With all this talk about antioxidants, a fair question may be whether or not only naturally-occurring antioxidants work in skincare. The answer? Not necessarily.
Some products (including our own) also use manmade antioxidants, which are usually a modification of the actual molecule to enhance its natural function. To provide some deeper explanation and context, let’s take a closer look at a couple different forms of Vitamin C, shall we?
Ascorbic Acid: Water-Soluble Vitamin C
This is the form of Vitamin C found in standard vitamin supplements. Although Dr. Perricone recommends taking this form of Vitamin C as a nutritional supplement, ascorbic acid has some serious drawbacks when used as a topical ingredient and can be irritating to skin when used in topical formulations.
Ascorbyl Palmitate: Fat-Soluble Vitamin C
Unlike the ascorbic acid form, fat-soluble Vitamin C Ester realizes the nutrient’s full potential as an anti-aging agent. It displays greater antioxidant activity in our cells than ascorbic acid does, and performs this vital work at lower doses. In fact, when compared to ascorbic acid, Vitamin C Ester delivers eight times higher levels of Vitamin C activity.
Oh, and since Vitamin C Ester can reside in our cells’ fatty membranes, it continuously regenerates the Vitamin E depleted by the ongoing fight against free radicals. It also possesses the ability to stimulate growth of the cells that help produce collagen and elastin—the strands of tissue that give skin its strength and flexibility—and is more stable in topical solutions. This stability helps maintain its efficacy while delivering incomparable benefits.
For example, we use ascorbyl palmitate to help maximize its benefits to the skin. When this fat-soluble form of Vitamin C is present in the dermis, this can result in increased levels of both collagen and elastin. The result is a more youthful appearance, as this can affect the thinning of skin seen in both the natural aging process and as a result of sun damage. Ascorbyl palmitate is also highly stable, meaning that it will maintain its efficacy over long periods of time.
Antioxidants Working with Other Ingredients
Another question people often ask is whether or not beauty products with antioxidant ingredients need other active ingredients in them to make the antioxidants work harder.
The answer is yes.
We already know that antioxidants work synergistically, so having more than one in your skincare formulas is key to ensuring the different functions will work together to enhance the effects.
However, the most important factor to consider in all of this is the carrier system used to deliver these antioxidants to the skin. If the carrier system isn’t effective, the antioxidants will just sit on the surface and not deliver any benefits. A proper delivery system is needed to ensure the skin derives the optimal benefits of each antioxidant.