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Vitamin C is one of my top five or six picks in terms of best skin care ingredients. (The others include retinoids, AHAs, peptides, other antioxidants, and sunscreen.) Vitamin C is a choice of mine for many reasons: According to the textbook Cosmetic Dermatology, topical application of vitamin C has been found to protect against UV-induced erythema and sunburn, increase fibroblast production of collagen, and to possibly reduce wrinkle formation.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues with vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid is that it tends to become inactive in the presence of light, heat, and air. Even regular use of a L-ascorbic acid product without airtight packaging (such as an airtight pump) can cause the vitamin C to become darker, more yellow or orange, and crystallized or sticky — all indicators that the vitamin C has oxidized, and is hence less beneficial to the skin.
About Those Vitamin C Alternatives…
Some companies have tried to address the issue of vitamin C oxidization with other forms of vitamin C. You’ll see ingredients ranging from tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate to ascorbyl glucosamine to 3-0-ethyl ascorbic acid. Truthfully, each of these tend to have their own benefits — tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate may penetrate the skin more deeply than L-ascorbic acid (Clinics in Dermatology, 2008), ascorbyl glucosamine has slightly more significant brightening properties (source) and 3-0-ethyl ascorbic acid may be more potent, ounce for ounce (indicating that you may need less for the same effects). In a clinical skin lightening test, 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) — in a manner I think is similar to 15% L-ascorbic acid.
The issues with these vitamin C alternatives, however, are numerous. First, companies who create products with vitamin C alternatives tend not to disclose the percentage of vitamin C derivative included. So whereas you can easily compare a 15% Skinceuticals L-ascorbic acid product with a 20% Dr. Dennis Gross L-ascorbic acid product, you can’t necessarily compare one tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate product to another as easily, much less compare a tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate product to a ascorbyl glucosamine product. That’s one issue.
Another issue with vitamin C derivatives are that they typically need to be converted to vitamin C within the skin. For instance, ascorbyl glucosamine needs to be broken down into L-ascorbic acid and glucosamine by enzymes found naturally within the skin in order to have any activity at all. On the other hand, L-ascorbic acid on its own has been shown to have effects, without needing to have any sort of breakdown or “activation” within the skin.
Why Vitabrid C12 SPOT Powder and SPOT Essence Keeps Winning Awards
That’s where Vitabrid C12 SPOT Powder and SPOT Essence come in. When you add a serum or moisturizer to the powder, you get fresh, unoxidized vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid, without having to worry about excessive exposure to light, heat, or air. It’s great to add to your existing lightweight serum — just cleanse and/or tone, and add this powder into the next step of your skin care regimen.
Another great benefit of Vitabrid C12 SPOT Powder and SPOT Essence is that it contains a whopping 5% niacinamide — the highest concentration allowed in skin care. Niacinamide has been shown in studies to be a superior hydrator (with results similar to hyaluronic acid) and hyperpigmentation treatment (with results similar to 2% hydroquinone). It is also a fair treatment for acne and fine lines and wrinkles, although I say “fair” because the results are not, say, 10% salicylic acid + 2% benzoyl peroxide, or 0.1% retinol, respectively.