Friday, January 21, 2011
Vitamin C is a water soluble anti-oxidant has been proven in studies to be an anti-inflammatory that can stimulate collagen formation, lighten skin, treat hyperpigmentation, and heal wounds. It's water soluble ingredient that works best in creations with a pH of less than 3 (now that's acidic!) and concentrations up to 5% are well tolerated by our skin. It's present in every layer of our stratum corneum and it's essential for stimulating collage synthesis and the formation of the barrier lipids. Applying a lotion with a concentration of 5% over 6 months have been shown to improve the appearance of skin with photo-damage (and this isn't the "improve the appearance" like the cosmetic companies use this phrase - this was an actual study!) and it's been shown to reduce sunburn cell formation and reddening in humans. And it has been shown that it can influence the synthesis of specific ceramides, which can improve the water retaining properties - well, at least in vitro. (This hasn't been confirmed in living human skin yet.)
Ideally we'll partner Vitamin C with Vitamin E to create an anti-oxidizing powerhouse because the Vitamin C will help the Vitamin E regenerate to keep the anti-oxidizing awesomeness going for quite some time, and we can throw in up to 0.05% beta-carotene to increase the anti-oxiding power. This combination has been shown to quench free radicals on our skin.
So why aren't we using it in every single product we make? Because it's really unstable in water and it doesn't easily penetrate our skin. Plus pH 3 is really acidic and that's not a great pH for our lotions or serums to be. And it degrades easily when exposed to oxygen.
So let's say you want to use Vitamin C in your creations. Is it possible? It is. The ideal product would be a non-ionic anhydrous product or emulsion in an air tight container (so a lotion or serum not including any cationic ingredients - like BTMS or cationic polymers - or anionic ingredients - like our bubbly surfactants - is right out). You can use it with silicones or oils as an anhydrous creation. But Vitamin C is water soluble, so how the heck would we get it into a creation with little to no water?
ascorbyl palmitate in a serum or lotion as your source of Vitamin C, for instance. You can use the water soluble Vitamin C in an emulsion, but you will see some degradation of the ingredient, so don't choose a pump bottle but something like a malibu/tottle or disc cap to keep it less exposed to the air. (As I note, I found tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate at Lotioncrafter's site. This is another ester with Vitamin C and very stable. I also found VitaC Stable at the Herbarie, which is Vitamin C with a phosphate added for stability.)
Or you could dissolve it in water and create an emulsion, although this will be less effective than using the ester. And it can oxidize quickly, making your products an orange/brown colour (that's when you know it's oxidized!), which isn't great. So it's looking like using one of the esters is the best choice.
So what am I making with it? Well, probably nothing as I have the unstable water soluble kind and I can't think of a creation (yet!) that I'd be able to use it in, although I have some ideas.
Here's an idea from Lotioncrafter for using the water soluble Vitamin C in an oil based product along with the ester. Looks interesting! I can't comment on the end product as I don't have any of those ingredients, except for the water soluble Vitamin C!