Vitamin Therapy

Skin-care experts urge you to take vitamins – in the newest way.

Swimsuit-clad and slathered in baby oil, as a 20-something you basked poolside for hours, channelling the sun’s rays with a reflector as “Maggie May” played on the transistor. Flash forward a few years — please, no more than a few — to the Age of Crow’s Feet, an era of photodamage that gives modern meaning to the “wrinkle in time” adage.

But as revealed in a 1999 study conducted by Phoenix-based plastic surgeon Dr. Steven S. Traikovich, hope floats in pumps and droppers. Tested on 19 subjects aged 36 to 72, the experiment found that a three-month daily regimen of topical vitamin C significantly lessened cumulative environmental damage, including lines, pigmentation, laxity and sallow tone. The patients, 52 per cent of whom admitted to a lifetime of excessive sun exposure, also noted calming, anti-inflammatory benefits with continued use.

“People are gravitating to C-fortified products, as there is evidence to support beneficial effects on damage induced by oxidative stresses like UV exposure, smoking and pollution,” says Dr. Jason Rivers, the medical director of Vancouver’s Pacific Dermaesthetics and clinical professor in the department of dermatology and skin science at the University of British Columbia’s medicine faculty. While stimulating collagen formation in more mature skin, he explains, the antioxidant can directly improve the appearance of age spots.

Rivers advises that not all C is created equal. “Having it in a cream does not guarantee any effect.” In other words, do your research when selecting the formulation and grade that’s right for you.

Dr. Lisa Kellett, consulting dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto, adds that dropping a 10-year loyalty to your favourite moisturizer isn’t necessary. “Vitamin C can be used to boost existing products to give them pharmaceutical grade. The advantage is that it’s topical, can be applied at home and is cheaper than fillers.”

So before proceeding to the nearest injectable, give C a chance.

—Jessica Green


1) Ole Henriksen

Calms sensitive skin and is infused with citrus, licorice and vitamin E extracts that purify and promote healing. Truth Serum Collagen Booster (10%), $43

2) Clear Clinical
This power drop is ideal for acne-prone and pigmented skin. Vitamin C Booster 35% with Green Tea and Selenium, $199

 3) Skin Ceuticals 

Ferulic, an antioxidant found in plant cell walls, doubles the effects of vitamins C and E, leaving the skin eight times more protected against environmental aging. C E Ferulic (15%), $135

4) Sisley 

To improve texture and reduce impurities, try this blend of white mulberry and licorice. Phyto-Blanc Clearing Essence with Vitamin C, $300 for 8-6 ml vials      

5) Dermatologic DCL

Daily use of this quick-absorbing treatment promotes smoother, firmer skin and defends against future damage. High Potency “C” Scape Serum 25, $50

 6) VivierSkin 

A few drops encourage collagen production and help neutralize the occurrence of free radicals, the culprits of wrinkles. Vitamin-C IDS High Potency Serum 10, $80