Unlock Your Best Skin with 7 Types of Vitamin C and their Benefits
Although vitamin C is an incredibly powerful skincare ingredient,
All skin doesn't react to it the same way and if you wonder if it's due to the type of vitamin C I'm using or the formula?
Then you came to the right place, this post includes everything you need to know about the various types of vitamin C, their benefits of different forms of vitamin C, let's first examine why it's advantageous for our skin.
The benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare are numerous:
- Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis, which is crucial as we age and the collagen in our skin starts to break down. This leads to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging.
- It protects against and treats UV damage by combating the free radicals from UV exposure and even reversing some of the damage caused by too much sun exposure. Although it's not a replacement for sunscreen, it can aid in providing additional protection.
- Vitamin C can also reduce hyperpigmentation and dullness by decreasing melanin formation. When used in combination with other brightening ingredients, it can be even more effective.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties that inhibit the protein complex responsible for inflammation, making it an excellent choice for healing acne and preventing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Vitamin C promotes a healthy skin barrier by increasing ceramide levels, according to a study.
Vitamin C is a versatile skincare ingredient that can address various skin concerns.
Additionally, there are many studies that back up its claims. However, with so many different forms of Vitamin C available, it's crucial to understand the differences and determine which one is the best for you.
Ascorbic acid (AA)
Ascorbic acid (is the most extensively researched and potent form of Vitamin C. Other types of Vitamin C must be transformed into AA first to reap the benefits. Consider the following:
- AA is notoriously unstable and begins to oxidize when exposed to air, light, and heat. Stabilize AA by adding vitamin E and ferulic acid to the formula or by using an opaque and airtight container. Formula and packaging are critical when using
- AA! • AA is water-soluble and requires a low pH ( > 3.5) for optimal skin absorption.
- AA may cause irritation due to the low pH formula, making it less ideal for people with dry/sensitive skin.
- AA potency increases with concentration, starting at 5% and reaching up to 20%. A concentration greater than 20% does not yield superior results.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
MAP is a stable form of vitamin C that needs to be converted into ascorbic acid by the skin. It's less potent than AA but gentler on the skin. It's still water-soluble but no longer requires a low pH to be efficient. It doesn't absorb as well as AA, but it does convert into AA in the skin. It delivers all the benefits of AA but is often paired with other antioxidants and brightening ingredients to boost its efficacy. A concentration of at least 10% MAP is required for brightening effects, and it's considered a brightening ingredient by the Department of Health in Taiwan.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP)
SAP is similar to MAP in that it's water-soluble and not pH-dependent. It's often paired with other key ingredients to improve efficacy.
- - It doesn't absorb well into the skin but has antioxidant and some collagen-boosting effects, though less than MAP.
- - One study found SAP to be even more stable than MAP.
- - Several studies show that SAP has an antimicrobial effect and can be a good option for treating and preventing acne. Vitamin C in general is anti-inflammatory, which is also beneficial for acne-prone skin.
Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (EAA)
EAA, also known as 3-O-ethyl-L-ascorbic acid, is an extremely stable form of vitamin C.
- The conversion rate to AA in the skin is 86%, which is higher than the average 50-60%. Several studies have been done on EAA's brightening effects, which show promising results.
- One study showed that it has superior brightening abilities compared to other vitamin C forms, even AA.
- There have been a few reports of allergic reactions to EAA, but in general, it's well-tolerated.
Ascorbyl Palmitate (AP)
AP is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C that penetrates the skin more easily than other forms.
- It doesn't convert well into AA, so products would need a high % of AP to see results. It's more stable than AA but less stable than the other forms.
- It offers antioxidant protection but also causes cell membrane damage when exposed to UVB rays.
- It can help control sebum production when used with SAP, making it a good option for oily and acne-prone skin.
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (TA)
TA, also known as VC-IP, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, or THD Ascorbate, is a fat-soluble, gentle, and very stable form of vitamin C.
- It can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin with an absorption rate that's 3x better than AA.
- It converts to AA and offers all three benefits: antioxidant protection, collagen production boost, and brightening.
- Several clinical trials showed significant improvement in skin texture and tone after using
Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate (AAP)
- Better absorption rate than AA
Boosts collagen production
- 0.5% AAP reduces hyperpigmentation and age spots by 29-33% and wrinkles by 23% in 8 weeks
Can add antioxidant protection as part of sunscreen formulas
Formula is key when selecting a vitamin c product
- AA-based products require a pH < 3.5
- Other forms should be mixed with other antioxidants and beneficial ingredients
- % matters 5-20% is optimal for AA
- Other derivatives need to be converted to AA first to see benefits
- AA is potent but may not be the right form for everyone
- Sensitive skin may prefer gentler forms or start with a low % of AA
- Oily and acne-prone skin may benefit from SAP and AP for anti-microbial and sebum control properties
- Look for EAA, AG, or MAP for brightening
- AG is preferred but results may vary
- Always wear sunscreen, especially with AA to prevent increased sensitivity