“In short, ingesting vitamin C does not have the same potential to irritate the skin or cause breakouts as topical vitamin C, because the modality of absorption and form of vitamin C is different,” confirms Koszyk.
“Vitamin C is one of those nutrients that are as popular skincare actives as they are as dietary nutrients. What’s interesting is the different modalities of topical application versus ingestion work best with different forms of vitamin C. Vitamin C and many antioxidants in plants and superfoods are unstable when used as topical skincare, so we can’t expect a vitamin C–rich citrus fruit to yield those same great nutritional wellness benefits just by rubbing it on our skin.”
However, ingesting vitamin C is a different story, she says. “Our bodies are adapted to absorb vitamin C through our food, so ingesting a vitamin C–rich fruit is the best way to reap the cleanest and most biologically available dosage of this prized nutrient. In summary, because our bodies have evolved to form ideal absorption of vitamins through food sources, ingesting vitamin C, specially sourced from raw superfoods, has not been shown to mimic topical vitamin C in causing potential irritation and breakouts.”
Even though ingesting vitamin C won’t yield the same benefits it’s attributed to topically, it’s a renowned immune-supporting nutrient, and according to Koszyk, it can lower inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body. She says it has also been linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and is also beneficial for blood pressure.
“Vitamin C is stellar because its ingestion allows it to support all of the major systems from immune and digestion to integumentary, which consists of skin, hair, and nails,” Koszyk tells us. “The best sources of vitamin C come from food versus supplements. Not only are our bodies adapted to process food-based nutrients most efficiently, but many studies also indicate food-based supplements yielded the highest bioavailability compared to synthetic forms of vitamin C.” Great food sources of vitamin C include goji berries, lucuma, camu camu, and moringa, and Koszyk shares the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men.