So ascorbyl palmitate (AP) is one of the attempts of the cosmetic industry to solve the stability issues with vitamin C while preserving its benefits - but unfortunately, this guy is pretty much a failure, hence our icky rating.
So what's the problem?
First, it's stability is only similar to pure ascorbic acid (AA), which means not really stable. A great study in Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology compared a bunch of vitamin C derivatives and this derivative was the only one where the study said in terms of stability that it's "similar to AA". Not really good.
Second, a study that examined skin absorption of vitamin C found that ascorbyl palmitate did not increase the skin levels of AA. This does not mean that ascorbyl palmitate cannot penetrate the skin (because it can, it's oil soluble and skin likes to absorb oil soluble things) but it means that it's questionable if ascorbyl palmitate is converted to pure vit C in the skin. And if it's not really converted, then it cannot do all the magical things pure AA can. Again, not good.
Third, another study that wanted to examine the antioxidant properties of AP was surprised to find that even though AP does have nice antioxidant properties, following UVB radiation (the same one that comes from the sun) it also promotes lipid peroxidation and cytotoxicity. Also not good.
The only good thing we can write about Ascorbyl Palmitate is that there is an in-vitro (made in the lab, not on real people) study showing that it might be able to boost collagen production. And more collagen means fewer wrinkles.
Regarding the skin-brightening properties of pure vitamin C, this is another magic property AP does not have, or at least there is no data, not even in-vitro saying anything about it.
All in all, we have to say that AP seems to be the worst of the vitamin C derivatives. Luckily, there are several other ones that all seem to be better, so click here, look around and choose rather one of them.
- Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 11 (4) – Dec 1, 2012, Stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives
- Dermatologic surgery, 2001 Feb;27(2):137-42., Topical L-ascorbic acid: percutaneous absorption studies.
- Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2002 Nov, Volume 119, Issue 5, Vitamin C Derivative Ascorbyl Palmitate Promotes Ultraviolet-B-Induced Lipid Peroxidation and Cytotoxicity in Keratinocytes