Vitamin C, the most prevalent antioxidant found in the body. It is responsible for: wound healing, part of the essential 3 for collagen, anti-melanocyte (prevents age spots and decreases pigmentation and much more. One could say vitamin C is the glue that holds us together.
The best way to max out on vitamin C is not a supplement, but your diet! Vitamin C through food survives the hostile digestion process and absorbs the most in our villa, getting into our blood stream pretty quickly. The most effective way to treat outward signs of aging with vitamin C is through a serum!
Vitamin C via topical application is responsible for destroying any oxidative stress (UV damage, smog, smoke, stress, pollution etc., all of which without sunscreen and vitamin C wreak havoc on our skin causing photo-aging, damaging the strength of dermis, and creating a weakened skin barrier. The picture of above proves quite quickly why we need vitamin C! Here is a crazy fact, one study in 2017 found that sunscreen is only responsible for 55% reduction of UV damage, vitamin C does the rest. Pretty potent! The problem is topical application of vitamin C is one of the most UNSTABLE ingredients!
Just as Retinols need to reach the dermis and be converted to Retinic Acid, so does vitamin C. Vitamin C needs to be covered to L-Ascorbic Acid. In order for the conversation to be made 3 essential steps must happen.
- ph must be right for it to cross the skin barrier
- Vitamin C only works well with certain ingredients, if there are too many variables the product is rendered ineffective
- Heat, Room temperature and Light all add oxidative stress on the vitamin, changes to any of these 3 can render your product ineffective and destabilize it
So we know this essential, we need it, but its highly unstable. Let’s review the most common forms of vitamin C and the stability and penetration of each form that will actually cross the skin barrier.
L-Ascorbic Acid or Ascorbic
This is the most studied form of vitamin C and it works!
Problem: it is so unstable
In order for this form of vitamin C to work effectively the ph of the product must be 3.5. Yikes (that is acidic and we are now in the territory of skin irritation, remember your skin ph is 5.5)
Second, the product cannot be in temperature higher than 24 degrees. Light cannot penetrate the container
Third the concentration must be 10% or it is rendered in-effective.
While this is the king, you as the consumer have to be sure that all of these parameters are being used when you buy your product and that it doesn’t contain ingredients that would prevent it from crossing the skin barrier
You will see this in a lot of cosmeceuticals. It’s a fatty ester from vitamin C and is known for its non -irritating effects. Sadly, it shows that it has a delayed conversion and so even in higher concentrations no study has proven it converts to L-Ascorbic Acid in the dermis, therefore no collagen production.
It must have a neutral ph of 7 and be in a gel cream.
On top of that in 2002 1 study published its results saying it showed Ascrobyl Palimate, actually caused more oxidative stress when exposed to UV. While that study has not been repeated, and AP, is effective at reducing oxidative stress and is very gentle on skin, I do believe there are more effective forms of vitamin C.
Sodium Ascrobyl Palimate SAP.
If this sounds familiar, it should! It is in every single Ilike Organic Product! So why did they choose it?
SAP is a salt form of Ascorbyl Palimate (Oh no??) No, rejoice, because in its salt form and with a ph 6 or 7, SAP became L-Ascorbic Acid’s little brother that is actually stable! In fact, it was found to penetrate the epidermis at a higher rate than its cousin (Magnesium Ascrbly Palimate or MAP), it works well with other ingredients. Best of all its anti-microbial, so great for acne skin, This form of vitamin C is the best one for those with sensitive skin as it is non-irritating
Side note, if your product is just 10% SAP, it actually is double the effectiveness of L-Ascorbic Acid! Sweet!
1% of SAP is anti-microbial for 8 hours, so this is essential for anyone living in the city to combat daily environmental pollutants.
This is a sugar form of vitamin C, it needs a ph of 6.4.
Research is still pending to see if this can be an effective form of vitamin C, it converts to l-ascorbic acid by an enzyme. Because the conversion takes place beneath the skin barrier. No irritation and it excels at skin brightening benefits. It is stable with heat, light and oxygen. Bottom line you can feel confident it is working.
Ilike Organics began using this form along with SAP, and Ascorbic Acid in their new vitamin C booster.
Clinical Studies – 4 weeks of usage with dermatologist control:
- Reduced irritation in 83%
- Reduced redness (hemoglobin level) in 79% by 14% (Mexameter MX 18)
- Balanced sebum production in 75% by 21% (Sebumeter SM 815)
- Renewed skin in 79%
- Toned skin in 67%
- Smoothed skin in 75%
- Average 6% lighter skin tone (melanin level by Mexameter MX 18) – Primos 3D test resulted an average 11% reduction in surface roughness, and smoothed skin and fine lines in 100% of the users.
Tetrahexyldecl Ascorbate THDA.
This is one of the newer forms and it is an oil form of vitamin C, this should let you know it will get passed the skin barrier perfectly. It needs a ph of 5.5 to 6.5 (which is exactly your skins ph)
This is a powerhouse and has a solid journal publications of the conversion to L-Ascorbic Acid. Not only that but it penetrates right down to the dermis. When it comes to THDA, less is more a recent study found that .1% of THDA reduced melanocytes by 80% after 16 weeks. It has 4 times the penetration rate of any other vitamin C derivative and causes no irritation. THDA is one of our favourites as it plays well with ingredients, zero irritation, a perfect ph and is very stable. Being oil soluble it can actually protect the ceremides in our skin from UV damage. This is one of my favourite forms of vitamin C and SkinScripts— Your Prescription Skin Care just reformulated their nourishing vitamin C cream.
I am personally loving this serum, as you know I am not a fan of skin irritation! It also has some great ingredients like Citrus Stem and Lipochroman. This is a new product that is coming soon and I am so excited to offer it soon!
In short vitamin C is the G.O.A.T of skin care. It protects, defends, repairs, age defy’s, and brightens the skin. But it is finicky and if the ph, or the way it is made isn’t right, it is easily rendered ineffective. Vitamin C can also be picky about what ingredients it works with, suffice to say your SAP, AG, and THDA forms are not picky at all and the only item you should never use with vitamin C are Retinols and Benzoyl Peroxide.
If you have any questions about the effectiveness of your product send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Firas Al-Niaimi, Nicole Yi Zhen Chiang
J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul; 10(7): 14–17. Published online 2017 Jul 1.
Indian Dermatology Online Journal Vitamin C in Dermatology Pumar S Telang April 13- June pages 143-146
Dr Jenny Liu “All About Vitamin C” www.dermtalkdocs.com October 7, 2020
International Journal of Pharmacy “ Cosmetic Science: SAP in topical microemulsion” April 30, 2003
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 11 (4) – Dec 1, 2012, Stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives
Dermatologic surgery, 2001 Feb;27(2):137-42., Topical L-ascorbic acid:
percutaneous absorption studies.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2002 Nov, Volume 119, Issue 5,
Vitamin C Derivative Ascorbyl Palmitate Promotes Ultraviolet-B-Induced Lipid Peroxidation and Cytotoxicity in Keratinocytes
www.INCIdecoder.com Article on Ascrobyl Palimate: https://incidecoder.com/ingredients/ascorbyl-palmitate
Ascorbic Acid in Skin Health
Soledad Ravetti 1, Camila Clemente 2, Sofía Brignone 2, Lisandro Hergert 2, Daniel Allemandi 3 and Santiago Palma 3,*
Received: 23 July 2019; Accepted: 18 September 2019; Published: 1 October 2019
UPDATED DEC 09, 2020
reviewed by DR. RACHEL NAZARIAN Board-Certified Dermatologist