Before it was a punchline for terrible jokes about pirates, scurvy was a very real threat for a very long time. Hippocrates was the first one to be like, "Hey, what's this?" in his day; the ancient Egyptians knew about it, too, and documented its symptoms in hieroglyphics as early as 1550 BCE. At one point, during the three hundred years now known as the Age of Sail, it was assumed that 50% of sailors on any given voyage would perish of the disease. Gums rotted. Teeth fell out. Skin turned sallow. Good men died. Iconic 17th-century explorer Admiral Sir Richard Hawkins called scurvy "the plague of the Sea, and the Spoyle of Mariners." It was... bad.
And, after all that death and failed international passages and lost teeth, a cure emerged: vitamin C. Literally, a lemon. Some orange juice. Guava, if you can get it. Lightly-fried seal meat, if you're gonna be in Antarctica for a while.
Vitamin C is not only arguably the most delicious vitamin, found in high concentrations in tart, lovely things like Kakadu plum and acerola cherries (and who knows — seal meat might be a really nice dish, too); it is also the vitamin most to thank for the continued existence of our civilization as we know it. It helps support the immune system. It's a natural antimicrobial. And, as a potent antioxidant, vitamin C is also very good at brightening the skin.
Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, explains that, when used topically, the essential nutrient both promotes healthy collagen production and interferes with abnormal pigment production, effectively cutting the lifespan of dark spots short. And it's especially useful under the eyes, where a number of variables — rubbing, fluid retention, lack of sleep — can contribute to hyperpigmentation and the appearance of dark circles. In fact, because it's fast-acting, it's perfect for non-believers who want to see real appreciable results from their eye cream, not just potentially reduced fine lines and wrinkles in 8-10 weeks.
So don't make the same mistake as the British Royal Navy, which failed to provide lemon juice to its sailors on a regular basis for over 40 years after the simple cure for scurvy was first discovered. Add vitamin C to your routine today.