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Vitamin C may help with capillary skin conditions

In a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers discuss how applying Vitamin C to the skin can help a bothersome facial condition.

That rosy complexion we all want lays in the blood—or rather, the vessels responsible for supplying your face with colour.  An extensive network of blood vessels runs underneath facial skin, and it is these blood vessels that are responsible for the glow we associate with youth and health.  These blood vessels are also responsible for the flushed looks we get when we are stressed or when we blush.

Some of these vessels have the propensity to increase in number and clump together into masses called teleangiectasias. When the redness becomes more or less permanent, ­erythematous plaques form over the face.   While essentially benign in nature, they can be more pronounced –and more bothersome—in the aging face, where the continuous thinning of the outermost skin layers (the epidermis) can make them all the more visible. Dermatologists have coined the term ”capillary skin” for patients who present with these conditions.

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is well-known for its anti-oxidant properties, effectively neutralizing the dangerous effects of free radicals.  Similarly, its ability to promote collagen synthesis makes it an important co-factor in skin damage and repair.  Scientists have also found that it can seal blood vessels and limit the deposition of pigment.  Taking all these properties into consideration, Vitamin C preparations are being looked at as treatments for capillary skin.

In the March 2018 Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, the findings of a study conducted in Poland report on the potential of these preparations.  A total of 30 women between the ages 30-60 presenting with capillary skin were treated with daily topical applications of 5% vitamin C concentrate for a period of six weeks.  The results are quite encouraging, where an objective reduction in erythema was seen as early as two weeks during treatment.  Incidentally, they found that the application regimen also resulted in the shallowing of skin wrinkles, which further emphasizes the rejuvenative potential of vitamin C.

Like any other study, this one needs to be validated more rigorously—so hold off on applying that lemon all over your face.  But once these preparations become commercially available we will be able to take those vitamins for healthier, younger-looking skin.

Written by Jay Martin, M.D.

Reference: Jaros, et al.  “Evaluation of selected skin parameters following the application of 5% vitamin C concentrate.”  Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2018: 1-6.  DOI: 10.1111/jocd.12562.

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