Topical vitamin C protects porcine skin from ultraviolet radiation-induced damage

Br J Dermatol. 1992 Sep;127(3):247-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1992.tb00122.x.


Ultraviolet radiation damage to the skin is due, in part, to the generation of reactive oxygen species. Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) functions as a biological co-factor and antioxidant due to its reducing properties. Topical application of vitamin C has been shown to elevate significantly cutaneous levels of this vitamin in pigs, and this correlates with protection of the skin from UVB damage as measured by erythema and sunburn cell formation. This protection is biological and due to the reducing properties of the molecule. Further, we provide evidence that the vitamin C levels of the skin can be severely depleted after UV irradiation, which would lower this organ's innate protective mechanism as well as leaving it at risk of impaired healing after photoinduced damage. In addition, vitamin C protects porcine skin from UVA-mediated phototoxic reactions (PUVA) and therefore shows promise as a broad-spectrum photoprotectant.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Regional Blood Flow / radiation effects
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Absorption / radiation effects
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • isoascorbic acid
  • Ascorbic Acid