Vitamin C

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for several biological processes in the human body. Vitamin C is one of the most commonly used nutritional supplements. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and it is added to many products as a preservative.

Oral Vitamin C supplements are purported to boost the immune system and high doses of Vitamin C are used in the Naturopathic of many diseases, including acne. Vitamin C is also occasionally added to topical anti-acne formulations.

Vitamin C and Acne

Vitamin C is essential for the function of the immune system and for wound healing. Vitamin C supplements have been extensively researched for the treatment of many human diseases, especially infections such as the common cold. Overall, these clinical research studies have found that Vitamin C supplements did not significantly reduce symptoms or the duration infection.

Many people believe that Vitamin C supplements helped to reduce their acne symptoms. Although there may be some truth to these claims, there does not appear to be any reliable scientific evidence to support them. Despite the fact that scientific research hasn’t found that Vitamin C improves acne symptoms, Vitamin C supplements may be worth a try for many individuals with acne.

Vitamin C Side Effects

Because Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, excess amounts of this nutrient are readily eliminated from the body in the urine. Therefore, the risk of toxicity due to overdose of Vitamin C is substantially lower than for fat soluble vitamins (eg. Vitamins A, D, E). Vitamin C supplements are considered very safe when used at recommended dosages.


Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions. Farris, et al. 2005.
Use of vitamin C in acne vulgaris. Morris. 1954.
Protection against minocycline pigment formation by ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Bowles. 1998.
Complementary and alternative medicine therapies in acne, psoriasis, and atopic eczema: results of a qualitative study of patients’ experiences and perceptions. Magin, et al. 2006.
Clinical implications of lipid peroxidation in acne vulgaris: old wine in new bottles. Bowe. 2010.
Split face comparative study of microneedling with PRP versus microneedling with vitamin C in treating atrophic post acne scars. Chawla. 2014.
Human requirements for vitamin C and its use in clinical medicine. Goldsmith. 1961.
Role of vitamins in skin care. Shapiro, et al. 2001.
Preventing and managing the side effects of isotretinoin. Brelsford, et al. 2008.
Vitamin C in dermatology. Telang. 2013.