Vitamin C for wrinkles: Most effective on the skin or taken orally?

I have used topical Vitamin C products for a long time, and swear they make a difference to my skin. There is research that shows in fact Vitamin C is absorbed and effective topically.

Here’s a good article- thanks to thanks to Nicole Evans at:

Vitamin C is much touted for its ability to prevent and improve wrinkles. Many people take Vitamin C as a supplement, but does oral Vitamin C work as well as topical Vitamin C skin care products for wrinkles?

The mechanism with which Vitamin C prevents wrinkles is due to its antioxidant properties. Damaging free radicals are generated in the skin by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. These free radicals cause photo-aging, ie wrinkles and sun spots. Vitamin C in the skin is thought to play a key role in neutralizing these free radicals and reducing UV skin damage.

Once the sun damage has been done, vitamin C is believed to help treat photo-aging and improve wrinkled skin due to both vitamin C’s antioxidant properties and by increasing collagen production and improving collagen organization.

There is an abundance of skin products on the shelf that contain vitamin C. But is it really worth the extra cost, could consuming extra Vitamin C be enough? The human body has to get vitamin C from the diet because it can’t make it’s own. The vitamin C available from our diet is then used by every cell in our body, including our skin. Couldn’t eating lots of Vitamin C rich fruits and veggies and/or taking vitamin C orally be enough?

Well, it turns out that a very high concentration of vitamin C is required to get a therapeutically effective level of vitamin C in the skin. There are two characteristics of vitamin C that keep us from getting skin-therapeutic levels from oral supplementation. The first is that vitamin C is well absorbed orally at lower does, but absorption decreases as the dose increases. Approximately 80% of a 100 mg dose is absorbed, 63 % of a 500 mg dose is absorbed, and less than 50% of a 1250 mg dose is absorbed.

The second characteristic of Vitamin C that limits our attainable vitamin C levels in the skin, is that vitamin C is water soluble. So at high doses most of the Vitamin C that is absorbed is actually just excreted in the urine.

Topical preparations that contain vitamin C work well to increase the amount of vitamin C in our skin. Research indicates that skin creams containing 10% vitamin C might be most effective for increasing vitamin C concentrations in the skin. By using lotions or creams with vitamin C daily you can benefit from the protective antioxidant effect and the restorative collagen-boosting effect of vitamin C.


Kligman AM. Topical treatments for photoaged skin. Separating the reality from the hype. Postgrad Med 1997;102:115-26.

Padayatty SJ, Levine M. New insights into the physiology and pharmacology of vitamin C. CMAJ 2001;164:353-5.

Raschke T, Koop U, Dusing HJ, et al. Topical activity of ascorbic acid: from in vitro optimization to in vivo efficacy. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2004;17:200-6.

Traikovich SS. Use of topical ascorbic acid and its effects on photodamaged skin topography. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1999;125:1091-8.


About solomonhealing

Diane grew up in Oregon, and says she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t singing. Her father gave her a guitar for Christmas when she was 13, and she taught herself folk and country styles, and started to write songs. At 19, believing her first talent was acting, she headed off to England, determined to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. But life can take some funny turns. Before she could arrange an interview, she was literally “discovered,” playing her guitar and singing to a small, private, New Year’s Eve party at a London hotel. IMG_0005 2A BBC television producer was there, a screen test followed, and the result was a network primetime series of variety specials! “The Diane Solomon Show” of the late 70s, was a great success, and she quickly became a regular on British TV, with other specials of her own, and numerous guest appearances, including several Royal Gala Specials. She recorded 5 albums, appeared on countless radio shows, TV hosting, and musical theater productions. She headed four major UK Theater concert tours of her own, toured with Glen Campbell on three European tours, and opened for a major Kenny Rogers’ tour in 1991. IMGBut then life took another turn, this time not so fortunate. She was diagnosed with the infamous M.E., or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and for the next three years was too ill to walk across the room unaided. For a total of seven years she struggled with half a life. In the darkest hours songwriting was her saving grace, and the title cut of her new CD, “Good Things Don’t Come Easy” was born of this troubled time. With the help a brilliant German homeopathic system of healing, plus nutrition and herbs, she regained her health. Diane was so impressed with these alternate therapies that she has since gained degrees in both nutrition and homeopathy, achieving a doctorate degree from the British Institute of Homeopathy. She practiced nutrition and homeopathy for fifteen years, using a combination of nutrients, herbs, homeopathic remedies, and diet and lifestyle recommendations. She describes dealing with people’s health issues as a kind of “onion layer” experience. Herbs, nutrients, and lifestyle changes are powerful, yet are in some way addressing the outer layers. They help enormously, but she has found that the major changes in people’s health comes from a deep homeopathic remedy, known as the constitutional remedy. Homeopathy is not an exact science, and thought, attention, focus, intuition, and yes, luck are involved in finding this remedy. When the right deep remedy is chosen, improvements in a client’s well being, both physically and psychologically, can be dramatic, even life-changing! Now focusing on writing, Diane lives in beautiful Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, with her husband, Mark Carey. She writes soft country, folk, and classical ballads, playing both guitar and piano. She has written several non-fiction books fields of nutrition and homeopathy, plus has ghost-written and/or edited seven books for clients, in various fields. She has just finished a middle grade mystery/fantasy novel with her husband Mark, entitled The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain, due for publication Sept 30 2016. Kindle cover final oct 10 2015She has also recently published a book on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, entitled, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a guide to the homeopathic treatment of CFS/M.E. It was published in November, 2015, and was quickly the top selling book on Amazon in the homeopathic category. Sometimes called a “Renaissance Woman,” she writes, edits, researches, designs and builds gardens, always seeking more knowledge, more understanding, and more creative flow.
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6 Responses to Vitamin C for wrinkles: Most effective on the skin or taken orally?

  1. Barbara says:

    Do you recommend a specific brand of moisturizer containing at least 10% vitamin C for the face and neck and lotion of cream for the hands? I have been looking for a while but unable to find something worthy enough to purchase.

    • HI Barbara, I have moved to recently, so you can find me at… But in answer to your query – I make my own! I simply dissolve calcium ascorbate powder into a bit of water, add moisturizer, and slather. Much much cheaper, and I can see the results, so it is working. You can get any level of C you like… Give it a try!

  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks for the reply.. So I shall look for the powder form (not capsules or tablets) of calcium ascorbate powder?? I did not realize it came in powder form. Do you recommend a specific strength?

  3. Hi Barbara, Yes, powder form is cheapest, and however much you use if the amount of mgs you are getting. You can, of course, open up a calcium ascorbate or ascorbic acid capsule and use it like that, throwing the capsule part itself away, but cheaper to buy just the powder..

    It is worth a try, right? It seems to work for me, although you may read that the creams you buy have special “carriers” etc to take the C into the skin, and they could be right. This is not scientific from me, Barbara, just something I do for myself that seems to work.!

    have fun!

  4. Barbara,where do i purchase the vitamin-c powder?What percentage
    should i use.So i just mix with water and put in my foundation.But i use
    mineral loose powder foundation,sohow can i uuse the c with it?Also
    when you mix the c with water doesn;t the air evaporate the vit-c?
    I am new here so forgive my many questions. thanks

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