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Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Also-called-like-this: Form of Vitamin C, SAP
What-it-does: antioxidant, anti-acne


The sodium salt form of skincare superstar, vitamin C. If you do not know what the big fuss about vitamin C is, you are missing out and you have to click here and read all the geeky details about it.

Pure vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid, AA) is great and all, but its lack of stability is a big challenge for the cosmetics industry. One solution is to create stable derivatives that can be absorbed into the skin, convert there to AA and do all the magic AA is proven to do (which 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 skin penetration. Unfortunately, it seems to be limited, or to quote a 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 (tested on real people) data showing that SAP does have photo-protective (aka antioxidant) properties, though less than pure AA. SAP might also aid collagen boosting; in-vitro (made in the lab) data shows that it works, but is less effective 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 there is even more 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 this combination treatment, the improvement was 29.28% after 4 weeks and 63.10% after 8 weeks of application. 

Aside from research studies, 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. 

Overall, we think SAP is a goody!  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.

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
  • 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.
  • Woolery‐Lloyd, Heather, Leslie Baumann, and Hiroshi Ikeno. "Sodium L‐ascorbyl‐2‐phosphate 5% lotion for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a randomized, double‐blind, controlled trial." Journal of cosmetic dermatology 9.1 (2010): 22-27.

Products with a known amount of Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Other products with Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Organic traveller Vitamin C Serum Organix Mantra Vitamin C Serum Pharmahealth Dermoteen Whitening Cream The Glow Factor C Bright Oil 1STLY Skincare Vitamin C Power Serum Acne solution Dermaceutics Clear Skin Post Acne Scar Cream Activist Skincare Active Hydration Serum All Natural Advice Vitamine C Serum All Nature Advice Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serum Anadia Sérum Concentrado Antioxidante De Vitamina C Arte dos Aromas Sérum Antiox C10 Vit C 10% Artnaturals Luxe Vitamin C Serum Aspect Dr Problem Skin Serum BALANCE active formula 12% Vitamin C Supershot Babé Laboratorios Vitamin C+ Ampoules Be Minimalist Vitamin C 20% (SAP) + Ferulic Acid Beaut Sunny Skin Beauty Glam Vitamin C Serum Beauty Pie Superdose Vitamin C Freeze Dried Ampoules Beauty Pie Superdose™ C C- Suite Rapid Action Power Brightener Beauté Pacifique Tyrostase Brown Pigment Equalizer Biobellus Suero Facial Iluminador Bioelements Vc10 Daily Glow Bioniva Vitamin C Serum Brickell Men's Products Repairing Night Serum For Men Bubble Day Dream Canova Resurface C15 Serum Caviahue Serum C Cetaphil Antioxidant-c Serum Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Antioxidant Serum Chikyu Advanced Vita-C Skin Recovery Serum Cipher C-Shield Antioxidant Serum Cipher C-shield Consonant Vitamin C + Licorice Serum Cosmedica Skincare Vitamin C Facial Cleanser DERMOFUTURE PRECISION Intensywnie Regenerująca Kuracja Z Witaminą C DermDoc Sunscreen Spf 50 Vit C Dermaglós Serum Vitamina C Dr David Jack Vitamin C Serum Dr Sandi Bio Active Vitamin C Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream Dr Sebagh Supreme Maintenance Youth Serum Dr Skin Clinic Booster-Brighten Vitamin C 15% Eight Saints Seeking C Serum Elyn’s Lab Pigment C-Control Envygreen Intensif Vitamin C Serum Ericson Laboratoire Vit C Pure Complex FLORENCE ORGANICS C Facial Serum Faceme 20% Vitamin C Serum Fleur & Bee Natural Vitamin C Serum - Nectar Of The C