The benefits of Vitamin C are well-known – an efficient collagen booster, and an amazing ability to treat effects of photoageing and hyperpigmentation. A favoured ingredient in skincare products, this vitamin helps to gently brighten and smoothen the skin.
Whilst Vitamin C is a naturally occurring antioxidant in the botanical world, humans do not possess the enzyme L-glucono-gamma lactone oxidase for the production of Vitamin C. When administered orally, Vitamin C is not efficiently delivered to the dermis. The concentration of the vitamin when introduced into the body is not sufficient to allow an activated effect. In the practice of dermatology, topical vitamin C is frequently recommended as an adjunct to treatments, which results in a drive towards newer advanced delivery forms of the vitamin into the dermis or discovery of more stable Vitamin C compounds.
Vitamin C exists in two forms – L-ascorbic acid and D-ascorbic acid. L-ascorbic acid is the chemically active form of Vitamin C, but it is not stable in nature. When exposed to light, Vitamin C may get oxidized to Dehydro Ascorbic Acid for example, which loses the beneficial activity of the vitamin. This gives rise to the interest of stable ascorbate molecules for dermatological uses.
What are the common Vitamin C derivatives?
Not all forms are physiologically effective as some will not be delivered to the dermis in sufficient quantity, or will not convert to a chemically active form in the skin.
Some stable derivatives of L-ascorbic acid are Magnesium Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phospahte, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phospate, and Calcium Ascorbate, with varying effectiveness.
What is the most stable Vitamin C derivative?
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is a stable and effective derivative of Vitamin C. It is significantly more stable than magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and ascorbyl palmitate. The stability is attributed to the introduction of a phosphate group into the second position of the cyclic ring.
How does sodium ascorbyl phosphate work?
At our skin’s pH of 7, ascorbic acid is present in a form called ascorbate anion. This form has poor penetration ability into the skin and is unable to prevent effects of photodamaging due to low antioxidant concentrations.
With sodium ascorbyl phosphate, antioxidant levels are substantial and can be absorbed into deeper skin layers and allow effective photoprotection. With ongoing research on this stable derivative, it is understood that sodium ascorbyl phosphate is absorbed in the skin and converted by enzymes into ascorbic acid, increasing the intracellular concentration of ascorbic acid.
Skin cells continuously take up sodium ascorbyl phosphate and convert it into ascorbic acid by the process of dephosphorylation, with the help of the enzyme acid phosphatase in the skin layer. This process allows elevated levels of ascorbic acid in the skin long after the introduction of sodium ascorbyl phosphate to the skin.
How does sodium ascorbyl phosphate help acne?
As a potent antioxidant, sodium ascorbyl phosphate can help improve acne conditions by combating oxidation of sebum and comedogenesis.
According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, she said: “Patients with acne are found to have a higher concentration of polar lipids, which are by-products of squalene oxidation. Squalene is most abundant lipid in our skin and is highly susceptible to oxidation due to its structure. It has six carbon double bonds, allowing atmospheric oxygen to bind. This produces squalene oxides that are highly comedogenic, as it causes inflammatory reactions that further depletes the level of antioxidants in our skin and leads to acne. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is useful in acne treatment as it prevents sebum oxidation.”
How does sodium ascorbyl phosphate prevent sebum oxidation?
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate works as an antioxidant to neutralise free radicals, reducing oxidative stress. When exposed to UV light, reactive oxygen species such as the superoxide ion, peroxide and singlet oxygen are generated. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate works to protect the skin from oxidative damage to sebum by donating electrons to neutralise the free radicals.
How does sodium ascorbyl phosphate fight ageing?
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is an oxygen species scavenger, protecting against UV damaging and enhancing properties of sunscreen. Photodamage such as sunburn cell formation, DNA fragmentation and lipid peroxidation can be prevented. The protective effect of sodium ascorbyl phosphate comes from the maintenance of a healthy ascorbic acid level in the skin tissue.
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate reduces UV susceptibility and protects against damage from UV exposure.
Are there any side effects of sodium ascorbyl phosphate?
Formulations containing sodium ascorbyl phosphate are considered safe and has shown no side effects in multiple clinical studies conducted.
Which Vitamin C serum should I use?
Although sodium ascorbyl phosphate boasts many desirable benefits, it is important to choose a Vitamin C serum that is well-formulated to allow its benefits to be realised. Avoid concocting your own serum of Vitamin C, as it may lead to phytophotodermatitis if you include ingredients such as lemon, lime or bergamot oranges.
For a reliable and effective serum, you may consider Vita C Gold™ Serum. Dermatologist-formulated and tested for bio-activity in a laboratory, it is completely safe for use. It is a concentrated serum containing nano-formulated sodium ascorbyl phosphate as a powerful and stable antioxidant.
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