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Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has many functions in your body. Unlike most animals, humans can’t make vitamin C. You need to get vitamin C in your diet through foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers, and leafy greens.

Vitamin C is particularly important for maintaining healthy-looking skin. Your skin cells use this vitamin to protect from stress caused by pollution, smoking, and UV rays. Your skin also needs vitamin C to create collagen. Collagen is a protein that makes up more than 70 percent of the dry weight of your skin.

Powdered vitamin C is a relatively new product on the market, but it has been gaining popularity recently. It can be mixed with serums or moisturizers to help protect your face and reduce signs of aging.

Keep reading to find out if powdered vitamin C can help you improve the health of your facial skin.

Not all forms of vitamin C can pass through your skin. In order for your skin to use vitamin C, it needs to be in a form called ascorbic acid. However, ascorbic acid is unstable and breaks down when exposed to heat, oxygen, or light.

The ascorbic acid in powdered vitamin C is more resistant than other forms, and it’s thought to retain more of its benefits than vitamin C found in serums or lotions.

Some of the benefits of applying vitamin C to your face include:

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant

Vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in your skin. Your skin cells store vitamin C to prevent damage from environmental factors. UV rays, pollution, and smoking can all damage your skin by creating free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that pull electrons from your cells and cause damage.

Vitamin C promotes collagen production

Collagen makes up the majority of the dry weight of your skin. Your body needs vitamin C to synthesize this protein. Many of the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) are caused by impaired collagen synthesis.

In a 2015 study, a group of 60 healthy women applied a vitamin C-based solution to their face for 60 days. The researchers found that the vitamin C solution was highly effective at inducing collagen synthesis.

Vitamin C lightens skin

Vitamin C inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase. Tyrosinase converts the amino acid tyrosine into melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color.

A 2019 review of studies published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology examined the effect of topical vitamin C on skin spots caused by sun damage. The researchers analyzed 31 clinical trials involving Caucasian and Chinese people between the ages of 18 to 50. They found that vitamin C may be potentially useful for preventing signs of sun damage.

Vitamin C replenishes vitamin E

Vitamin E is another important antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage. After your skin is exposed to sunlight, levels of vitamin E decline. Research has found that vitamin C helps replenish vitamin E after sun exposure.

There’s a limited amount of research looking at the effect of vitamin C powder on your face. However, based on research using other topical forms of vitamin C, powdered vitamin C might have the following benefits:

Vitamin C powder for treating sun damage

Applying vitamin C to your face may help reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage. Topical vitamin C inhibits the production of melanin, which is what gives skin spot their dark color.

Vitamin C powder for preventing skin sagging

Your skin naturally produces less collagen as you get older. A loss in collagen is one factor that causes your skin to sag as you age. Applying vitamin C to your face may help improve your skin’s production of collagen, especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun or are low on dietary vitamin C.

Vitamin C powder for wrinkles

As you get older, your skin tends to become less elastic and thinner, which can contribute to wrinkles. Although the formation of wrinkles is largely genetically predetermined, repeated exposure to UV rays can break down collagen and elastin and prematurely age your skin. Applying vitamin C powder to your face may protect it from sun damage.

Vitamin C for wound healing

Your body requires vitamin C in all stages of wound healing. Applying vitamin C to a wound may speed up healing and reduce scarring.

Vitamin C for protecting skin from sun and pollution

Your skin is constantly exposed to damaging UV rays and pollution in the atmosphere that can cause oxidative stress. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to protect your skin from this stress. Applying vitamin C powder to your face may help saturate the amount of vitamin C your cells have available.

Some people claim that powdered vitamin C may do the following, but these claims are based only on anecdotal evidence.

Vitamin C for under-eye circles

Some people claim that vitamin C helps them reduce under-eye circles. Vitamin C may help eye circles by stimulating collagen production.

Vitamin C for exfoliating

When you mix vitamin C powder with a moisturizer or lotion, the solution may have a gritty texture. This grit may help exfoliate your face.

When applying a vitamin C powder to your face, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a powder meant for topical use. Applying crushed-up vitamin C meant to be eaten as a supplement likely won’t be effective.

Here’s how you can apply powdered vitamin C to your face:

  1. Add a small amount of powder to the palm of your hand. The package will likely give you specific instructions on how much to use.
  2. Mix the vitamin C powder with a serum or lotion in the palm of your hand. Research has found that for vitamin C to be beneficial, it needs to make up at least 8 percent of the solution. A concentration higher than 20 percent may cause skin irritation.
  3. Apply the solution either to your entire face or as a spot treatment.

As with any skin care product, it’s a good idea to test a small amount of powdered vitamin C on a small section of your skin in a less-visible spot 24 hours before applying it to your whole face. This way you can see if you’re allergic to it.

You can find vitamin C powder online, from many pharmacies, and in stores that sell skin care products.

Shop for vitamin C powder online.

Powdered vitamin C is thought to be more stable than other forms of vitamin C. You can mix it with skin serums and lotions to help improve your skin health. For the best results, you should use less than a 4-to-1 ratio of vitamin C to your lotion or serum.