Skin Care and Treatments of Melbourne Dermatology - Ascorbic Acid vs. Ascorbyl Palmitate (2008)

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Ascorbic Acid vs. Ascorbyl Palmitate (2008)

Although both antioxidants are marketed as firming Vitamin C for skin, ascorbic acid and ascorbyl palmitate should not be considered immediately interchangeable or equivalent.

Ascorbyl palmitate produces different short and long-term effects when compared with ascorbic acid.

Jan Marini C-ESTA contains ascorbyl palmitate in a range of relatively large percentages.

Lesser percentages of ascorbyl palmitate are available in La Prairie C Energy Cellular Serum and other skin care products.

Despite being non-endogenous, clinically the varying percentages of ascorbyl palmitate formulas available rarely provoke irritation.

Some concerns exist regarding the use of ascorbyl palmitate without adequate sun protection.

These concerns are generally absent with ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C as ascorbic acid is available in a large range of products including Skinceuticals Vitamin C Serums, Cellex-C Vitamin C Serums and various other formulas in percentages ranging from approximately 5% to 25%.

Within ideally-formulated serums, percentages of ascorbic acid over approximately 18% are not thought to be optimally absorbed.

Due to the highly reactive nature of the molecule, it is unclear what percentage of Vitamin C remains available to skin in ascorbic acid products in the period post-production and pre-use.

Ascorbic acid skin care product manufacturers may formulate excess concentrations which reduce to more beneficial levels post-production but decline considerably to poor levels on product opening.

While pH neutral ascorbyl palmitate remains stable and functional, only especially acidic ascorbic acid serums remain both useful and reasonably stable.

Oxidized ascorbic acid is often claimed to remain effective, however is deleterious to a greater or lesser extent.

Ascorbic acid serums should be used as soon after production as possible, and certainly before 4 months.

Despite the "cosmeceutical" designation associated with Vitamin C Serums, manufacturers are not bound to provide uniformity across batches.

Refer Skinceuticals Antioxidant Storage Notes – Protective/Preservative Refrigeration and Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Supply & Storage Notes.

Like chirality, concerns regarding stability/effectiveness of both ascorbic acid and ascorbyl palmitate are popularly and ironically misunderstood to the benefit of manufacturers.

In many instances, the benefit is deliberately construed.

Effective ascorbyl palmitate is inherently stable for long periods while no effective ascorbic acid is likely to be inherently and durably stable.

Clinically, low percentages of ascorbic acid can produce disappointing results, however higher and better-performing percentages can be considerably irritating, particularly for men, smokers, individuals with sensitive skin, rosacea or poor general health.

Ascorbic acid can also stimulate acne, although it appears less inclined to do this if combined with ferulic acid.

Neutral ascorbic acid is not an active ingredient.

Combining use of ascorbic acid with especially mineral-rich skin care (for example Phytomer or Gernetic GER-Lift) appears to be pro-oxidant, producing noticeable "greying" of the skin, although not erythema.

Skin care products containing small amounts of minerals may also therefore be contraindicated when used simultaneously with viable ascorbic acid.

Some topical Vitamin C users have attempted to make their own ascorbic acid serums by dissolving ascorbate in destabilizing water and/or glycerin.

Resultant extremely low pH and high concentration have produced permanent and deep skin texture irregularities combined with abnormal exfoliation taking several weeks to resolve.

In a related skin care failure, apparently gentler home-made recipes are safe but like many purported (beauty) therapies are entirely or largely useless for skin.

Additional Reference: Ascorbic Acid vs. Ascorbyl Palmitate – The Primary Antioxidant/Firming Quandry (2007).

Formulas containing ascorbyl palmitate and/or ascorbic acid include:

La Prairie C Energy Cellular Serum with Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl Palmitate.

La Prairie C Energy Cellular Serum (discontinued) with Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl Palmitate.

Cellex-C High Potency Serum with Ascorbic Acid.

Cellex-C High Potency (17.5%) Ascorbic Acid Serum.

Skinceuticals Serum 20 without Ferulic Acid.

Skinceuticals Serum 20 (20%) Ascorbic Acid Serum available with and without Ferulic Acid (without ferulic acid remains available as 15 mL).

Danné Montague-King Direct Delivery Vitamin C Serum.

Danné Montague-King Direct Delivery Vitamin C Serum with Ascorbic Acid and either Ascorbyl Palmitate or Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate.

Related Skin Care Information, Products and Expert Discussions

Dr. Albert Laporte

Jan Marini C-ESTA Serum vs. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

pH Neutral (7.07) Ascorbic Acid Alone/Primarily Fails Skin

D-Tocopheryl Glucoside

Enhancing Absorption and Penetration of Topical Vitamin C



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