Clinical, biometric and structural evaluation of the long-term effects of a topical treatment with ascorbic acid and madecassoside in photoaged human skin

Exp Dermatol. 2008 Nov;17(11):946-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2008.00732.x. Epub 2008 May 21.


Skin ageing is a complex process determined by the genetic endowment of individual and environmental factors, such as sun exposure. The effects of skin ageing are mostly encountered in the superficial dermis and in the epidermis. We have previously demonstrated in vivo the beneficial effect of a topically applied formula of 5% vitamin C in the treatment of skin ageing. Another active compound, madecassoside extracted from Centella asiatica, known to induce collagen expression and/or to modulate inflammatory mediators, might thus prevent and correct some signs of ageing. A randomized double-blind study was carried out on photoaged skin of 20 female volunteers to investigate the effects of topically applied 5% vitamin C and 0.1% madecassoside on the clinical, biophysical and structural skin properties. After 6 months of treatment, we observed a significant improvement of the clinical score for deep and superficial wrinkles, suppleness, firmness, roughness and skin hydration. These results were corroborated by measurements of skin elasticity and semi-quantitative histological assessment of the elastic fibre network in the papillary dermis. Two-thirds of the subjects showed an improvement. The re-appearance of a normally structured elastic fibre network was observed. Our results revealed a functional and structural remodelling of chronically sun-damaged skin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Biometry
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacology
  • Dermis / anatomy & histology
  • Dermis / drug effects
  • Dermis / ultrastructure
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Elastic Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Elastic Tissue / drug effects
  • Elastic Tissue / ultrastructure
  • Elasticity / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / anatomy & histology
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triterpenes / administration & dosage
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Triterpenes
  • madecassoside
  • Ascorbic Acid