Effect of topical vitamin C on postoperative carbon dioxide laser resurfacing erythema

Dermatol Surg. 1998 Mar;24(3):331-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1998.tb04163.x.


Background: Postoperative erythema of several months duration is a universal and problematic side effect of cutaneous carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing.

Objective: This study was conducted in order to determine the effectiveness of two formulations of topical ascorbic acid in reducing the degree and duration of post-CO2 laser resurfacing erythema.

Results: The application of topical L-ascorbic acid in an aqueous formulation resulted in a significant decrease in post-CO2 laser resurfacing erythema by the eighth postoperative week when compared with laser-irradiated skin that had not received topical vitamin C. The application of topical ascorbic acid in a cream formulation did not result in a significant reduction in post-CO2 laser resurfacing erythema.

Conclusion: Topical L-ascorbic acid, when used in an appropriate vehicle and when initiated at an appropriate postoperative period, may decrease the degree and duration of erythema after cutaneous CO2 laser resurfacing. It is presumed that the anti-inflammatory effect of vitamin C is responsible for the clinical changes observed in this study.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures
  • Erythema / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rhytidoplasty / adverse effects*


  • Ascorbic Acid