Heroes come in different shapes and forms, but most of us can agree with Vitamin C, although a bit complex, is a skincare hero. It valiantly fights oxidation – even at its own expense, brightens the skin, and most importantly builds collagen, the most important structural protein in our skin, resulting in firmer, smoother skin.
Dr. Davin Lim, an Australian board certified and fellowship-trained laser, procedural and aesthetic dermatologist asserts: 'Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most flexible compounds in skincare. This vitamin can reduce cell damage from UV light, treat hyperpigmentation, as well as build collagen in the deeper layers of the skin.'
Dr. Davin Lim, an Australian board certified dermatologist
It can, of course, be taken as a supplement or formulated as part of a well-balanced topical skincare application. In skincare, the antioxidant power of Vitamin C, interestingly enough, is also its weakness. The more it fends off oxidants, the more its power is compromised, and the more unstable it becomes. You can visibly see its power weaken when the formula changes from clear to a yellow-orange colour.
There are many different Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) derivatives used in skincare, each with their own unique pros and cons. Here are some of the most predominant ones, albeit with less potency than AA, but greater stability.
1. Ascorbyl glucoside is a stable form of Vitamin C with a glucose coating to protect against oxidation.
2. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) is a stable form of Vitamin C with a mineral coating, that increases skin hydration levels and protects skin from oxidation and UV rays.
3. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) is similar in action to Magnesium Absorbyl Phosphate (MAP), with a salt coating, but has been shown to be more stable than MAP.
4. Ascorbyl Palmitate is a highly stable, lipid-soluble ingredient, but it isn’t as potent as AA and can’t penetrate the surface of the skin easily, so it tends to be included more often in moisturising creams and lotions as an added antioxidant extra, to provide protection against free radicals and sun damage.
5. Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is an oil-soluble derivative of Vitamin C that can be used in higher concentrations without drawbacks.
Swissline International Brand Director Custodio d’Avo admits in his Youtube channel, The Age Traveller, “I really like Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) because the salt also helps the active vitamin, the coating, and acidic pH, it is not so low and so acidic that the formula when entering the skin it is immediately so reactive as oil soluble.”
Regardless of which Vitamin C derivative is in your skincare, it is important to have a well-balanced formula. It is also important for skincare users to remember that after opening a Vitamin C serum or cream, for example, that is should be used within 1-2 months to ensure the potency stays at its optimum level.