The sodium salt form of skincare superstar, vitamin C. If you do not know what the big deal about vitamin C is, you are missing out, and you have to click here and read all the geeky details about it.
So pure vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid, AA) is really great and all, but its stability is a big challenge for the cosmetic industry. One of the solutions is to create stable derivatives that can absorb into the skin, convert there to AA and do all the magic AA is proven to do (that is being an antioxidant, a collagen booster, and a skin brightener).
SAP (the vit C derivative, not the enterprise software, obvs) is a promising derivative that has great stability up to pH 7. The challenge with it, though, is the skin penetration. Unfortunately, it seems to be limited, or to quote the great article from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology "topically applied ascorbyl phosphate salts are, at very best, poorly absorbed in comparison with AA". Regarding conversion to AA, there seems to be no data about it, so we can neither deny nor confirm it.
We have better news regarding the three magic abilities of vitamin C: there is in-vivo (made on real people) data showing that SAP does have photoprotective (aka antioxidant) properties, though less than pure AA. SAP might also do something regarding collagen boosting: in-vitro (made in the lab) data shows that it works, but less than another vitamin C derivative, called MAP (that seems to be as effective as pure AA). As for skin-brightening, there is a trade publication with in-vivo data showing that SAP can fade brown spots.
Another thing SAP might be able to do is to help with acne. A 2005 study showed in vitro (in test tubes) that 1% SAP has a strong antimicrobial activity on evil acne-causing P. acnes and it also showed in vivo (on real people) that 5% SAP can strongly improve the inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions of acne vulgaris. In fact, the results were comparable or even slightly better than with 5% benzoyl peroxide.
And that is not all regarding SAP and acne. A nice double-blind study from 2009 showed that 5% SAP reduced the inflammatory lesions by 20.14% and 48.82% within 4 and 8 weeks respectively and when combined with 0.2% retinol the results were even better. With the combination treatment, the improvement was 29.28% after 4 weeks and 63.10% after 8 weeks of application.
Apart from research, anecdotal evidence also supports SAP being a promising vitamin C derivative. One of the best selling (vitamin C) serums in Sephora is the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, while on Amazon it's the OzNaturals Vitamin C 20 Serum. Another popular choice is the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum, and all of these contain vitamin C in the form of SAP.
All in all, we think SAP is a goodie. In terms of anti-aging, it's probably not as effective as pure Ascorbic Acid, but it's totally worth a try. However, if your skin is acne-prone, SAP is your form of Vitamin C and it's a must-try.
- Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 11 (4) – Dec 1, 2012, Stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives
- Ruamrak, C., N. Lourith, and S. Natakankitkul. "Comparison of clinical efficacies of sodium ascorbyl phosphate, retinol and their combination in acne treatment." International journal of cosmetic science 31.1 (2009): 41-46.
- Klock, Jochen, et al. "Sodium ascorbyl phosphate shows in vitro and in vivo efficacy in the prevention and treatment of acne vulgaris." International journal of cosmetic science 27.3 (2005): 171-176.