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Vitamin C for Anti-Ageing


Vitamin C is widely recognised as one of the most effective antioxidants in skincare. Antioxidants are known to prevent agents called free radicals from damaging cells in the body and the skin. Free radicals are a result of normal body processes, but they can also be created by exposure to various environmental factors such as smoking or ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and can speed up the ageing process.


Essentially free-radical scavengers are in search of a missing electron. Antioxidants like vitamin C neutralise the damage by donating their electron, thus minimising the damage a free radical can do on skin proteins such as collagen or elastin. Therefore, the more antioxidants present in skin, the less damage free radicals can inflict.


Vitamin C also has the ability to boost collagen – which when it comes to anti-ageing is vitally important. Lines, wrinkles, loose skin, crow’s-feet are all due to lost collagen, the structural protein in the skin that gives it its firmness. Collagen is readily available when you are younger, but it disappears as you age.


Vitamin C stimulates collagen—it works on the cells in the skin that have become lazy with age and tells them to make more collagen. Collagen therefore stimulates collagen production while also protecting against free radical damage. It also effectively brightens your complexion and helps even out skin tone and discolouration.


Loss of collagen can also make pores look large so by stimulating the skin collagen and thickening the skin, Vitamin C can help pores look smaller.


There are several forms of Vitamin C which are used in skincare including L-ascorbic acid, Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, Sodium ascorbyl palmitate and Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate.

The challenge when it comes to Vitamin C is that it is notoriously unstable particularly in water solutions. Furthermore, Vitamin C doesn’t penetrate the skin easily and it degrades on exposure to oxygen. It also favours a pH of 3 which is too acidic for the skin.


Cosmetic formulators therefore have to choose the form that best suits the needs of their product in order to ensure that the formulation works and more importantly continues to do so after it has been opened.


L-ascorbic acid is the most common form of vitamin C used in skin care. It is water-soluble. The biggest advantage to L-ascorbic acid is that its concentrations are well-established in skin care products. Sodium ascorbyl palmitate is also a water-soluble form of L-ascorbic acid, but has been combined with palmitic acid and sodium.


Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a stable form of vitamin C that is oil-soluble and is able to penetrate both the epidermis and the dermis.


Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is an active stable vitamin C derivative ingredient for the cosmetics industry. It liberates vitamin C in the skin and protects the cells of the skin, promotes collagen formation, controls the formation of senile keratosis, and lightens dark skin.


It is ideal for use in most skin care products such as creams, serums and facial wipes.

BASF Care Solutions is a leading supplier of Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate to the cosmetic industry.

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