Lemons and other citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C. Do you know just how vital it is to your health, and your skin in particular?
In earlier times, sailors were often subject to a disease called Scurvy, which caused their gums to bleed. In fact, it was noted centuries ago in the days of ancient Egypt. Bleeding gums were only the first signs of the disease, which eventually causes weakness, severe fatigue, soreness in the legs and arms. Red blood cells decrease, and there may be spontaneous bleeding from the skin. Wounds don’t heal, and mood and personality are affected. Eventually, the patient will die without treatment.
The cause? Lack of vitamin C.
James Lind, a Scottish surgeon serving in the Royal Navy, was the first to correctly identify the cause of the problem and treat it simply by adding citrus fruit to the diet back in 1753. The British Navy eventually began to give all their sailors lemon juice to combat the problem, and that’s why “Limey” became a slang term for British people in general.
That’s how important vitamin C is to general health, and why it’s an essential part of your diet.
Vitamin C and Your Skin
Vitamin C is the most common antioxidant found in the skin, where it works to help minimize damage from free radicals by neutralizing them. That’s the good news.
The larger story is that eating or taking vitamin C supplements doesn’t necessarily translate into more antioxidant action when it comes to your skin. Studies have shown that topical application is a better method of delivering vitamin C to your skin.
As we know, the UV rays from the sun can cause skin damage, or oxidative stress, which can actually alter skin’s DNA. UVA rays can destroy collagen, elastin, and other cellular structures within the skin, causing premature aging. Sunscreen alone blocks only about 55% of that oxidative stress and damage, according to a recent study. The study recommends adding topical vitamin C along with sunscreen to fully protect your skin.
That’s right – vitamin C actually helps your skin protect itself and repair skin damage. A double blind study in 2002 found that vitamin C provided statistically significant improvement when it came to damage from free radicals.
Aging causes the levels of vitamin C in the skin to diminish, which means that you need to add more as you get older, so be sure to add more citrus to your diet, and check out some of our DIY citrus beauty recipes.