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Ascorbyl Palmitate

Also-called-like-this: Form of Vitamin C
What-it-does: antioxidant
Irritancy: 0
Comedogenicity: 2

Official CosIng Information


A form of skincare superstar, vitamin C. Even though we are massive vitamin C fans,  Ascorbyl Palmitate  (AP) is our least favorite. (Btw, if you do not know what the big deal with vitamin C is then you are missing out. You must go and read our geeky details about it.) 

So, AP is one of the attempts by the cosmetics industry to solve the stability issues with vitamin C while preserving its benefits,  but it seems to fall short on several things.

What's the problem?

Firstly, it's stability is only similar to that of pure ascorbic acid (AA), which means it is not really stable. A great study in the 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 that good.

Second, a study that examined the 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 the skin likes to absorb oil soluble things) but this means that it's questionable if ascorbyl palmitate can be converted into pure Vit C in the skin. Even if it can be converted, the palmitate part of the molecule is more than the half of it, so the efficacy will not be good and we have never seen a serum that contains a decent (and proudly disclosed) amount of AP.  We are highly skeptical what effect a tiny amount of AP has in a formula.

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. It was only an in-vitro study meaning that it was done on cell cultures and not on real people, but still, this also does not support the use of AP too much. 

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.

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, about it.

Overall, Ascorbyl Palmitate is our least favorite vitamin C derivative. It is there in lots of products in tiny amounts (honestly, we do not really understand why), however, we do not know about any vitamin C serum featuring AP in high amounts. That is probably no coincidence. If you are into vitamin C, you can take a look at more promising derivatives here

Show me some proof

  • 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
  • Colin Sanders, A Guide To Cosmetic Ingredients For The Perplexed, Ascorbyl Palmitate

Products with Ascorbyl Palmitate

Altilis Beauty Infloressence Serum Perricone MD Thio:Plex Intensive 2-Step Brightening System [Step 2: Brightening Activator] Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Intensive Brightening Regimen 15% Avant Pro-Intense Hyaluronic Acid Illuminating Day Cream Dr Dennis Gross Sheer Mineral Sun Spray Broad Spectrum Spf 50+ Glysomed Eczema Control JAN MARINI C-Esta Face Serum Marie Veronique Vitamins C, E + Ferulic Serum Truth treatments Omega 6 Healing Cream AVANT SKINCARE Harmonious Rose Quartz Revitalising and Firming Mask Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray Ikarov Shea Butter Intraceuticals Booster Vitamin C+3 Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub REPLENIX Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream Spf medline Remedy Skin Repair Cream Banish Activated Charcoal Clay Masque Bioelements Spf 50 Facescreen Derma E Firming Dmae Toner Garden of Wisdom Alpha Arbutin 2% And Kojic Acid 1% Serum Image Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser Neova Dna Damage Control Everyday Broad Spectrum Spf 44 Osmosis Eye And Lip Treatment Skin Creamery Deep Cleansing Powder Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask Cosme Decorte Aq Botanical Pure Oil Derma E Vitamin C Daily Brightening Cleanser Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Repair Crème Korres Black Pine 3D Sculpting, Firming & Lifting Face Serum Life-flo Triple Advantage, Radiant Skin Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion Pm Pixi +C Vit Glow-Y Powder Rohto Mentholatum Melano CC Intensive Anti Spot Essence Soleil Toujours Organic Set + Protect Micro Mist Spf 30 Soleil Toujours Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist SPF 50 Trader Joe's Nourish Enriched Intensive Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer Alkmene Facial Wash Asarai Power Trip Oil Christian Breton Liftox Anti-Wrinkle Eye Serum Derma E Radiance Brightening Serum Derma E Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Cream Dr Dennis Gross Triple C Firming Peptide Oil ELIXIR COSMECEUTICALS Antioxidant Toning Pads ELLE & EVE Vitamin C Youth Serum Ebanel Vitamin C 20% Serum Erno Laszlo White Marble Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel Luxes Swiss Bright Serum Saffee Saffee advanced Vitamins A. C. E. ampoules Soleil Toujours Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist SPF 30