Vitamin C For Glowing Skin & Best Forms


Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant component of the outermost layers of healthy skin.  It has many benefits including: 

-Increasing collagen synthesis
-Evening out skin tone
-Diminishing appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
-Helping to prevent and treat uv induced, photo damaged skin
-Helping to protect from environmental stressors such as pollution and uv exposure
-Has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and help promote wound healing

As we age, the levels of Vitamin C in skin begin to decline.  Exposure to environmental stressors also depletes Vitamin C leaving our skin more vulnerable to photo damage caused by free radicals and other stressors. 

While internal supplementation of C is a helpful health aid, the most effective way to increase Vitamin C levels in skin is through topical application with properly formulated Vitamin C products.  There are many different forms of Vitamin C, some more stable than others and with better absorption. 

We’ll highlight 4 popular forms/derivatives here:

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (ATIP)

An oil-soluble derivative of C.  This is the form we use in The Clarity Oil.  One of the most expensive and stable forms of Vitamin C on the market with more efficacy data and faster absorption than any alternative. It is also much gentler and remains in the skin cells 40-80 times longer than L-Ascorbic acid. [2] It’s often mistakenly labeled Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THD).  These are not the same Vitamin C derivatives as they have different chemical structures.  

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THD Ascorbate)

An oil-soluble derivative of C.  Similarly to Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, it is also extremely stable and gentle with good penetration. 

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP)

Water-soluble, gentle, light and oxygen stable form of Vitamin C.  Research shows that concentrations between 1-5% of SAP can be efficient in the prevention and treatment of acne. [3]

L-Ascorbic Acid (L-AA)

Water-soluble.  One of the most effective forms of Vitamin C but also the least stable, most prone to oxidation and can aggravate sensitive skin.  When using products with L-Ascorbic acid, make sure they are housed in air-tight, opaque packaging and use with a gentle routine.      

Vitamin E & Vitamin C, Better Together

This dynamic duo, Vitamin E (tocopherols, tocotrienols) and Vitamin C work synergistically to protect from uv damage better than either used alone. [4]  For maximum benefits, look for products that contain both.    

It’s important to note that while Vitamin C has antioxidant activity that helps protect against UV damage, it is also not a sunscreen and cannot replace the need for sunscreen.  Using Vitamin C products in conjunction with SPF is beneficial though and helps to give broader protection.      


Photo credit Kimberly Miller

[1] Pullar, J., Carr, A., & C. M. Vissers, M. (2017, August 1). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. PubMed Central (PMC).

[2] stamford, n. (2012). stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives. journal of cosmetic dermatology11(4), 310-317. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12006

[3] Klock, J. (2005, June 27). Sodium ascorbyl phosphate shows in vitro and in vivo efficacy in the prevention and treatment of acne vulgaris. PubMed.

[4] Lin, J. (2003, June). UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E. PubMed.