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Ever since Dr. Sheldon Pinnell declared that 15% vitamin C and 2% vitamin E could prevent signs of sun damage, erase sun spots, improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and visibly brighten skin, there has been his own Cellex-C and Skinceuticals CE Ferulic — plus dozens of dupes.
Only recently, however, has the technology on these replicates started to outdo the original. Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C Serum is the latest vitamin C serum to try to outdo the original, with 20% combined of two stabilized, proven forms of vitamin C — 3-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid and Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate. Although research on the latter is limited, there is definitive proof to suggest that 3-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid may be even more effective than L-ascorbic acid over time. For more, read on.
3-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid: The New Vitamin C of Choice?
3-0-Ethyl ascorbic acid is a derivative consisting of vitamin C and an ethyl group that is proving to be more potent and more stable than ascorbic acid in early studies. In a clinical skin lightening test by Spincontrol France, a solution containing just 2% 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid was found to improve skin whitening and radiance after just 28 days of twice-daily application (Cosmetics and Toiletries). Keeping in mind that similar results are produced in separate studies with 15% L-ascorbic acid— 7 times as much! — this means that 3-0-Ethyl ascorbic acid certainly holds promise.
As for stability, the only difference between 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid and ascorbic acid structurally is that the former has an ethyl group bound to the third carbon position — but it makes a big difference. What this means to skincare consumers is that 3-0-Ethyl ascorbic acid is more stable in the presence of light, heat, and air than ascorbic acid when used in cosmetic products. Samples of 2% 3-0-Ethyl ascorbic acid have been retained for 1 month in a 45°C (113°F) oven, and there was no change in color or purity (Cosmetics and Toiletries). As fans of L-ascorbic acid know, putting the ingredient in similar conditions would not enable the ingredient to maintain full color or purity.
Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate Seems to Lay Atop the Skin, Provide Antioxidant Protection Only
One question I have received about 3-0-Ethyl ascorbic acid and ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate is whether they may be too large to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. However, given the effects that just 2% of 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid has been found to provide for the skin, it is likely that this ester penetrates the skin and is then converted by natural enzymes within the skin to L-ascorbic acid (Cosmetics and Toiletries).
When it comes to ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate, however, it is likely that it does not penetrate the skin. I have not seen any efficacy studies that suggest use of ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate converts to L-ascorbic acid once applied to the skin. Instead, what ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate is likely to do is lay atop the skin and provide some degree of antioxidant protection. It may boost UVA protection as well, which other forms of L-ascorbic acid have been found to do atop the skin in dermatological studies. This may be why ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate is found in concentrations of up to 25% in skin care products.
In Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C Serum, there is more 3-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid than Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate, which was the smart choice. This indicates that the serum is more likely to help improve the appearance of sunspots, fine lines and wrinkles and skin brightness than if ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate were the primary vitamin C listed in the ingredients.
Personal Use and Opinions
I don’t have wrinkles. I don’t say that to brag — I’ve invested heavily in skincare since I was a teenager — so that’s not all that surprising.
But what I do get are sunspots. Since my honeymoon last November, I swear, new ones have been popping up like crazy. I used to only have three that would pop up from time to time, and then be erased with a religious adherence to vitamin C by day and retinol and hydroquinone at night. But for the past eight months or so, I was honestly considering laser treatments.Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C Serum has been fantastic for my sunspots. They’re not completely gone, but they are fading. I had been using my own FutureDerm Vitamin CE Caffeic in the fall/winter and the lighter Skinceuticals CE Ferulic daily in the spring/summer, and I still noticed a difference in the sunspots when I used Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C Serum instead.
It is a medium-weight serum, but non-sticky and unscented. It absorbed into my skin fairly well, though it had a certain thickness to it that I didn’t mind.
My only complaint is that the vial is quite small — 0.55 floz versus the usual 1.00 floz I am used to purchasing. I went through the entire vial with once-per-day use in about two and a half weeks. And at $69 MSRP, it is going to be $138 per month or $1,656 per year for this serum!
Still, it is cheaper than a laser or chemical peel treatment, and it can be used every single day. So I’ll be making the investment for the foreseeable future.
Bottom LineDr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C Serum is a fantastic new serum that introduces a hot new vitamin C ester, 3-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, in a higher concentration than I have ever seen it before. After honeymooning in Mexico last fall, I definitely am seeing an improvement in using this serum on my sunspots versus the more traditional 15% L-ascorbic acid/2% Tocopherol acetate formulations I had been using. The real issue here is the price: at $69 MSRP for .55 floz, rather than 1.0 floz, it is a definite upsell. But I’m finding that it is worth it — at least for as long as I have visible sunspots!
Ingredients in Dr. Brandt Power Dose Vitamin C Serum
Water, 3-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta, Dipotassium Phosphate, Pentasodium Pentetate, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Sodium Phytate, Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Citric Acid, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methylpropanediol.