The effect of Vitamin C on melanin pigmentation - A systematic review

J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2020 May-Aug;24(2):374-382. doi: 10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_207_20. Epub 2020 Sep 9.


Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is used as a treatment modality in depigmentation of hyperpigmented spots on the skin and gingiva. This systematic review discusses the studies conducted to assess the effect of Vitamin C on melanin pigmentation. The primary objective was to evaluate the effect of Vitamin C on melanin pigmentation. The secondary objective was to analyze the effect of Vitamin C administration on melanin pigmentation. An electronic database search was conducted from the following databases: PubMed, EBSCOhost, ScienceOpen, EMBASE and Google Scholar. Randomized controlled trials, experimental studies, case-control studies and cohort studies published in peer-reviewed journals in English language were included. Case reports, case series, animal model studies, in vitro studies, studies where Vitamin C was used along with other agents and unpublished research were excluded. Out of 22,580 studies, only 7 studies satisfied the selection criteria. Data extraction sheet was prepared, and the studies were analyzed. Out of the 7 studies analyzed, 1 was a randomized controlled trial and 6 were experimental studies. Vitamin C has been used widely as a depigmenting agent in dermatology. However, there are limited studies conducted on the use of Vitamin C for gingival depigmentation.

Keywords: Ascorbic acid; Vitamin C; depigmentation; gingival melanin hyperpigmentation; melanin pigmentation; melanogenesis; tyrosinase.

Publication types

  • Review