Vitamin C has long been touted as an important part of a healthy diet. Your first introduction to vitamin C may have been when you had a cold as a child; drinking orange juice for its immune-boosting abilities. Then perhaps in your teens or twenties, being introduced to topical vitamin C for its ability to help brighten skin, reduce redness and increase collagen production. A super vitamin for sure; but have you heard it may also help your hair grow? Before we get into that, what exactly is vitamin C?
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants stabilize free radicals and help fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by unstable molecules that lead to damaging chain reactions throughout the body. Pollution, smoke, toxic products, poor diet and stress may be to blame. If not addressed, this can lead to high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, cancer, premature aging and even hair loss.
Iron deficiency also plays a key role in hair loss and thinning. Signs of a possible deficiency include dry, brittle hair, thinning hair and split ends. Vitamin C helps combat this by aiding in iron absorption. Vitamin C also helps support the production of collagen. The most abundant protein, collagen plays a vital part in hair growth. However, collagen production slows around the age of 25 and most Americans will experience some hair loss or thinning by age 40. Adding insult to injury, free radical damage can age hair and damage follicles, contributing to, or increasing, hair loss. So, what to do about it?
The best way to get your fill of antioxidants is to “eat the rainbow”. Antioxidants are found in abundance in brightly colored foods such as berries, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, carrots and tomatoes. Green tea is also an excellent source, as well as fish and nuts. Supplementation is another way to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin C. A topical vitamin C serum can help with many skin woes and a hair-specific supplement, such as our Keratin+Collagen Complex, can help improve lackluster hair, increase growth and strengthen strands. Vitamin C also helps keep the scalp healthy and fights against dandruff.
Keep in mind, however, that vitamin C is not a miracle treatment. Do your research before spending your hard-earned money on products claiming incredible results; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. One major reason for this is because while potent, vitamin C can be very unstable in products, making it difficult to be absorbed in the skin or scalp. Shampoos and conditioners containing vitamin C are very unlikely to be effective but some carefully crafted products can be beneficial. If formulated properly, topical vitamin C can be absorbed and act as a mild clarifying agent, helping to remove build-up on the scalp, improve the ability to absorb moisture and stimulate follicles, and in turn, hair growth. While vitamin C may be only minimally effective for hair growth all by itself, a healthy scalp is the best foundation for strong, healthy hair. That in conjunction with a diet rich in antioxidants and adding supplements tailored to your needs is the best plan of action. Beyond that, avoid use of toxic products, take care of your scalp and try to reduce the stress in your life.