Time and time again, we hear experts sing the praises of vitamin C. We started sensing a trend here: Maybe the superfood we need to be more concerned about eating is a run of the mill, breakfast juice staple orange. Sure, it’s not as exotic as, say, kale, or chia seeds, but it tastes better.
So why is vitamin C so incredibly essential? Well, according to Rianna Loving, founder of organic skincare brand ORGO Beauty, it’s responsible for creating and maintaining collagen—i.e., the “glue that holds the body together.” From strengthening blood vessels and giving skin its elasticity and strength, Vitamin C is an antioxidant our bodies need.
However, because Vitamin C is water-soluble, Loving says, our bodies don’t store it or accumulate too much of it in our systems, which is why daily intake is highly important. But, in case you’re still not convinced, here’s what getting your C in daily can do for your hair, nails, and skin.
Vitamin C is one of the most effective nutrients to help grow and strengthen hair, Loving says. “Vitamin C helps build collagen, which is highly important for hair growth, but maintaining the strength of hair is just as crucial,” Loving says. “Vitamin C plays a necessary role in absorbing iron, which keeps our locks strong and healthy.”
According to Elisa Zied, author of, YOUNGER NEXT WEEK: Your Ultimate Rx to Reverse the Clock, Boost Energy and Look and Feel Younger in 7 Days, iron is essnetial not just for our hair, but our overall beauty and well being. “When you deplete your iron stores, you can develop anemia and experience fatigue and weakness,” she says. “That certainly won’t help you look and feel vibrant or energized.”
To give your locks a vital dose of Vitamin C, blend a pre-boiled, but not fully cooked, sweet potato, a half cup of gooseberries, three strawberries and half of a small red bell pepper until you get a creamy smooth mixture, then apply to scalp and hair. Leave the mask on for 15-to-25 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
“Vitamin C helps maintain the integrity of our nails by strengthening our skin, connective tissue, bones, and blood vessel walls,” Loving says. “However, we also need to do our part by making sure that we are not cutting our nails too short, chipping off nail polish or filing down too close to the skin.” Because vitamin C strengthens and helps nails grow, it also prevents hang nails by aiding collagen formation, making this nagging issue a non-issue. Ingesting Vitamin C is the best route for optimal nail health, so be sure to take a supplement or eat citrus fruits often.
Vitamin C maintains healthy skin by creating and promoting the expansion of collagen (yet again!), as well as the creation of ligaments and scar tissue, Loving says. By slowing the rate of free radicals, it also appears to slow the aging process by keeping wrinkles, dryness and fine lines at bay.
Zied says that a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin C intake from food sources was linked with a less wrinkled appearance and less age-related skin dryness in middle-aged women.
For a vitamin C-rich face mask, blend one kiwi and a half cup of papaya and apply the mixture to your face. Leave for 15-to-20 minutes, then wash off with cold water.