Vitamin C Skincare: Does L-Ascorbic Acid Really Work?


Known as the most active forms of vitamin C, studies suggest that ascorbic acid and l-ascorbic acid protect skin cells from oxidative damage, however, both ingredients are known to be very unstable and have a very short shelf life in a water-base formula."


Vitamin C is known to possess antioxidant activities that help protect skin cells from free radical damage. Ascorbic acid is the natural vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables while l-ascorbic acid is the synthetic form of ascorbic acid. Both ascorbic acid and l-ascorbic acid have exactly the same chemical structure which is considered as the most active form of vitamin C.

L-ascorbic acid may help prevent skin discolouration and sun-damaged skin. Studies suggest that l-ascorbic acid lightens pigmentation spots and improves the appearance of acne-prone skin. It has been reported that vitamin C boosts collagen production in the skin, hence, it may also help reduce the signs of ageing.


This is amazing! I noticed a difference round my eyes after the first application. My skin felt tighter and firmer after just a couple of days." Best Wrinkle Zapper, Natural Health learn more >>>


Does L-Ascorbic Acid Really Work Wonder For Your Skin?

In order to be effective, l-ascorbic acid needs to be added to a water-base formula at a final ph below 3.5 and in concentration between 10% to 20%. Even at this optimum condition, l-ascorbic acid may not work wonder for your skin due to the following reasons:

1. L-ascorbic acid can be too irritating for the skin

The ph of healthy skin is about 5.5. Skincare products with a ph above 7 or below 4 can weaken the skin's barrier function. With an optimum ph of below 3.5, l-ascorbic acid can be too irritating for the skin. Skincare products that contain 10% or higher l-ascorbic acid is not suitable for sensitive skin. It is also not recommended for the use around the eyes.

As a skincare scientist, I highly recommend niacinamide as a better alternative to l-ascorbic acid. Known as vitamin B3, niacinamide has been shown to boost the production of collagen, elastin and other proteins in the skin by up to 100%. Studies also indicated that niacinamide effectively reduces pigmentation spots, prevents sun-damaged skin and strengthens the skin's barrier function. Unlike l-ascorbic acid, niacinamide has an optimum ph similar to the ph of healthy skin, hence, it is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin and the fragile skin around the eyes. 

To reduce the signs of ageing and help protect skin cells from free radicals, apply the award-winning lifting serum, Bio-Collagen Serum, every morning and night on freshly-cleansed skin. Bio-Collagen Serum has been formulated with niacinamide, stabilised vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, n-acetyl glucosamine, resveratrol and ferulic acid to reduce the signs of ageing and UV-induced skin damage including pigmentation spots. Developed using the art of bio-molecular nano technology utilising 24-karat gold and hyaluronic acid nano molecules with a molecular weight of 0.0000000000000000001 gram to rejuvenate and boost the skin's radiance from within.


 Facelift in a bottle! Delighted with my purchase. Within minutes my skin feels tighter and looks fresher.” Rachel, UK learn more >>>


2. L-ascorbic acid is very unstable and has a very short shelf life

L-ascorbic acid is quickly oxidised, turned into dehydroascorbic acid upon a contact with the oxygen atom of the water molecule (H2 O). It is no longer have antioxidant properties. Don't use vitamin C products when the colour has turned to orange or brown. It is a clear sign that the oxidation process has already happened. Oxidised vitamin C can irritate the skin and speed up the skin ageing process. 

Some skincare formulators replaced the water in the formula with silicone and its derivatives like cyclomethicone or pentasiloxane, to protect l-ascorbic acid from oxidation. However, the efficacy of l-ascorbic acid in a non-water-base formula is questionable. Other formulators add vitamin E, ferulic acid or zinc sulfate to help stabilise l-ascorbic acid in a water-base formula. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be working. The oxidation process is still happening and the colour of the products is visibly darkened within a few weeks. This is the reason that I have never use ascorbic acid or l-ascorbic acid as the active ingredient in my formulas. For better results, I prefer to use niacinamide in my skincare products.


Anti Dark Circles and Puffiness to diminish dark circles, puffiness and signs of ageing around the eyes. Formulated with niacinamide, ferulic acid, caffeine, and centella asiatica plant extract to brighten, de-puff and rejuvenate the appearance of the skin learn more >>>



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. 

 Click To Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter >>>  


You may also like:


Niacinamide (Nicotinamide) for Youthful Radiant Skin

Niacinamide boosts the production of collagen in the skin by up to 54%; while it also increases the production of elastin and skin proteins by up to 20% and 100%. A clinical study showed that Niacinamide visibly improved the appearance of ageing skin and helped prevent the appearance of age spots by up to 68%.

 Read More >>> 



N-Acetyl Glucosamine: How To Reduce Age Spots and Hyperpigmentation

N-Acetyl Glucosamine is a nano peptide naturally extracted from the outer shells of shellfish. It penetrates deeper into the skin to reduce age spots, hyperpigmentation and other signs of ageing. Studies showed that it helps prevent the excess melanin production, boost hyaluronic acid synthesis and skin cell renewal.

 Read More >>> 



Resveratrol Reduces Hot Flashes, Risk of Cancer and Skin Ageing

Menopause doesn't increase the risk for cancer. Studies suggest that the long exposure to estrogen prior to menopause increases the risk of various cancers. Women who experienced menopause after the age of 55 or began menstruating before the age of 12 are both at a higher risk of having ovarian, breast and uterine cancer.

 Read More >>> 



Menopause: How to Reduce The Effects on Your Skin and Hair

There are some visible changes to the skin and hair during menopause. Usually one year after the last period, women find that their skin becomes drier and the signs of ageing look more prominent. With declining estrogen levels, many women experience thinning hair and notice more hair growing on their face.

 Read More >>> 



Why Colloidal Gold Skincare is Great for Your Skin

Colloidal Gold is a suspension of gold nanoparticles in a fluid, usually water. Known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, studies showed that colloidal gold can penetrate deeper into the skin and acts as a carrier for other active ingredients to improve the efficacy of the skincare products.

 Read More >>> 



Resveratrol Reduces Signs of Ageing From Wrinkles to Pigmentation

Resveratrol is capable of neutralising free radicals and preventing oxidative damage. A study by University of Seville in Spain showed that resveratrol helps prevent and reduce chronic inflammation. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles, pigmentation spots and other visible signs of ageing in the skin.

 Read More >>> 



Skin Ageing: Why It Is Important To Know The Process

Your skin is constantly exposed to internal and external factors like genes, health condition, weather, pollution and microorganisms; hence, it is usually the first organ in your body that shows the signs of ageing. Ageing is a gradual process that happens because the body can't renew all the damaged cells and tissues.

 Read More >>> 



How to Care for Dry Skin

With age, your skin tends to be drier, nevertheless, dry skin is a common skin problem across all ages. The sebum production is controlled by testosterone hormone. With age, the production of testosterone in both men and women declines. As a result, the older people get, the drier their skin is.

 Read More >>> 



Saccharide Isomerate: A Hyaluronic Acid Booster To Reduce Wrinkles

Saccharide Isomerate boosts the hyaluronic acid production in the skin by up to 66% and reduces the appearance of wrinkles by up to 79.3%. It delivers long-lasting hydrating and smoothing effects up to 72 hours. It reduces flakiness, itchiness, dryness and tightness, and improves skin smoothness and softness by 50%.

 Read More >>> 



Cacay Oil Proven To Reduce Wrinkles and Pigmentation Spots

A clinical study in Germany showed that daily application of cacay oil within a 4 week period reduced the appearance of wrinkles by 45%. This study found that cacay oil boosts the skin's hydration and elasticity while also visibly smooths out the appearance of the skin and makes it look firmer.

 Read More >>> 



How Does Sleep Deprivation Trigger Wrinkles and Other Signs of Ageing?

In additional to various health benefits, sleep has a major influence on our appearance. A study by a research-led medical university in Sweden suggests that sleep deprivation triggers signs of ageing such as sagging eyelids, swollen eyes, dark circles, dull complexion, prominent wrinkles and droopy mouth corners.

 Read More >>> 



How Long does it take for Your Skin to Renew?

The skin cells turnover rate varies individually and age plays a major role. In babies, the skin renews itself every 14 days. In teenagers, this process takes about 28 days. In adults, it takes between 28 and 42 days. In those age 50 and older, the skin renewal process can take up to 84 days.

 Read More >>> 



How to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes and Eye Bags

With age, the skin tissues and muscles around the eyes weaken. As a result, the supporting fats moved from the upper eye lids to the lower eye lids, causing the appearance of eye bags and puffy eyes. They make the eyes look tired and the skin look saggy. The skin around the eyes often shows the first signs of ageing.

 Read More >>> 



Scientific Sources: Oxidative Decomposition of Vitamin C in Drinking Water, Free Radical Research, 2004 Aug; 38(8): 855-60.

Leave a comment