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Undergoing a vitamin C treatment to boost your skin.

Undoubtedly the most well-known vitamin, Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the body. In addition to its health benefits, this vitamin also helps to care for the skin. As one of the key active ingredients, Vitamin C can also be obtained through diet. Here's an overview.

Published June 13, 2024, updated on June 14, 2024, by Kahina, Scientific Editor — 5 min read

What is Vitamin C?

Pure vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbic acid. Part of the family of water-soluble vitamins, this molecule plays a crucial role in metabolism, particularly in the production of white blood cells, the assimilation of iron, and the synthesis of adrenaline. It is found in many everyday foods, such as red pepper (95 mg per portion), the orange (70 mg per portion), the kiwi (64 mg per portion), and the green pepper (60 mg per portion). It can also be taken as a dietary supplement.

Vitamin C is widely used in cosmetics today for its antioxidant properties, to combat oxidative stress. However, it also appears to have skin benefits when consumed orally. This is one of the reasons why more and more people are embarking on a vitamin C regimen, that is, supplementing their daily diet with vitamin C.

What are the benefits of Vitamin C for the skin?

Apart from its effects on the body, vitamin C also offers various benefits for the skin.

Oral vitamin C could potentially slow down skin ageing.

Tobacco, pollution, and even the sun are significant factors contributing to oxidative stress. This process leads to the overproduction of free radicals, compounds responsible for skin damage, particularly through the degradation of dermal fibres such as collagen and elastin. The skin becomes less flexible, less firm, and is prone to premature wrinkles and fine lines: this is what we call photoaging. Vitamin C could potentially reduce this premature photoaging.

Martina C. MEINKE and her team measured changes in the neutralising activity of radicals in human skin in vivo following supplementation with different doses of vitamin C and at different times. In this study, 33 volunteers were supplemented with either 100 mg of vitamin C per day or a placebo for four weeks. The radical neutralising activity of the skin was measured using electron paramagnetic resonance spectra. After four weeks, the intake of vitamin C resulted in a significant increase in radical elimination activity of 22%. An intake of 180 mg per day resulted in a significant increase of 37%. No changes were observed in the placebo group.

Orally administered Vitamin C increases the trapping activity of radicals by donating hydrogen atoms in a dose-dependent manner: it is a antioxidant. It subsequently reduces skin damage caused by these radicals, and slows down skin ageing.

Oral Vitamin C enhances and speeds up the healing process.

In a study led by Claude AEBISCHER, the team sought to evaluate the influence of dietary vitamin C on the healing process of experimentally injured rainbow trout. Three groups of fish were fed with diets containing respectively 20, 150 and 1000 mg of ascorbic acid (AA, another name for vitamin C) per kg of feed, for four weeks. The fish were then experimentally injured and sampled post-injury for skin examination and measurement of AA concentration.

Dietary intake of vitamin C significantly enhanced the repair of damaged dermal fibres, revascularisation, and the restoration of a normal dermal structure, with the best results observed at 1000 mg. These actions contributed to a process of faster healing in the two highest dietary treatments in AA.

Some of these differences can be explained by a delay in collagen production due to low levels of AA. Indeed, the rainbow trout requires ascorbic acid for the formation of collagen, a significant dermal fibre in wound healing. The hydroxylation reaction of pro-collagen results in the production of hydroxyproline, and this reaction is catalysed by ascorbic acid-dependent hydroxylases: the resulting hydroxyproline residues contribute to the rigidity and structural integrity of collagen.

Nevertheless, human studies would allow these results to be confirmed.


  • AEBISCHER C. & al. Influence of dietary vitamin C on the wound healing process in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Aquaculture (2003).

  • MEINKE M.C. & al. Dose-Dependent Vitamin C Uptake and Radical Scavenging Activity in Human Skin Measured with in vivo Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology (2013).

  • Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health (2021).


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