Thank you to my lovely client who asked me to look into this topic for her, I think it is a great question and one that needs a thorough answer. With every skin care company raving how wonderful their Vitamin C product is, I wanted to find out what type of Vitamin C is best for the skin as well as which type of C penetrates most effectively into the skin. Totally unrelated to any skin care brand or product, lets find out the facts so we as the consumer can become more educated and make educated skin care decisions. c What are the different types of Vitamin C available in skin care today?
  • ascorbic acid  - consists of D-Ascorbic Acid and L-Ascorbic Acid. Highly Volatile ingredient and renders useless very quickly with exposure to the air, light and heat.
  • L-ascorbic acid - commonly used in skin care, but is also volatile to heat, light and air.
  • ascorbyl palmitate - limited absorption into the skin
  • sodium ascorbyl phosphate - A stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that functions as an antioxidant, also has anti-bacterial benefits for treating acne.
  • retinyl ascorbate - an ester derived from all-trans-retinyl chloride (RA) and l-ascorbic acid (AsA). Shows benefits for repairing UV damage. Shows better skin retention than ascorbyl palmitate.
  • tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate - (AKA Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate) Stable form of vitamin C that is considered an analogue of L-ascorbic acid. Unlike pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is lipid (fat) soluble giving it excellent penetration qualities
  • magnesium ascorbyl phosphate - is a more stable water soluble derivative of L-ascorbic acid, has the same potential as ascorbic acid
What are the benefits of Vitamin C and its derivatives in Skin Care Products?
  • Protect skin cells and skin's support structure from UV-related damage
  • Improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin
  • Strengthen skin's barrier response
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Promote collagen production
  • Enhance effectiveness of peels and microdermabrasion
  • Lessen hyperpigmentation (at levels of 3% or greater)
  • Boost the efficacy of sunscreen actives
Vitamin C in our skin We have Vitamin C in both our epidermis and dermis (top and 2nd layer of the skin). Ageing causes a decline in the Vitamin C content. Excessive exposures to UV light or pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke and ozone) may also lower vitamin C content, primarily in the epidermis. Topical and oral Vitamin C are optimal for reversing cell damage, collagen production and promoting protection from UV exposure. Should I look for a skin care product containing a high percentage of Vitamin C? More is best right? Maybe not in this case. From studies with a 30% vitamin C product, and a 20% vitamin C product, maximum absorption was received from the 20% Vitamin C solution. Further studies showed higher concentrations had a lower absorption into the skin. Studies show that the best % of vitamin C to look for is between .06% -10% images What Type of Vitamin C is Best for Skin? Top 2 Vitamin C ingredients to look for in order are: 1. tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate -  It is also considered to be more potent than L-asorbic acid and other Vitamin C compounds, and has a higher rate of penetration (because it is oil soluble, like human skin) than other derivatives; it also has a higher rate of conversion to vitamin C within the dermis. 2. magnesium ascorbyl phosphate  - has the same potential as L-ascorbic acid but can be used in lower concentrations, making this ideal for sensitive skins. It is water soluble so does not abosrb/penetrate the skin as well as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. It is far more stable than L-Ascorbic Acid making it no. 2 on my list. Both 1. and 2. have the same benefits as Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) as listed above. While L-Ascorbic Acid does, for approximately a week, possess a high degree of bioavailability, it rapidly loses both its stability and its potency, quickly rendering it ineffective. Furthermore, over an extended period of time, L-Ascorbic Acid can cause the very aging that it is being used to treat. If not properly stabilized it can oxidize and cause inflammation, leading to the release of protease enzymes, which are one of the main causes of dermal aging. Have a question about this topic? Or have a totally different question that you would like me to answer? Please email me here: Want advice with your Skin Care? Not sure which products are best for you? Complete our Matrix Program, an online skin care consultation for professional advice. Happy Skin Days, Sarah Wilkinson   References: