There is no mistaking the current trend in the cosmetics industry to incorporate vitamins and plant derivatives into formulations in order to advertise products as healthy, natural, green, sustainable or possessing anti-aging properties. One popular claim suggests using vitamin C for hair growth. As an essential nutrient for health, vitamin C takes part in many cellular processes and must be ingested by humans in significant quantities as we do not manufacture it internally as some other species do. Centuries ago, it was common knowledge that deficiency in this nutrient (later identified as vitamin C) among sailors on long voyages and the malnourished poor caused a horrible condition known as scurvy. The condition was determined to be easily preventable with the consumption of relatively small amounts of fruit or vegetables that had abundant levels of vitamin C. It is critically important for optimal function of the immune system and for tissue growth regeneration. Clearly, vitamin C is well-established as a necessary substance for internal consumption. But, does it really have any benefits when used externally in skin and hair?
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Image from Natural Belle