Not All Forms of Vitamin C are Created Equal
We know you've heard of using Vitamin C to brighten your skin as well as reverse signs of aging, but did you know that there are different forms of Vitamin C and not all of them work the same? Read on to see which form is best for you.
1. L-Ascorbic Acid
L-ascorbic acid is the pure form of vitamin C. It is full of antioxidants and has amazing benefits for the skin, however it is not stable and can irritate the skin. L-ascorbic acid needs to be formulated with water-based ingredients, antioxidants, and with a low PH to keep it stable and to give it a longer shelf life.
2. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is a water-soluble form of vitamin C. This form is gentler on the skin compared to L-ascorbic acid and it is more stable, but it is not as effective.
3. Sodium Ascorbate
Sodium ascorbate, also know as mineral ascorbate, is a water-soluble form of vitamin C. Similar to sodium ascorbyl phosphate, it is easier on the skin compared to L-ascorbic acid but is also less effective. This type of vitamin C is very stable and converts to ascorbic acid when applied to the skin.
4. Calcium Ascorbate
Calcium ascorbate (CAAS) is a mineral salt of ascorbic acid, sometimes referred to as Ester C. Some studies have shown that it is more hydrating than L-ascorbic acid and more stable, but in terms of anti-aging properties such as producing collagen, it is not as effective.
5. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) is a water-soluble form of vitamin C. It is more stable and less irritating than L-ascorbic acid. While this is great for product formulation, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is likely less effective than pure ascorbic acid. Since the ascorbic acid conversion rate is unknown it may not offer the same benefits to the skin.
6. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is an oil-soluble form of vitamin C. This is another derivative of vitamin C that is more stable, making it easier to formulate with different ingredients. Since tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is oil-soluble is can penetrate the skin better than L-ascorbic acid. However, to provide the core vitamin C benefits, it needs to convert to ascorbic acid when applied to the skin. So, it does not work as quickly as L-ascorbic acid, which is in its pure form.
7. Ascorbyl Palmitate
Ascorbyl palmitate is an oil-soluble form of vitamin C. This form of ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant that helps protect lipids and is a free radical scavenger. Ascorbyl palmitate is more stable than ascorbic acid and less likely to irritate the skin. Since ascorbyl palmitate is fat-soluble it absorbs into the skin better than L-ascorbic acid.
Long Story Short...
Ascorbyl Palmitate seems to be the winner in that it is as effective as L-ascorbic acid but much more stable! Look for products that use ferulic acid and vitamin E along with whichever vitamin C you choose because these ingredients can help stabilize vitamin C, help it penetrate the skin better, and increase its effectiveness.