Skin: Guidelines for use of topical Vitamin C

Skin: Guidelines for use of topical Vitamin C


You can use your vitamin C preparation on your face, hands, and other body parts. For facial lightening:


  1. Do a gentle facial scrub to remove the outer, dead layers of skin cells for better absorption.
  2. Wash off the scrub and pat your face dry.
  3. Apply the product to your clean skin and massage in gently in a circular motion.
  4. Wait 10 minutes to allow it to begin to absorb and dry before applying a moisturizer, or use the product as your moisturizer.
  5. Apply a sunscreen if you are going outside.
  6. Use your product two or three times a day or as directed by the product label.
  7. Be sure to use it in the evening just before bedtime when light exposure will be less of a problem.


Keep your vitamin C product tightly closed in a cool place to reduce exposure to air, heat and light.

Don’t use a product that has turned yellow because it is no longer effective.



What to Expect

Expect that your skin tone or dark spots will lighten over time.

How long this takes will vary with each person but in general, you should notice a visible difference by two to three weeks, and a significant difference in eight to 12 weeks.

You have to continue to use the product to sustain the change.

Always apply at least a 30 SPF sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.


Oral Vitamin C to Lighten Skin

Although there are no studies on vitamin C pills and skin lightening, advocates say taking a high dose supplement will lighten your skin.

Vitamin C from your diet or pills gets to your skin via your bloodstream after absorption from your gut.

However, as noted by the National Institutes of Health fact sheet; there is a limit to how much your gut can absorb into your bloodstream – so taking more is not better.



The suggested dose oral dose of vitamin C skin for lightening is 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams in divided doses of 500 milligrams each.

However, according to MedlinePlus, it is not recommended to take more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day.

Some supplements also contain glutathione to encourage production of the lighter pheomelanin and to improve the skin lightening effect of vitamin C.

Based on a study in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, however; oral glutathione does not contribute much to blood levels because it is broken up in the gut and liver.

You can find various brands of vitamin C supplements in stores or online.


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Vitamin C does not accumulate in the body so it is safe to use. The excess is excreted in your urine, and there is a low risk of toxicity. Potential side effects according to MedlinePlus, include:

  • Topical products: Yellowish skin discoloration, skin rash or allergic reaction, itching, and depigmentation of hair
  • Oral supplements: High doses can cause nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea

A report published 2005 in the International Journal of Toxicology concluded; based on animal and human studies, vitamin C and its several derivatives used in skincare products are safe.


Choose the Right Product

It can lighten your skin if you choose the right product and protect your skin from sun exposure.

For best results, use a topical product instead of a supplement.

In addition, eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods and check out other natural ways to lighten your skin.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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