Ascorbyl Palmitate

Also-called-like-this: Form of Vitamin C
What-it-does: antioxidant


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

Perricone MD Thio:Plex Intensive 2-Step Brightening System [Step 2: Brightening Activator] Dr Dennis Gross Sheer Mineral Sun Spray Broad Spectrum Spf 50+ Intraceuticals Booster Vitamin C+3 Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion Pm Derma E Firming Dmae Toner Rohto Mentholatum Melano Cc Intensive Anti Spot Essence Trader Joe's Nourish Enriched Intensive Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer Christian Breton Liftox Anti-Wrinkle Eye Serum Dr Dennis Gross Triple C Firming Peptide Oil ELLE & EVE Vitamin C Youth Serum Erno Laszlo White Marble Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser Yes to Carrots Vitamin-Enriched Kale Diy Powder-To-Clay Mask Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector Derma E Ester C Cleanser Omorovicza Mineral Touch African Botanics Baobab Clay Oxygenating Cleanser EltaMD Uv Pure Broad-Sprectrum Sunscreen Spf 47 Mary Kay Timewise Night Solution Derma E Hydrating Eye Crème With Hyaluronic Acid And Pycnogenol Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder Spf 45 oskia Renaissance Brightlight Serum Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Daily Vitamin C Defense Serum Derma E Hydrating Night Cream Found Brightening Camu Camu Gel Cleanser Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner Stila Illuminating Liquid Foundation Tony moly Easy Touch Auto Eyebrow Trader Joe's Nourish All In One Facial Cleanser First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser NYX Slide On Pencil Eyeliner Neal's Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Spf 30 Renee Rouleau Skin Drink Concentrate Sebamed Duschöl Murad Essential-C Cleanser Perricone MD Thio:Plex Intensive 2-Step Brightening System [Step 1: Intensive Base] Philosophy Help Me By Terry Liftessence Oil Elixir Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream EltaMD Am Therapy Facial Moisturizer Erno Laszlo Hydra Therapy Cleansing Oil Makeup Artist's Choice Rosehips Hibiscus Scar Cream NudeStix Lip And Cheek Pencil Ole Henriksen Fresh Start Eye Cream Rodan and fields Active Hydration Serum Rodan and fields Reverse Skin Lightening Treatment Soltan Kids Stick Spf50+ 25G iS Clinical Cleansing Complex sCOSMETICS Anti Wrinkle Ceramides And Hyaluronic Face Cream