Vitamin C is such an essential part of cosmeceutical skin care. I consider it to be the great skin ‘fortifier’; a powerful antioxidant that is able to protect the cells from damage. Not all vitamin C is created equal, however!
As a cosmetic chemist, I will only formulate with L-ascorbic acid as it is the form of vitamin C that the cells recognise. Evidence suggests that other forms of vitamin C derivatives are less effective. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) exhibits low absorption through the skin due to charge on the molecule, and ascorbyl palmitate is not as effective on the cells.
When it comes to formulating Synergie Skin products, I refer to my ‘SEED’ principle.
So, let’s consider L-ascorbic acid through this principle:
S is for STABILITY
The ingredient must not be prone to oxidation or breakdown
L-ascorbic acid is highly unstable and readily oxidized in the presence of water and heat. Most L-ascorbic acid serums on the market contain water in the final product. This results in the molecule being oxidized in four days. Many L-ascorbic serums and lotions on the market contain water and are ineffective within days of opening the product, and often even while the product is sitting on the shelf! Synergie Skin formulates L-ascorbic acid in two forms:
Pure C Crystals (L-ascorbic acid crystals) exists as a dry powder which is very stable. The crystals and kept dry until the user adds the liquid component at the time of application to their skin. The ideal Vitamin c crystal activator is Hydrogel oil free moisturiser or Prepare Astringent for more congested or acneic skin.
SupremaC+ (stabilised water free L-ascorbic acid serum). This is a patented process whereby the raw L ascorbic acid crystals have been finely micronized and protected in an oil ‘envelope’ to protect each crystal from oxidation. This is a 100% water-free serum (anhydrous) and is the most stable L-ascorbic serum available. The oil base of the serum is light and will not clog pores. It contains skin protective pure olive squalene, grapeseed oil and vitamin E.
Although either form can be used on most skin types, I generally recommend Pure C Crystals for acne sufferers and less sensitive skin, whereas SupremaC+ is generally better suited to dry, more sensitive and older skin types.
E is for EFFICACY
The ingredient must actually work and have data to support the benefits.
When choosing the best ingredients to use in my formulations, I always refer to scientific White Paper clinical data to ensure effectiveness. L ascorbic acid (not the derivatives) is considered the most effective form of vitamin C in order to create the following benefits:
It neutralises free radical damage to protect the cell membrane and DNA from damage and prevents breakdown of collagen. This is why it is often considered the fortifier.
Reduces the activation of cellular molecule (called transcription nuclear factor kappa B). These results in reduction of the release of inflammatory factors in cells (called pro inflammatory cytokines). In short, L ascorbic acid reduced redness and inflammation in the skin.
Stimulates collagen production
An essential co-factor for collagen production in cells. It directly stimulates collagen synthesis by stabilizing the molecule responsible for the synthesis (procollagen mRNA). It indirectly promotes collagen production by suppressing the molecule that breaks down collagen in cells (called MMP1).
Lightens skin tone
Suppresses the formation of skin pigment (melanin) and lightens uneven skin tone
Protects from UV damage
Protects the cell membrane from free radical damage created from UV light. It is a great antioxidant to partner with sunscreen. The benefits of Vitamin C are enhanced by Vitamin E as it helps to protect Vitamin C from breakdown.
E is for ELEGANCE
The ingredient must have that ‘feel good’ quality and the customer must want to use it. As well as touch and feel, the product must not have an unpleasant fragrance.
Both the Pure C Crystals and SupremaC+ stabilised serum are considered highly elegant. Both are simple to apply (recommended for morning application) and well tolerated by most skin types. There is no unpleasant odour consistency or colour in either form. Although some individuals prefer the one-step application of SupremaC+, using one over the other is a matter of preference.
D is for DELIVERY
The cosmeceutical active ingredients must be able to reach its target cell to create the desired biological effects.
Pure L ascorbic acid will only be effective if it delivered to the target skin cells where they can exert their benefits. Both Pure C Crystals and SupremaC+ have a very small particle size and are easily absorbed through the skin. Pure C Crystals must be activated with a water based product (Hydrogel) and the pH must be less than 3.5 for delivery. Doctor Sheldon Pinnell discovered that the optimal dose of Pure L ascorbic acid is 20%.
SupremaC+ is delivered through the skin via the ‘oil pathway’ between cells in the outer layer on the skin to the deeper dermal layer, where it exerts its effects.