Dose-dependent vitamin C uptake and radical scavenging activity in human skin measured with in vivo electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(3):147-54. doi: 10.1159/000350833. Epub 2013 May 24.


Vitamin C is a potent radical scavenger and a physiological part of the antioxidant system in human skin. The aim of this study was to measure changes in the radical-scavenging activity of human skin in vivo due to supplementation with different doses of vitamin C and at different time points. Therefore, 33 volunteers were supplemented with vitamin C or placebo for 4 weeks. The skin radical-scavenging activity was measured with electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. After 4 weeks, the intake of 100 mg vitamin C/day resulted in a significant increase in the radical-scavenging activity by 22%. Intake of 180 mg/day even resulted in a significant increase of 37%. No changes were found in the placebo group. A part of the study population was additionally measured after 2 weeks: in this group radical scavenging had already reached maximal activity after 2 weeks. In conclusion, orally administered vitamin C increases the radical-scavenging activity of the skin. The effect occurs fast and is enhanced with higher doses of vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Ascorbic Acid