola 60 mg / 100 g
Strawberry 63 mg / 100 g
Manga 65 mg / 100 g
Kiwi 70 mg / 100 g
Beautiful papaya 78 mg / 100 g
Red guava 80 mg / 100 g
Papaya 82 mg / 100 g
White guava 98 mg / 100 g
Green pepper 100 mg / 100 g
Tangerine 112 mg / 100 g
Yellow pepper 143 mg / 100 g
Red bell pepper 158 mg / 100 g
cashew 219 mg / 100 g
Acerola 1046 mg / 100 g
Your camu 2606 mg / 100 g

It is not difficult to find foods with vitamin C. It is recommended to eat these foods very fresh, as the substance oxidizes easily.

A glass of orange juice can have all the nutrients oxidized in an hour, so this type of juice tastes strange after a while. However, this oxidation is not a problem, since it is reversible within the body.

However, when heated to more than 37 ºC for some time, vitamin C undergoes an irreversible chemical reaction and is no longer useful for the body. Therefore, to take advantage of the vitamin in the listed foods, it is recommended that they are raw.

Scurvy: lack of vitamin C.

Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C. It manifests itself initially through discomfort, lethargy and, sometimes, pain in the gums.

After 1 to 3 months, muscle pains may appear, as well as skin roughness, easy bruising, gingivitis , loose teeth and slow healing. In addition, bones can break more easily.

In more advanced stages , fever , seizures , falling teeth, fractures, jaundice, edema and eventually death may occur .

The disease has been responsible for millions of deaths throughout history. Its cure has been discovered and forgotten several times since 1500 BC, since the information that eating orange, for example, relieved and even cured symptoms was lost again and again to be rediscovered again years later. Vitamin C was not a known substance until the 19th century and doctors believed it to be a digestive disease.

Scurvy was a common disease on ships. Sea voyages that crossed oceans lasted for months and food was affected. Sailors were unable to take fruit on the trip, as they rotted, so their bodies lacked vitamin C. There are many cases in the history of almost entire crews dying from scurvy.

Scurvy today

Currently, it is known that the consumption of foods with vitamin C is enough to prevent and cure the disease, so it is rare. It usually affects malnourished people or homeless people, as they may have greater difficulties in obtaining foods that have vitamin C. Consuming ascorbic acid totally reverses the symptoms of the disease.

Risk groups for vitamin C deficiency

Some groups are more prone to a lack of vitamin C than others. Are they:

Smokers

Nicotine cancels vitamin C in the body. Smokers may need up to twice as much vitamin C when compared to someone who does not smoke, because from one third to all the ascorbic acid in the body can be destroyed in this way.

Pregnant

Pregnant women need a higher dose of vitamin C because they are nourishing both themselves and the baby. Therefore, the minimum consumption of ascorbic acid may not be enough for them.

Infants

Like pregnant women, lactating women need more vitamin C than people who are not using resources to feed their children. These people may need more vitamin C in their diet.

Recommended daily intake

It is possible to consume too much vitamin C. There is a maximum recommended dose. The intestine has the capacity to absorb approximately 1200mg of vitamin C per day. Above that, the nutrient passes directly through the digestive system, but a consumption of more than 2000mg / day can cause problems.

However, it is important to note that 1200mg / day is already much more  than necessary.

The recommended dose varies according to age and sex. Children from 1 to 8 years old should take 20mg / day. Between the ages of 9 and 13, the dose rises to 30mg / day.

From the age of 14, sex begins to influence the amount needed. Between 14 and 19 years of age, men need 75mg / day while women need to take 65mg / day of vitamin C.

From the age of 19, the recommended dose is 90mg / day for men and 75mg / day for women.

What if I take too much vitamin C?

The body is not able to store vitamin C, so it eliminates it through the kidneys. However, high intakes can cause problems in several categories. This excess is called megadose. Among the problems are:

Kidney stones

Kidney stones can form from deposits of the substance, which pass through the organ to be eliminated when it is consumed in excess.

Diarrhea

The intestinal mucosa can become irritated due to high doses of vitamin C, which causes diarrhea .

Urethritis

The urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, the channel through which urine exits the body. Consuming too much vitamin C can cause this inflammation, even if there is no specific cause like a bacterial infection.

Blood in the urine

The presence of blood in the urine is always worrying and it can be triggered by excessive consumption of vitamin C.

Iron overload

The increase in iron absorption caused by vitamin C can be exaggerated if high amounts of it are consumed. Iron overload can cause several liver problems such as cirrhosis , in addition to making the skin coppery due to the deposits of the substance.

Vitamin C Supplement: Price and Where to Buy

The vitamin C supplement is not particularly expensive and can be purchased at any pharmacy. The price varies between R $ 8.00 and R $ 13.00. It is preferable to ingest the vitamin through food, but if this is not possible, supplements can help. Some of them are:

  • Cebion;
  • Redoxon ;
  • Cewin .

Attention!

NEVER  self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

How to take

Vitamin C supplements are usually sold in effervescent tablets. To ingest them, dilute the tablet in a 200mL glass of water and drink the liquid at any time of the day. It is important that the tablet is completely dissolved before ingestion.

There are supplements sold in drops, which can be ingested pure or diluted in water or juice. To ensure correct ingestion, the package insert should be consulted to find out how many drops should be taken.

Care with supplementation

Some precautions need to be taken when using ascorbic acid supplementation. The dose must be respected, but some cases need special attention. Between them:

  • People on concomitant anticoagulant therapy;
  • Sodium restrictions in the diet;
  • People with diabetes;
  • Recurrent kidney stones;
  • Pregnant.

Avoiding exaggeration is always important and you should not take vitamin C supplementation without the assistance of a doctor .


Vitamin C is an essential compound for the human body. Without it, we can face serious health problems like scurvy. The consumption of the vitamin has several benefits for the immune system.

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