Effects of vitamin C on dark circles of the lower eyelids: quantitative evaluation using image analysis and echogram

Skin Res Technol. 2009 May;15(2):214-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.2009.00356.x.


Background/aims: The pathogenesis of dark circles of the lower eyelid (DCLE) has been considered to involve stasis and hyperpigmentation of the eyelids. We have already reported that dermal thickness of lower eyelid skin may represent another factor that affects the appearance of DCLE. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of vitamin C, which is known to increase collagen, on DCLE through a clinical trial.

Methods: Fourteen subjects with DCLE applied either 10% sodium ascorbate (ANa) or ascorbic acid glucoside (AG) lotion in split-face fashion (opposite side: vehicle only) for 6 months. Melanin index (MI), erythema index (EI), thickness and echogenicity of the dermis at bilateral lower eyelids was measured during this trial.

Results: Change in EI was significantly smaller on the ANa-treated side than on the vehicle-treated side. Dermal thickness tended to be thicker for the ANa-treated side than for the vehicle-treated side, although no significant difference was seen. Both EI and dermal thickness tended to change in parallel manner. On the other hand, no significant differences in changes of EI, MI, and dermal thickness were found between AG- and vehicle-treated sides.

Conclusion: ANa may improve DCLE by thickening the eyelid dermis and concealing dark coloration due to congested blood.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Eyelid Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Eyelid Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Photography / methods
  • Pigmentation Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Pigmentation Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography / methods


  • Ascorbic Acid