Vitamin C for Skin Protection

Both oral and topical vitamin C contribute to skin health!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


The skin, our largest organ, acts as a barrier between us and the world. Just like the rest of our body, its health and appearance are deeply connected to what we eat.

The epidermis, the outer layer, acts as our first line of defense, protecting us from UV radiation, harmful pathogens, and pollution. However, due to its constant exposure to the environment, the epidermis is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress, which is damage caused by free radicals.

The dermis, the inner layer, provides support and elasticity to the skin, as well as delivering nutrients to the outer layer.

Interestingly, the epidermis has a much higher concentration of vitamin C compared to the dermis – up to five times more! This high concentration reflects the critical role vitamin C plays in protecting the outer layer from damage.[1]

Vitamin C Concentration in the Skin

Also, the dermis is rich in collagen, which makes up approximately 70-80% of its dry weight.

Collagen attracts and holds onto water molecules, keeping your skin hydrated. While your body naturally produces collagen, the process slows down with age and exposure to environmental factors like sun damage. That’s where vitamin C steps in.

Sufficient vitamin C intake can stimulate the production of new collagen fibers in the skin. Stronger collagen fibers thanks to vitamin C lead to a more elastic and youthful appearance.[2]

Additionally, vitamin C acts as a cofactor for essential enzymes for stabilizing the collagen molecule, making it usable by the body.

Quote | Skin, Collagen

Vitamin C can also play a supportive role in protecting the skin from sunburn and other damage caused by UV radiation. It helps neutralize free radicals produced by UV radiation, stimulates collagen synthesis, and even enhances the effectiveness of sunscreen. When combined with sunscreens, vitamin C can provide an additional layer of protection by neutralizing free radicals that manage to penetrate the skin.

For maximum benefit, vitamin C can be used both topically and orally. Topical vitamin C serums can provide direct antioxidant protection to the skin, while oral supplements can boost the skin’s overall antioxidant capacity.

Collagen Synthesis

Skin Hydration

Wound Healing

Sun Burn Protection

Many studies have shown that high dosages of vitamin C from supplements or topical applications can reduce wound recovery time and inflammation. The topical application of a silicone gel with vitamin C can significantly improve the appearance of surgical scars, even in the face.[3]

Impaired wound healing is a common sign of vitamin C deficiency.

Vitamin C can indirectly impact skin hydration as it supports collagen production, which is essential for retaining moisture and preventing transepidermal water loss.

When the skin’s barrier is strong and intact, it is better able to hold onto moisture, thereby enhancing hydration.

Additionally, vitamin C’s antioxidant properties protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by environmental factors such as UV radiation and pollution, which can otherwise compromise the skin’s moisture barrier.

Quotes on the Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin

Moreover, oral supplementation of vitamin C contributes significantly to overall skin health and can lead to a more even and bright skin tone. By neutralizing free radicals, vitamin C helps to prevent cellular damage that can lead to uneven skin tone and dullness.

Additionally, vitamin C, being water-soluble, can effectively interact with the oxidized form of vitamin E and regenerate it back to its active antioxidant form. This regeneration process allows vitamin E to continue protecting against oxidative stress.

What’s the Best Vitamin C Dose?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is designed to prevent deficiency but may not be sufficient for optimal skin protection, especially during the summer when sun exposure increases oxidative stress on the skin.

While the RDA for adults is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women, many experts suggest higher doses for enhanced skin protection and overall health benefits.

For enhanced skin protection, a daily dose ranging between 200-500 mg is highly advisable while for maximum antioxidant support, higher dosages of 500-1,000 mg are needed.

Most people are rather unlikely to get these high dosages from food alone. Taking vitamin C supplements, especially in the summer, might be beneficial for you. A 1,000 mg per day, divided into two doses, to maintain steady blood levels, is more than enough for most cases.

Also, applying a vitamin C serum with a concentration of 10-20% once daily can significantly enhance skin protection. The topical application delivers vitamin C directly to the skin cells, where it can neutralize free radicals and support collagen production.

You can buy both supplements and serums on

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Advanced Clinicals,
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  1. Pullar, J. M., & Carr, A. C. (2017). The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients, 9(8), 866.
  2. Yong Chool Boo (2022). Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) as a Cosmeceutical to Increase Dermal Collagen for Skin Antiaging Purposes: Emerging Combination Therapies. Antioxidants, 26;11(9):1663.
  3. In Sik Yun (2013). Improved scar appearance with combined use of silicone gel and vitamin C for Asian patients: a comparative case series. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 37(6):1176-81.