Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is a stable, oil-soluble form of skincare big shot Vitamin C. If you do not know why Vitamin C is such a big deal in skincare, click here and read all about it. We are massive vitamin C fans and wrote about it in excruciating details.
So now you know that Vitamin C is great and all but it's really unstable and gives a lot of headache to cosmetic companies. To solve the problem they come up with vitamin C derivatives, and one of them is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (let's call it ATIP in short).
It's a really promising candidate (see below), but while reading all the goodness about it in a minute, do not forget that derivatives not only have to absorb into the skin but also have to be converted to pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid or AA) and the efficacy of the conversion is often not known. Also, vitamin C's three magic properties (antioxidant, collagen booster, skin brightener) are all properly proven in-vivo (on real people), but for the derivatives, it's mostly in-vitro studies or in the case of ATIP, it's in-vitro and done by an ingredient supplier.
With this right context in mind let's see what ATIP might be able to do: First, it is stable (if pH < 5), easy to formulate and a joy to work with for the cosmetic chemist.
Second, because it's oil-soluble, its skin penetration abilities seem to be great. So great in fact, that it surpasses the penetration of pure vitamin C by threefold at the same concentration and it penetrates successfully into the deeper layers of the skin (that is usually important to do some anti-aging job). There is also in-vitro data showing that it converts to AA in the skin.
Third, ATIP seems to have all three magic abilities of pure vitamin C: it gives antioxidant protection from both UVB and UVA rays, it increases collagen synthesis (even more than AA) and it also has skin brightening effect by reducing melanogenesis by more than 80% in human melanoma cell cultures.
So this all sounds really great, but these are only in-vitro results at this point. We could find Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate mentioned only in one published in-vivo study that examined the anti-aging properties of a silicone formula containing 10% AA and 7% ATIP. The authors theorized that the 10% AA is released slowly from the silicon delivery system and probably stays in the upper layer of the skin to give antioxidant benefit, while ATIP penetrates more rapidly and deeply and gives some wrinkle-reducing benefits. The study was small (10 patients), but double blind, and the formula did give some measurable anti-aging results. However, it is hard to know how much the results can be thanked to pure vitamin C or to ATIP.
Bottom line: a really promising, but not well-proven vitamin C derivative that can be worth a try especially if you like experimenting (but if you like the tried and true, pure vitamin C will be your thing).
- Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 11 (4) – Dec 1, 2012, Stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives
- Dermatologic Surgery, Mar 1, 2002, Double‐Blind, Half‐Face Study Comparing Topical Vitamin C and Vehicle for Rejuvenation of Photodamage
- Barnet Products Corp, Stable forms of Vitamin C, Technical Bulletin, 2001