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Open Access Research article

Topically applied vitamin C increases the density of dermal papillae in aged human skin

Kirsten Sauermann*, Sören Jaspers, Urte Koop and Horst Wenck

Author Affiliations

Research and Development, Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany

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BMC Dermatology 2004, 4:13  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-4-13

Published: 29 September 2004

Abstract

Background

The influence of ageing on the density of the functional entities of the papillae containing nutritive capillaries, here in terms as the papillary index, and the effect of topically applied vitamin C were investigated by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) in vivo.

Methods

The age dependency of the papillary index was determined by CLSM on 3 different age groups. Additionally, we determined the effect of a topical cream containing 3% vitamin C against the vehicle alone using daily applications for four months on the volar forearm of 33 women.

Results

There were significant decreases in the papillary index showing a clear dependency on age. Topical vitamin C resulted in a significant increase of the density of dermal papillae from 4 weeks onward compared to its vehicle. Reproducibility was determined in repeated studies.

Conclusions

Vitamin C has the potential to enhance the density of dermal papillae, perhaps through the mechanism of angiogenesis. Topical vitamin C may have therapeutical effects for partial corrections of the regressive structural changes associated with the aging process.