The famous Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, is said to have regularly bathed in milk to preserve her beauty. While her bathing rituals can’t be emulated in the 21st century, many still go for extravagant treatments such as 24-carat gold facials, opium spas and chocolate mudbaths to keep their skin healthy and glowing.
But for those who can’t afford these luxury rituals, there are perhaps vitamin C-infused wellness products that are becoming all the rage now. From creams and lotions to serums and shower gels, these cosmetic products, infused with the goodness of vitamin C, are taking over supermarket cosmetic shelves. And why not? Vitamin C, often called the ‘skin vitamin’, offers numerous benefits for the skin. So it’s not surprising that many brands (from The Body Shop to Clinique) have brought out their own product ranges.
Explaining the benefits of the vitamin, Pune-based nutritionist Asha Mittal says, “Vitamin C is important, as it plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of our skin, cartilage, bones and even blood vessels. It is known to counter the affects of chlorine (which is known to harden water), acting as a water-softener.”
Agrees Lucknow-based dermatologist Suresh Talwar: “Although the primary method of absorbing vitamin C is through dietary intake, skin benefits of the vitamin are not always fully realised… Thus, to maximise benefits, one needs to deliver vitamin C directly to the skin, which is possible through topical applications—skin creams, lotions, serums, etc. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it can pass through cell membranes to be absorbed into the epidermis and the underlying dermis, where it can fight oxidative stress that causes wrinkling, hyper-pigmentation and development of skin cancers.”
One of the most popular products in this range is the vitamin C shower gel, whose many variants have popped up in the market in recent times. So great has been its success, in fact, that cosmetic and hospitality brands have now come up with vitamin C showerhead filters to further appease—and win over—the skincare-obsessed populace of the country.
These filters, enriched with vitamin C, are attached to showerheads, ensuring you have a bath with water infused with the vitamin. Considering the wellness fad gripping the country currently, vitamin C showerhead filters might as well become the next hot product.
But even with all this health and wellness talk, it’s necessary to ask how much is too much, especially regarding the intake of vitamin C in the body. “Since the body does not have the capacity to either generate or store the vitamin, it needs to be received periodically through food and other supplements,” says Mittal. “For adults without a deficiency, an orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper or broccoli provide enough vitamin C for the day,” she says, recommending a daily dosage of 65-90 mg, the upper limit being 2,000 mg a day.
Cosmetic products, on the other hand, might display varying degrees of results. “Even though it is known to maintain the elasticity of skin and heal wounds, among other benefits, the results also depend on an individual’s holistic health,” says Talwar.
That is to say, the supplement will only be useful if one takes care of other health aspects as well. Maintaining a balanced diet, actively working towards a healthy lifestyle, getting adequate rest and abstaining from tobacco and alcohol are equally important, as per the skin specialist. While he warns against excessive indulgence in the fad, Talwar encourages consumers to discover what suits their body.