Why are certain vitamins such as C and E applied to the skin in the form of serums? Why isn’t having vitamin C enriched food enough?



Why are certain vitamins such as C and E applied to the skin in the form of serums? Why isn’t having vitamin C enriched food enough?

In: Biology

The body is not uniform in terms of the chemicals found in certain locations. Some bits of the body have more and less of certain things than others. When you consume nutrients, they enter the body through the small intestine and their first stop is the liver. From there, they may be stored or modified, or distributed via the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Consumed vitamins tend to be distributed evenly between cells, because the body can’t preferentially send it to some places over others. That’s generally fine in most cases because you’re just using these vitamins to stay healthy. However, if you want to try and use vitamins to prevent physical signs of aging, then you really want to be maximising the vitamin delivery to the skin. For that, it would be more efficient to apply the vitamin directly to the skin, which for the same amount of vitamin would put a lot more in the skin and comparatively less in other cells. Topical creams are not an appropriate substitute for dietary vitamins, because vitamins are needed for more than just skin health, but there is evidence that extra vitamins in creams can improve skin quality more efficiently than extra vitamins in diet.

Having vitamin C-enriched foods is plenty to ensure normal bodily function, but if you’re a big pharmaceutical company wouldn’t you want to sell an overpriced, unnecessary product to people who care about appearing youthful if the science was just enough on your side to make it not technically false advertising?

This sounds like health food, alt. medisin marketing. Vitamins and their sources are absorbed through food.
There might be some rare medical cases where one might use it on the skin, but this would still be a small contribution relative to diet.

There’s no reason to apply vitamin C to your skin. Vitamin C is acidic and can cause the skin irritation and can thereby temporarily reduce the appearance of wrinkles (but that’s temporary).

Vitamin A and C do help the skin look youthful but in such high concentrations they cause irritation, burning, stinging and redness. Skin creams and serums with them in in effective concentrations are prescription only.

As for Vitamin E it’s an anti-oxidant and the science around those is sketchy at best, anti-oxidants in the body help deal with free radicals which can affect DNA and damage cells however they also help fight bacteria and infections. There’s no evidence rubbing in or eating anti-oxidants leads to a higher amount within the body.

Skin creams in general are generally snake oil, the 3 active components are a moisturiser, a soluble polymer and hydrogen peroxide.

The moisturiser moisturises, the soluble polymer will be much like those found in hair gel and firm the skin just like putting sticky tape on your face and the hydrogen peroxide burns the top layer of dead skin off leaving you with that tingling sensation and that warm glowing feeling.
Everything else is largely bullshit or in too low a concentration to be effective.

>Why isn’t having vitamin C enriched food enough?

It is but companies can make more money selling multiple products. Completely about profit, not about health.