Skin aging is one of most visible ageing process which occurs constantly in our skin organ. According to the Clinical Centre of Nis, certain plant extracts may have the ability to scavenge free radicals, to protect the skin matrix through the inhibition of enzymatic degradation, or to promote collagen synthesis in the skin, affect skin elasticity and tightness(a). Other suggested that free radicals induced domino effects in production of reactive oxygen species, can react with DNA, proteins, and fatty acids, causing oxidative damage and impairment of antioxidant system, leading injuries damage regulation pathways of skin, including wrinkles, roughness, appearance of fine lines, lack of elasticity, and de- or hyperpigmentation marks(b).
Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, found in fresh fruits, berries and green vegetables. It is best known for its free radical scavengers activity and regenerating oxidized vitamin E for immune support. In skin aging, the vitamin may improve solar radiation protection and epidermal aging(1) through production of collagen due to its antioxidant activity(2)(3).
Epidemiological studies, linking vitamin C in prevention of skin damage and aging have produced some certain results(3a)(3b)(3c), but the large sample size and multi canters studies are necessary to validate it effectiveness.
1. Plasma levels of vitamin C
L-ascorbic acid, was known for its effects on skin-whitening and against anti-oxidation causes of skin aging. During the aging process, levels of vitamin C was found slowly deplete, according to Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology in the measurement of plasma and urine of C57BL/6 male mice turnover during 3 to 30 months of aging(4). Therefore, restoration of physiological levels of vitamin C inside the cells might improve the lysosomal degradation (protection of cell from the degradative enzymes, through protection of the cytosol) in the outflow pathway cells and prevent the pathogenesis of glaucomadegrade proteins(5).
Unfortunately, some researchers suggested that higher levels of circulating vitamin C may not provide protection against incident radiographic knee OA, and be associated with an increased risk of knee OA(6) and the 1Panorama Research Institute and Regenerative Sciences Institute, insisted "careful attention to individual and family medical history and personal genomic data may prove essential to make wise dietary and supplement choices to be combined with exercise(7).
2. The effects
According to the Minghsin University of Science and Technology, in doses dependent manner, concentration of L-ascorbic acid, induced absorption of the collagen solution in exhibition of smoothing wrinkles and clear up the spots(8). Ascorbic acid (AA) is essential in stimulation for collagen gene expression. In type 1 and type 4 collagen and SVCT2, the vitamin was found to enhance the expression of type 1 and type 4 collagens and SVCT2 mRNA in cultured human skin fibroblasts at 100 μM AA placed every 24h for 5 days to prevent depletion(9). The Chiang Mai University study also supported the effects of ascorbic acid in anti-aging process through exhibition pro and active MMP-2 inhibitory(10). Other study suggested the combined vitamins, including vitamin C in a single formulation had a slightly lower degradation rate and more stable formulations as compared to different preparations containing only one of the vitamins(11)(12). Amazingly, in vivo, application of vitamin C showed a significant reduction of oxidative stress in the skin, an improvement of the epidermal-dermal microstructure and a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles in aged skin within a relatively short period of time of product application(13). The Bruce and Associates study also insisted the effectiveness of vitamin C application over 12 week period as the vitamin enhanced the overall intensity of pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, tactile roughness, and laxity with 100% of satisfied overall appearance of tested subject skin(14).
Taken altogether, vitamin C was found to be effective in slowdown skin aging regardless to the cause, through its antioxidant status, down regulated the expression of Matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) and enhanced production of collagens. Daily ingestion of high-dose vitamin C may be considered safe, but in rare incidence, overdoses in a prolonged period of time, may cause intra-renal oxalate crystal deposition, a fatal nephrotoxicity(15)(16). As always, all articles written by Kyle J. Norton are for information & education only, please consult your Doctor & Related field specialist before applying
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(a) Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies by Binic I1, Lazarevic V, Ljubenovic M, Mojsa J, Sokolovic D.(PubMed)
(b) Phytoconstituents as photoprotective novel cosmetic formulations by Saraf S1, Kaur CD.(PubMed)
(1) Active ingredients against human epidermal aging by Lorencini M1, Brohem CA2, Dieamant GC2, Zanchin NI3, Maibach HI(PubMed)
(2) CAM use in dermatology. Is there a potential role for honey, green tea, and vitamin C? by Barbosa NS1, Kalaaji AN2.(PubMed)
(3) The science behind vitamins by Linder J.(PubMed)
(3a) Split-face study of topical 23.8% L-ascorbic acid serum in treating photo-aged skin by Xu TH1, Chen JZ, Li YH, Wu Y, Luo YJ, Gao XH, Chen HD(PubMed)
(3b) Use of topical ascorbic acid and its effects on photodamaged skin topography by Traikovich SS.(PubMed)
(3c) Formulation and in-vivo evaluation of a cosmetic multiple emulsion containing vitamin C and wheat protein by Akhtar N1, Yazan Y(PubMed)
(4) Ascorbic acid levels in various tissues, plasma and urine of mice during aging by Iwama M1, Amano A, Shimokado K, Maruyama N, Ishigami A.(PubMed)
(5) Ascorbic Acid Modulation of Iron Homeostasis and Lysosomal Function in Trabecular Meshwork Cells by Xu P1, Lin Y, Porter K, Liton PB(PubMed)
(6) High plasma levels of vitamin C and E are associated with incident radiographic knee osteoarthritis by Chaganti RK1, Tolstykh I2, Javaid MK3, Neogi T4, Torner J5, Curtis J6, Jacques P7, Felson D4, Lane NE8, Nevitt MC9; Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study Group (MOST)(PubMed)
(7) Trade-offs between anti-aging dietary supplementation and exercise by Mendelsohn AR1, Larrick JW(PubMed)
(8) [The study of absorption efficiency and restoring effects of collagen and ascorbic acid on aged skin by fluorescence and reflection spectroscopy].[Article in Chinese] by Yang BW1, Lin YM, Wang SY, Yeh DC.(PubMed)
(9) Ascorbic acid enhances the expression of type 1 and type 4 collagen and SVCT2 in cultured human skin fibroblasts by Kishimoto Y1, Saito N, Kurita K, Shimokado K, Maruyama N, Ishigami A.(PubMed)
(10) Nanoscale gelatinase A (MMP-2) inhibition on human skin fibroblasts of Longkong (Lansium domesticum Correa) leaf extracts for anti-aging by Manosroi A1, Kumguan K, Chankhampan C, Manosroi W, Manosroi J.(PubMed)
(11) Benefits of combinations of vitamin A, C and E derivatives in the stability of cosmetic formulations by Gianeti MD1, Gaspar LR, Camargo FB Jr, Campos PM.(PubMed)
(12) Stability of vitamin C derivatives in topical formulations containing lipoic acid, vitamins A and E. by Segall AI1, Moyano MA.(PubMed)
(13) Topical activity of ascorbic acid: from in vitro optimization to in vivo efficacy by Raschke T1, Koop U, Düsing HJ, Filbry A, Sauermann K, Jaspers S, Wenck H, Wittern KP.(PubMed)
(14) Evaluation of a prescription strength 4% hydroquinone/10% L-ascorbic acid treatment system for normal to oily skin by Bruce S1, Watson J(PubMed)
(15) Fatal vitamin C-associated acute renal failure by McHugh GJ, Graber ML, Freebairn RC.(PubMed)