types of vitamin C


If there is one ingredient worthy of wearing the royal mantle, it is definitely vitamin C. This hero ingredient has built a stellar reputation for fighting everything from uneven skin tones to fine lines and wrinkles. Today, having healthy skin with vitamin C is not hidden from anyone.

We are here to introduce you the types of vitamin C that are most effective for the skin:

  • Ascorbic acid
  • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
  • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
  • Sodium ascorbate
  • Calcium ascorbate
  • Ascorbyl palmitate


In the following, we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of each so that you can find the right form for you :


Review of different types of vitamin C for skin health


Vitamin C is a popular global supplement with an impressive history. Consuming this powerful antioxidant can boost the immune system, while topical application can help protect the skin from daily aggressors and give you a youthful complexion:

Let’s explore this beauty ingredient and discover how each form of vitamin C differs from the other and what information is needed to have healthy skin with vitamin C. We also discuss why some forms work better in certain formulations :


Vitamin C for skin


Number 1: Ascorbic Acid


Take a look at some of the most popular brightening serum labels. You will probably see the name ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid above it. As the best known and most researched type of vitamin C in the skin care game, it has the most effective form of penetrating the skin barrier.

When this type of vitamin C is properly formulated at a pH below 4, ascorbic acid has many anti-aging benefits for normal skin types. Sensitive skin types should aim for a higher pH of 5-7 (closer to the skin’s natural pH) to avoid irritation.

The next point is to choose the right concentration. Starting with a low concentration (10%) for dull skin tone or normal unevenness and increasing to 15% or 20% for stubborn pigmentation will provide great skin benefits without irritation. For oily or normal skin types, ascorbic acid (L-ascorbic acid) can be the most beneficial form of vitamin C, while dry and sensitive skin may experience adverse reactions.

Important note: Ascorbic acid is water soluble and breaks down (oxidizes) when exposed to light and air, thus inactivating vitamin C and potentially damaging your skin. Therefore, look for bottles or pumps that are dark, opaque and restrict the entry of air to make sure that the contents inside remain unchanged and have not changed.


Number 2: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate


Just because this derivative of vitamin C is less powerful than its older brother, ascorbic acid, does not mean that it is not effective in increasing the freshness of the skin and face!

This less intense form of vitamin C has special benefits for the skin and is great for all skin types.

Unlike L-ascorbic acid – the bioactive form of vitamin C – which can penetrate your skin, sodium ascorbyl phosphate converts to ascorbic acid once applied to the skin. Although this process reduces its activity and effectiveness, it will be less irritating and more useful for people with sensitive skin.


ascorbic acid for skin


Another advantage of sodium ascorbyl phosphate is that it behaves less irregularly than ascorbic acid when exposed to light, air and even water! Although you may be looking for dark or opaque amber bottles, rest assured that this stuff doesn’t lose its potency so easily.

Important note: To get the most skin benefits, look for serums with sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which have a higher concentration than creams or lotions.


Number 3: Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate


Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) is one of the most stable forms of vitamin C. It is also one of the most moisturizing vitamins in its class, and with its anti-inflammatory properties, it can effectively soothe skin irritations.

It is a water-soluble form of vitamin C, meaning it is best used in water-based formulas. For example, it is added to aloe vera gel in vitamin C serum.

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is also great for acne-prone skin types, as it can prevent oxidation that leads to blackheads.

This stable form of vitamin C has been proven to be effective as a topical antioxidant and can correct discoloration caused by acne scars while balancing skin tone.

Important note: magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is one of the few forms of vitamin C that can play well with niacinamide! The two usually work together when used topically, but thanks to their unique buffering and complementary pH levels, the two can be used together in serums and antiaging treatments.


Number 4: Sodium Ascorbate


Sodium ascorbate, like sodium ascorbyl phosphate, is placed in the group of mineral salts. Ascorbic acid is the purest form of vitamin C and sodium ascorbate is the sodium salt form of ascorbic acid. Of course, it does not fail to provide many benefits for the skin, from cleaning free radicals to brightening the parts of the skin that have changed color.

Sodium ascorbate converts to ascorbic acid when applied to the skin. This suggests that it may be less effective than ascorbic acid, making your skin less irritated and more stable when exposed to light and air.

Important note: To absorb the maximum benefits of vitamin C, combine your vitamin C serum with another antioxidant-rich serum. Studies show that the effectiveness of vitamin C increases when combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E. By combining these two wonderful ingredients, you will get more protection against UV rays, free radical protection and better skin nutrition.


vitamin c serum for face


Number 5: Calcium Ascorbate


As another mineral salt of ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate – often known as the C-ester – plays an essential role in collagen synthesis, tissue and wound repair, and antioxidant defense.

It also defends the skin against free radicals, boosts collagen production, reduces fine lines and fades dark spots.

Calcium ascorbate also has excellent hydrating effects for the skin, while the calcium portion of this ingredient has outstanding benefits for bones, cartilage and tissues. This type of vitamin C is effective at a neutral pH, meaning it does not irritate the skin.


Number 6: Ascorbyl palmitate


This substance is a vitamin C derivative and a skin strengthening and brightening superstar! As a fat-soluble derivative of vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate is non-irritating to sensitive skin types, although it is more stable than ascorbic acid when exposed to air and light.

Ascorbyl palmitate has milder effects on the skin than ascorbic acid. However, it is very useful for helping collagen production, reducing hyperpigmentation and improving skin texture.