Vitamin C in Skincare - Which Form is Right for You?

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Vitamin C is famous for its anti-aging and radiance-boosting effects. Its host of skincare benefits is no secret: the powerful antioxidant promotes collagen and elastin production, fights hyperpigmentation, and protects against environmental aggressors. However, not all forms of the vitamin are created equal, and it’s important to note the particular forms used in your products.

The vitamin is naturally found in equal parts L-ascorbic acid and D-ascorbic acid, only the former of which is biologically active and can work as both a nutritive and topical treatment. Many skincare products use C in its pure L-ascorbic acid form. However, this type is so active that it is both irritating and extremely prone to rapid oxidization, meaning it decays once exposed to the air. In order to be effective as a skincare treatment, ascorbic acid must be neutralized as a salt (water-soluble) or an ester (oil soluble). These derivatives work by morphing into L-ascorbic acid after contact with the skin to avoid oxidization.

Different Forms of Vitamin C in Skincare

Our cult favorite Facial in a Mask Sheet Mask features sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a salt-stabilized version of L-ascorbic acid. Vitamin C’s most gentle and stable derivative delivers a dose of the antioxidant benefits of L-ascorbic acid into the skin without causing irritation. This effective alternative is also anti-microbial, ideal for sensitive or breakout-prone skin.

Both ascorbyl palmitate (AA-PAL) and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate are premium ester derivatives. AA-PAL is attached to fatty palmitic acid, a particularly protective oil-soluble solution, providing a strong barrier against UV rays and pollutants. We’ve included this form of vitamin C in our Soufflé Moisturizer to fortify and strengthen your skin’s outermost layer.

Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (A.K.A ascorbyl tetra-isopalmitate), featured in our upcoming C serum, is the best derivative choice for an aging or dry complexion. Also attached to a fatty acid, it penetrates below the surface layer of your skin, more deeply than any other studied form. Proven to convert to ascorbic acid, protect from UV rays, stimulate collagen production, and mitigate signs of aging, this derivative provides a stable, oil-soluble, luxurious dose of C for a rejuvenated glow. 

Both ester and salt forms have their benefits, and both give you the radiant, youthful result so esteemed in the miracle antioxidant. To avoid an adverse reaction to pure ascorbic acid, carefully include only stable, gentle versions of vitamin C in your routine. All of our products ensure a healthy dose without the risk of over-stripping or harming your skin.

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