Inhibitory effect of magnesium L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate (VC-PMG) on melanogenesis in vitro and in vivo

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1996 Jan;34(1):29-33. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(96)90830-0.


Background: An inhibitory effect of ascorbic acid (AsA) on melanogenesis has been described. However, AsA is quickly oxidized and decomposed in aqueous solution and thus is not generally useful as a depigmenting agent.

Objective: Our purpose was to examine the effect on pigmentation of magnesium-L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate (VC-PMG), a stable derivative of AsA.

Methods: Percutaneous absorption of VC-PMG was examined in dermatomed human skin, and its effect on melanin production by mammalian tyrosinase and human melanoma cells in culture was also measured. A 10% VC-PMG cream was applied to the patients.

Results: VC-PMG suppressed melanin formation by tyrosinase and melanoma cells. In situ experiments demonstrated that VC-PMG cream was absorbed into the epidermis and that 1.6% remained 48 hours after application. The lightening effect was significant in 19 of 34 patients with chloasma or senile freckles and in 3 of 25 patients with normal skin.

Conclusion: VC-PMG is effective in reducing skin hyperpigmentation in some patients.

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Melanins / biosynthesis*
  • Melanoma, Experimental / metabolism
  • Melanosis / drug therapy
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Melanins
  • ascorbate-2-phosphate
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • Ascorbic Acid