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Ascorbyl Palmitate

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


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 Biogena TAE-X Acnis Gelcrema SPF 30 Cantabria Labs Biretix Gel Ultra Purifying Glycolix Elite Sunscreen SPF 30 JAN MARINI C-esta Eye Repair Concentrate JAN MARINI C-esta Face Cream Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face & Body SPF30 Physical Zinc Sunscreen Perricone MD Thio:Plex Intensive 2-Step Brightening System [Step 2: Brightening Activator] Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Intensive Brightening Regimen 15% SAIE Glowy Super Skin Lightweight Hydrobounce Serum Foundation Sanitas Skincare Topical C Tindigo Revived & Radiant Vitamin C Derivates & Peptid Eye Serum Anete Spike Spike Lip Gloss/Oil Anne moller Aqua Non Stop SPF50+ Avant Pro-Intense Hyaluronic Acid Illuminating Day Cream Carol's Daughter Almond Milk Leave-In Conditioner ClarityRX Ultra Skin Defense Sheer Physical Sunscreen SPF 50+ Dr Dennis Gross Sheer Mineral Sun Spray Broad Spectrum Spf 50+ Eladerm Ser Cu Vitamina C Esse Protect Oil Formula Dra Norma Bustos Gotas Antioxidantes Con Vitamina C Glysomed Eczema Control JAN MARINI C-Esta Face Serum La vie en rose Mon Elixir Serum Life Choice Dmae Restorative Cream Marie Veronique Vitamins C, E + Ferulic Serum Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF30 Physical Zinc Sunscreen Stick Mon Chéri Esssentials Acne Balm Quintal Máscara De Argila Branca Clareadora Truth treatments Omega 6 Healing Cream Zo Skin Health Zein Obagi Pigment Control + Brightening Crème 4% Hq - Rx earthen alchemy Soleil Vitamin C & Co-Q10 Day Cream AVANT SKINCARE Harmonious Rose Quartz Revitalising and Firming Mask Beaute Mediterranea High Tech Hyaluronic Acid Shampoo Beekman 1802 Pure Goat Milk Cuticle Serum Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray Dermocracy Triple Vitamin Radiance Serum 30% DocSkin Hydrator Lip Balm Earth Rhythm Lip Masque Beetroot Extract Pomegranate Flower Earth Rhythm Organic Lip Butter FarmHouse Fresh Stunning Dawn Hadabirei Triple C White Essence Lotion Ikarov Shea Butter Intraceuticals Booster Vitamin C+3 MBK Clinical Skincare Solutions Ferulic+ Serum Optaderm Absolute C Facial Gel Serum Ouidad Bye-bye Breakage Strengthening + Thickening Scalp Serum Oyess Lippenpflege Sensitive REPLENIX Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream Spf Skin Deep Vit C Jelly Cleanser