There are few products that made such a difference in my skin with short-term use as using the Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster – a water-based preparation of 15% ascorbic acid. Unfortunately, I can find it irritating on my reactive skin when used twice a day along with the other actives in my routine and that I struggle to use up the product before it oxidizes. As a result, it’s expensive with the low value of the Canadian dollar, when it can only remain stable for three or so months. I’d describe my skin as reactive and quite dry on the cheeks and chin, and prone to dullness and uneven tone. Also, I’m prone to under the skin bumps and the occasional pimple in my cheeks and chin that take forever to go away. I struggle with my skin taking forever to heal from these occasional blemishes. The Paula’s Choice offering really helped with the healing time for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and truly evened out and brightened my skin. I found myself trying a few different products from The Ordinary to potentially use in its place after seeing their prices and hearing the company’s boasts about their products stability.
The Ordinary Ascorbic Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F ($17.80 CDN)
I was so excited to try out this brightening vitamin c derivative because it’s formulated along with essential fatty acids that are incredibly helpful in the maintenance and repair of the skin barrier. On the positive side, this product was not irritating in the least but I also did not see much in terms of notable results. It was nothing even comparable of the effect of the Paula’s Choice and I’d say that this is because vitamin c derivatives require the skin to perform an extra step to convert the ingredient to ascorbic acid so even if it fully converts, the concentration of vitamin c would be lower than the 20% advertised. It performs as a regular antioxidant in my routine and unfortunately for me, I did not enjoy the coconut alkane base; I found it made my dry skin feel almost greasy and felt kind of almost gritty, without ever truly absorbing into the skin. I didn’t find myself wanting to use the formula even at night because it didn’t feel great on the skin. And I note that this is as someone with dry skin who does not typically mind oilier formulas. There’s definitely research that indicates that ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate has deeper penetration than other derivatives, has excellent skin brightening ability and has good stability. We just don’t have the research that it stimulates collagen in the way that ascorbic acid does and helps to prevent and reverse skin damage when used along with sunscreen.
Ingredients: Coconut Alkanes, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ethyl Linoleate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Squalane.
The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution ($18 CDN)
Much like the former product, I enjoyed the product’s gentle formula but wished there was more in terms of notable results. I think that I saw a slightly more pronounced brightening effect with this one and less of a gritty texture but I had the same issue with its stable water-free formulation – it felt oily on the skin and never quite absorbed. As someone who loves oils, I was shocked to learn that the oily texture was so unappealing and even impacted foundation wear on my normal areas of my drier skin. I like to use vitamin c during the daytime for extra antioxidant protection and the texture of this product made daytime wear incredibly unappealing. It’s a more stable derivative, or more precisely, an ester of ascorbic acid, that has some research that suggests that it may produce more similar effects to pure ascorbic acid with increased stability but we aren’t there yet at knowing for sure. It does have notable brightening ability, seems to help with collagen synthesis, inhibits the formation of melanocytes and has significant ability to repair the skin from sun damage. The body metabolizes ethylated ascorbic acid as l-ascorbic acid but there is first a conversion that occurs and its unclear how much l-ascorbic acid this formula converts to. The formula is incredibly simple and only contains two ingredients, so this may be a good option for skin types that are often irritated and avoid long ingredient lists. It’s merely ethyl ascorbic acid and a hydrating penetration enhancer. My complaint is merely that I don’t find it to be cosmetically elegant and appealing for daytime wear.
Ingredients: Propanediol, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid
What’s your favourite vitamin c?