Jul 22, 2015

How to Choose a Vitamin C Product

The ingredients list hardly ever list it as just 'vitamin C '. It is usually hidden through the use of the scientific name of the vitamin C derivative. This post will show you exactly how to spot vitamin C in any product and thereafter, choose the best vitamin C product for your skin!

What to avoid: 

Ascorbic acid (aka L-ascorbic acid)

 Ascorbic acid is by the far the most unstable form of vitamin C available. Yet this is also often the ingredient I find in, specifically, the 'vitamin C' labelled products.  We already know products specifically marketed as a 'vitamin C product' are generally pricier than the average lot. Having this particular form of the vitamin in your product is definitely not what you want to be wasting your money on.

Here is why:

Being unstable in nature, it could potentially get oxidised before it can be absorbed by your skin. This would then deny your skin the great skin benefits discussed last week in: 5 Reasons You Want to Have Vitamin C in Your Skincare Routine. Thereby defeating the purpose of buying the product altogether.

Here is the list of products (or sadly, the entire range) I've found with ascorbic acid:

  • La-Roche Posay Redermic C range
  • The Body Shop Vitamin C range
  • Philosophy Turbo Booster C powder
  • Mario Badescu Vitamin C serum

What to look out for: 

Vitamin E
Before we hop on to the stable forms of Vitamin C, all should know that the better types of Vitamin C products contains vitamin E. Why? Some studies have found that the combination of Vitamin E and Vitamin C work together to increase the potential of Vitamin C by four times!

TIP: Look for key terms like 'tocopherol' or anything similar

Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
MAP or alternately, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is one of the most stable and preferred Vitamin C derivative. It is easily absorbed into the skin and has a hydrating effect as an added bonus.

Such products includes:
  • Philosophy Microdelivery in-home Vitamin C Peptide Peel ( MAP)
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster
    ( Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate + Sodium Hyaluronate)**
  • Murad Advanced Active Repair Serum
    Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate + Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate+Ascorbic Acid + Glycolic Acid + Sodium Hyaluronate)**
  • Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimising Skin Finisher (MAP + Hyaluronic acid)**
  • bareMinerals bareSkin® Pure Brightening Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20
      (MAP + Vitamin E + Sodium hyaluronate)**

Alternatively, other useful Vitamin C derivatives are: 

  1. Ascorbyl Palmitate or Tetraisopalmitate
  2. Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate
  3. Ascorbyl Glucoside
  4. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate
TIP: Just look for key terms like 'Ascorbyl' or 'Ascorbate'.

Such products includes:

  • Innisfree Eco Science White C Pore Double Serum
    (Ascorbyl Glucoside)
  • Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage SPF 28
    (Ascorbyl Glucoside + Salicylic acid + Zinc PCA)***
  • Garnier Light Complete Multi Action Whitening Cream with Express White Complex SPF 20 PA +++ (Ascorbyl Glucoside + Salicylic acid)
  • Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus (Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate)
  • Philosophy Eye Hope (Ascorbyl Glucoside + Vitamin E + Sodium Hyaluronate)**
  • Dior Capture Totale One Essential Skin Boosting Super serum
     (Ascorbyl Glucoside 
    + Vitamin E + Salicylic acid + Lactic acid)*
  • Estee Lauder Nutritious Rosy Prism Radiant Essence
    etrahexyldecyl Ascorbate)
  • Estee Lauder Resilience lift firming/sculpting face & neck creme SPF 15
    ( Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphates + Hyaluronic acid + Caffiene)
  • Estee Lauder Perfectionist  [CP + R] Wrinkle Lifting/ Firming Serum
    (Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphates + Hyaluronic acid)
  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum
    (Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphates)
  • Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skin Tone Illuminator (Ascorbyl Glucoside)
  *: To read more on Lactic Acid click: Clear Skin & Anti-aging : AHAs
 **: To read more on Hyaluronic Acid click: Everything You Need To Know About Hyaluronic Acid
***: To read more on Salicylic Acid click: Clear Skin: Exfoliation is Key ( Salicylic Acid)

Caution with Ascorbyl Palmitate or Tetraisopalmitate: 

Study indicated that during the day where UV exposure is prominent, the palmitate component actually does more harm than good! It actually became toxic to the cells in your skin! Thus intensifying skin damage and possibly promoting cancer.

You'd be surprised to find the number of products actually containing this ingredient. Even more frightening is how this ingredient is in a multitude of every-day products like your moisturisers and BB creams etc.

Verdict: Use products containing palmitates at night or none at all. 

Additionally, always read the ingredients list.

Some of these includes:

  • Garnier Light Instant Fairness BB Moisturiser
    ( Ascorbyl Palmitate)
  • Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-wrinkle Defence Serum
    Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate + vitamin E)
  • Philosophy Take Shelter UVA/UVB SPF 30 PA+++ sunscreen
    (Ascorbic acid + Ascorbyl Palmitate)
  • Philosophy Full of Promise Restoring Eye Duo
    ( Ascorbyl Glucoside + Vitamin E + Caffiene + Ascorbyl Palmitate + Ascorbic Acid)
  • Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++
    Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate + Ascorbyl Palmitate)
  • Shiseido White Lucent All Day Brightener Broad SpectrumSPF 20
    Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate + 
     2-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid + Sodium Hyaluronate)
  • La Praire Celluar Swiss Ice Crystal Cream
    (Ascorbyl Palmitate + Ascorbic Acid + Sodium Hyaluronate)
    I've come to realise that the bigger brands are typically more generous when it comes to adding stable vitamin C into their products. A special mention to Estee Lauder for consistently pushing out a variety of products loaded with stable and safe vitamin C too.

    That being said, it is now obvious that the price points of these vitamin C products may not be the most affordable of the lot. This is one aspect where drugstore brands needs to really up their game. I think that stable vitamin C products should be affordable for all to use.


    When it comes to vitamin C products, the general rule of thumb is: the more stable the better.

    Best of luck ladies!

    Till then,


    1 comment :

    1. Our trained chemists work on custom projects designed specifically for the needs of each client. 3-O-Ethyl-L-ascorbic acid