One of the first products Elizabeth Dehn and I began to develop was the Vitamin C Serum. Elizabeth was interested in Vitamin C for its myriad skin saving benefits. A good Vitamin C serum can help to maintain a youthful glow and help restore skin’s health. She dreamed of offering a product that could help with loss of firmness, sun damage, hyper-pigmentation and the dull and lackluster skin tone that comes with age and stress.
I was intrigued, but concerned. You see, my skin is super sensitive and tends towards redness and breakouts. And I’m 39! So I have to carefully watch everything I put on my face. My research confirmed my own experience: Vitamin C in the form of asorbic acid in skin care can cause irritation, redness and may even contribute to acne. In clinical trials, it takes a pretty high percentage of Vitamin C to get real results, but higher and better-performing percentages come with a host of disadvantages.
I also discovered working with Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can be challenging, to say the least. It is notoriously unstable and when exposed to air, undergoes oxidation which can cause it to become not only ineffective but also potentially harmful—oxidized vitamin C may increase the formation of free radicals. Eek! Not what we were looking for. Stabilized vitamin C products are designed to oxidize less rapidly, however, these products are usually very expensive (especially the ones concentrated enough to be effective) and may still be excessively oxidized by the time you use them.
You can see my conundrum. I found the solution I was looking for in Vitamin C ester, also known as ascorbyl palmitate. There are two kinds of Vitamin C—the popular ascorbic acid, which is water soluble and ascorbyl palmitate, which is fat soluble. The fat soluble form of vitamin C is less irritating and better absorbed by the skin. Vitamin C ester is also more stable in topical solutions, which alleviates any concerns over stability, oxidation and free radical damage. Vitamin C ester, or ascorbyl palmitate, is less popular in skin care products though because it is much a more expensive ingredient than the water-soluble form of Vitamin C.
Why is Vitamin C ester so beneficial to the skin? Unlike water-soluble ascorbic acid, fat-soluble vitamin C ester displays greater antioxidant activity and performs at much lower doses. It has also been shown to increase the antioxidant effect and protection of Vitamin E, which is another free radical fighting powerhouse in our Vitamin C serum.
I could not wait to try this in our formula and test the results on my super fussy skin. After 4 weeks, I was so happy to report back to our team that our Vitamin C serum soothed my skin, calmed redness and reduced a few sunspots I had accumulated over the years. My skin look great and never felt irritated. Not once. Amazing! See for yourself!