Several studies exist in the literature to show that topical and oral vitamin C is effective in treating photodamaged skin, rejuvenation, pigmentation disorders and photoprotection. In this article, we’ll review the mechanism of action of vitamin C and discuss its clinical uses in dermatology.
Mechanism of Action
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are an inherent part of the anabolism and catabolism of tissues, including skin. Most oxygen in the body is used in cellular metabolism. Through a series of 1-electron subtractions, molecular oxygen is in sequence changed to superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical, and finally, to water. Most reactions occur in mitochondria and are related to energy production. Cellular enzymes and metabolic processes ordinarily keep oxidative damage to cells at minimum. In times of increased oxidative stress, however, including high metabolic demands and outside forces such as sunlight, smoking and pollution, protective controls may not be adequate and oxidative damage may occur. The most damage occurs from free radicals.