" Like other vitamin C derivatives, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate offers a more stable form of vitamin C."
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a lipid-soluble vitamin C derivative. So far there are limited studies about its benefit for the skin. In most studies, there were other active ingredients added to support tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Like other vitamin C derivatives, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate offers a more stable form of vitamin C, however, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities are weaker than those of L-ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C and Its Stability Issues in Skincare Products
As the purest form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid has been proven to be effective in protecting the skin against free radical damage and promoting collagen synthesis in the skin particularly collagen type 1. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of L-ascorbic acid are by far the highest among all forms of vitamin C. However, this water soluble vitamin C needs to be stabilised in order to prevent oxidation upon contact with water.
Due to reaction with the oxygen atom of the water molecule (H2 O), L-ascorbic acid will turn into dehydroascorbic acid. Compared to L-ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid is lacking of two hydrogen atoms. This oxidised form of L-ascorbic acid is no longer have the antioxidant activities against free radicals.
There have been many attempts to stabilise L-ascorbic acid by creating the more stable forms, known as vitamin C derivatives such as Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Palmitate and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. Nevertheless, numerous studies showed that none of them have comparable antioxidant properties to L-ascorbic acid. L-ascorbic acid is by far still the most potent vitamin C. It has the highest vitamin C content among all other forms of vitamin C.
As a skincare scientist with over 15 years experience working with vitamins and other active ingredients, I use a synergetic combination of L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, stabilised vitamin E and pro-vitamin B5 to eliminate the issue with vitamin C instability. L-ascorbic acid in a stable formula is one of the most effective weapon against premature ageing and skin damage including UV-induced damage.
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What Is Better than Vitamin C?
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and other forms of vitamin C are often used to protect skin from photoageing such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and loss of volume. Is there any better skincare ingredient than vitamin C?
In regard to vitamin C in skincare formulas, not all forms of vitamin C are equally good. To get the best results, instead of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, I prefer to use L-ascorbic acid. I highly recommend L-ascorbic acid for those in their 20s and 30s with normal, combination or oily skin. However, if you have sensitive skin, niacinamide and saccharide isomerate are the best.
For those in their 40s, 50s and beyond, I highly recommend resveratrol. Numerous studies showed that resveratrol (naturally found in the skin of red grapes) has excellent antioxidant properties, greater than the antioxidant properties of Vitamin A, C, E, Catechin (in teas), Epicatechin (in cocoa), Gallocatechin (in adzuki beans), Gallic Acid (in blueberries), Ellagic Acid (in pomegranates) and Idebenone.
Resveratrol protects skin cells from free radicals, oxidative stress and UV-induced damage. It also protects collagen in the skin from degradation. It stimulates cell renewal, reduces hyperpigmentation and calms hormonal acne-prone skin during menopause. Using skincare products that contain resveratrol is extremely good during perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
As with vitamin C, resveratrol needs to be stabilised. In award-winning Bio-Collagen Serum, I have carefully combined 10 active ingredients including resveratrol, niacinamide, n-acetyl glucosamine, ferulic acid, coenzyme Q10, stabilised vitamin E and 24-karat nano gold to create a synergistic and stable anti-ageing formula. This ultra-powerful yet ultra-gentle-on-the-skin face serum smoothes out the appearance of wrinkles and diminishes pigmentation spots. With regular daily use, it helps lift and firm up the overall look of the skin. I use it everyday underneath Bio-Collagen Ageless Cream, the award-winning extra firming and lifting cream to even out skin tone, plump up and restore skin's elasticity.
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Why I don't recommend Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate?
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is an oil-soluble vitamin C derivative that contains a portion of ascorbic acid (L-ascorbic acid equivalent). By nature, ascorbic acid is water-soluble; forcing it to be oil-soluble will lower its activity and efficacy. Other than that, I don't see any problem with skincare products containing tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Although it is not as pure vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate can still offer some degree of vitamin C skin benefits.
Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with USA and UK at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips.
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Scientific Sources: Double-blind, half-face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage, Dermatologic Surgery, 2002 Mar, 28(3): 231-6.