Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid in a scientific chemical name. Vitamin C and its derivatives are used as a powerful antioxidant. The vitamin C is one of the agent commonly used for the skin lightening or whitening.

The Clinic Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Ling has been using this ingredient safely for skin whitening treatment over the past 20 years, together with the PRP, filler (such as Vampire lift), Botox and thread lift.

Many skin whiteners can be used together as a part of the formula for skin care products. The formula component ingredients are listed here includes:



Whitening Injection is popular among Asian for a very fair snow white skin

Vitamin C Whitening Injection is popular among Asian for a very fair snow white skin



How the vitamin C does brings about the skin whitening effect?

Mechanism of action

The possible mechanism of action of vitamin C can be described as follows:

  • It function as a powerful antioxidant due to its ability to reduce back the o-dopaquinone to dopa. In so doing it reverse the bio synthesis of melanin pathway. Hence, it decrease the melanin pigment formation, bring about the skin lightening effect.
  • Furthermore, it has a protective effect on the skin against sun-induced aging, mainly due to the UVA and UVB radiation. (Policarpio and Lue, 2009). UVA has a longer wavelength and more penetrating energy, thus cause the most damage to dermis proteins like the collagen and elastic, causing it to clump and thus aging of skin. Where as the UVB has a shorter wavelength do not penetrate as much, only hit the epidermis and therefore responsible for the sunburn.

Negative effect

The vitamin C also has some potential side effects as stated below:

It can induce a large increase of free radicals with some traces of metal ions. Free radical are electrons or negatively charged molecules, radicals, or ions that are unstable and it readily give away this electron, causing an oxidation reaction of itself. The original high energy and active free radical becomes stable and lost its activeness. Any donation of electron brings about oxidation. Oxidation is not a good news for the cell. The free electron can get stick to genetic material causing damage, and if prolonged and frequent, may cause mutation.


More stable form of ascorbic acid

Vitamin C is an extremely unstable compound. To increase its absorption and hence its skin whitening effect, some ascorbate esters, such as the magnesium ascorbyl-2-phosphate and its various forms, has been synthesised.


Effectiveness of ascorbic acid cream

Vitamin C cream of 10% concentration or its derivative has a significant whitening effect on the skin. This is particularly observed in patients or client with melasma pigmentation disorder.

Research study

Vitamin C has been shown as a very effective agent in bring about skin whitening in a randomised, double blinded, placebo controlled trail (Solana et al., 2006).

One study found it raises glutathione level in the body and the cells. While another study found that the experimental brownish colour guinea pig, which was given the vitamin C together with vitamin E and L-cysteine, at the same time brought about whitening effect of the guinea pig skin.

Delivery forms

Vitamin C can be given in different format or routes:

  • It is commonly taken orally as a tablet in the dose of 400mg, or 1000mg or even 2000mg. most of it do not get absorbed and get excreted in the stool. This is because the gut is highly inefficient in absorbing the nutrient. You cannot blame it on the vitamin C.
  • It is also given as an effervescence drink, mixed with water and drink immediately. The longer it is left to stand, the more it get oxidised as it is highly unstable. So, always consume it soonest after being make into a drink.
  • It can also be given as IV injection or delivered in a drip infusion form. Any intra muscular injection is severely painful and causes a lumpy formation, even a severe bruises. The dose is normally fully absorbed when given intravenously. However, absorption is erratic if there are given intramuscularly, and even less if there is granuloma formation or hardening of the injection site. In general, injectable form allows a much efficient form of absorption.
  • Other way of delivery include the use of electrophoresis, where the electrically charged negative vitamin C ions or molecule is forced into the skin due to negatively charged electrode. The similar charges dispel the ions away from the electrode and force it into the epidermis, bring about whitening or lightening effect the client is seeking.

Asian desire for skin lightening

Asian in particular, because of their skin type 3 or 4, are always on the look out to lighten their skin to skin type 2 or 3. This is the dream complexion they are dying to achieve. It is not impossible if after given the various skin lightening therapy, as shown in the melanin synthesis pathway, the melanin production can be decreased or curtailed significantly.

In order to achieve this result, a program of injection has to be given before the previous injection effect wears off. Furthermore, the effect can only be seen after a minimum period of 2 weeks, when all the melanocytes has responded to and the entire pathway of melanin production is suppressed.

In between, the client must stays away from the stimulating effect of the sunlight on the melanin synthesis. Any slack of guarding this suppressed melanin synthesis can trigger the melanocyte to ram up pigment production. This is the innate ability of skin to response to UV rays damaging effect by producing pigment to shield it. Therefore, it is highly essential that the client understand the principle behind the skin lightening. Failure to perform their duty will brings about failure of lightening effect, which cannot be blamed on the therapist.