Posts Tagged ‘testing’

Which kind of vitamin C is best for skin? The Beauty Brains Show episode 31

May 20th, 2014

Celebrity Makeup News and Blogs:

What’s the best kind of vitamin C for skin? Plus: Randy and I talk about the experimental MINK makeup printer.

Click below to play Episode 31 or click “download” to save the MP3 file to your computer.

Show notes

Beauty Science News

3D printing comes to cosmetics! This week we discuss the pros and cons of the new MINK makeup printer.

Question of the week: What kind of vitamin C works best on skin?

Illdiko (from Hungary) asks..I really love vitamin C serums, but I would like to use them properly. Do vitamin C products really need a special low pH? And what about their derivates, like Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and others? Which vitamin C ingredient is the best?”

What’s the deal with Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a chemical called ascorbic acid that is naturally occurring in skin. It is known to play a role in collagen production. In addition, when topically applied it is thought to help heal acne, increase the barrier function of skin to decrease moisture loss, protect from UV radiation, and prevent age spots.

Sounds too good to be true, huh? Well there is a downside – it’s difficult to deliver VC to skin in a form that is stable, effective and non-irritating.

There are something like 7 or 8 different forms of VC that are used in cosmetics and there’s a LOT of noise out there about how the different versions work, how much to use, what kind of formula is required to deliver the ingredient, and so forth.

So, today, we’re going to try to get to the bottom of that mess by reviewing the best scientific data available on each ingredient. And we’ll do that using the three Kligman questions format that we’ve used before. Randy, want to describe that again for our readers?

How to prove an anti-aging ingredient works – the Kligman questions

1. Based on the chemistry of the ingredient, is there any scientific mechanism that could explain why it would work?
2. Does it penetrate to the part of the skin where it needs to be in order to work?
3. Are there peer reviewed, double blind, placebo controlled studies demonstrating the ingredient really works when applied to real people?

Our assessment is based primarily on a paper which reviews the technical literature on Vitamin C through 2012: “Stability, transdermal penetration and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives” from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2012.

Let’s start by discussion the mechanism. Remember the active form is ascorbic acid so all the derivatives must be converted to ascorbic acid on the skin.

Is there a mechanism that explains how Vitamin C works?

Remember that unlike many other anti aging ingredients, Vitamin C is naturally found in skin (mostly in the epidermis, some in the dermis) and it’s role in skin biology is well documented. For example…

Protecting from UV damage
Although VC is NOT a sunscreen but it protects skin from the free radicals that are caused by UV exposure. It’s been shown to reduce lipid peroxidation, limit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, protect against apoptosis (or cell death) and to reduce redox-sensitive cell signaling. All this means that VC reduces many of the nasty effects of sun exposure.

Increasing collagen to reduce wrinkles
As you know collagen collapse is a major cause of wrinkles. Vitamin C regulates the synthesis of collagen and it does this by hydroxylating collagen which makes it more stable and improves the way it supports the epidermis.

Reducing skin pigmentation
VC not only reduces melanin production but it also reduces oxidation of the melanin that is produced. It’s also thought to reverse the conversion of DOPA to o-DOPA quinone (which is a skin pigment).

So, as you can see, the effects of VC in the skin are well understood. Now let’s look at the other properties of each ingredient and what kind of data is available to prove that they work.

Ascorbic Acid (AA)

Is it Stable? Stable at pH less than 3.5 in aqueous solution and it’s stable in anhydrous systems

Does it penetrate? Ex vivo testing proves it penetrates as a solution or micro particles

Does it convert to Ascorbic Acid? No conversion required.

Protects from UV damage: Yes, human in vivo testing.

Increases collagen synthesis: Yes, human in vivo testing.

Reduces skin pigmentation: Yes, human in vivo testing.

So this ingredient is the gold standard for Vitamin C. However because it’s often used at very low pH it can be harsh to skin which has lead to the development of other versions of AA. For example….

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP)

Is it Stable? Stable at pH 7

Does it penetrate? There is limited ex vivo animal testing which shows it penetrates.

Does it convert to Ascorbic Acid? There is no data showing it converts to AA.

Protects from UV damage: Yes, human in vivo testing shows is protects but less effective than AA.

Increases collagen synthesis: Yes, in vitro testing only and it’s less effective than MAP.

Reduces skin pigmentation: Yes, human in vivo testing (but from trade journal only so the data may be less robust.)

Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)

Is it Stable?  Stable at pH 7

Does it penetrate? Yes it penetrates, but data is limited to ex vivo animal testing.

Does it convert to Ascorbic Acid? In vitro testing indicates it converts to AA.

Protects from UV damage: No data.

Increases collagen synthesis: Yes but only in vitro testing. Apparently equally as effective as AA.

Reduces skin pigmentation: Yes, human in vivo testing.

Ascorbyl Palmitate (AA-PAL)

Is it Stable? Same stability issues as AA (requires low pH or anhydrous system.)

Does it penetrate? In vivo animal testing shows it penetrates but it’s very dependent upon the formula.

Does it converts to Ascorbic Acid?  No data showing that it converts.

Protects from UV damage: Yes, animal in vivo testing shows it protects from UV.

Increases collagen synthesis: Yes, but in vitro testing only.

Reduces skin pigmentation: No data showing that it works.

Ascorbyl Tetra-Isopalmitate (VC-IP)

Is it Stable? It’s stable at pH less than 5.

Does it penetrate? According to a trade publication, human ex vivo testing shows it penetrates better than MAP.

Does it converts to Ascorbic Acid? In vitro testing shows it converts to AA.

Protects from UV damage: Yes but in vitro data only.

Increases collagen synthesis: Yes but in vitro data only.

Reduces skin pigmentation: Yes, human in vivo testing (according to trade journal.)

Ascorbyl Glucoside (AA-2G)

Is it Stable? Yes, stable at a range of pH.

Does it penetrate? In vitro testing shows it penetrates.

Does it converts to Ascorbic Acid? In vitro testing shows it converts to AA.

Protects from UV damage: Yes, human in vivo testing shows it protects but it’s less effective than SAP.

Increases collagen synthesis: Yes but in vitro data only.

Reduces skin pigmentation: In vitro testing shows it diminishes dark spots. 

Ascorbyl 2-Phosphate 6-Palmitate (APPS)

Is it Stable? Stable at pH 7

Does it penetrate? In vivo animal data shows it penetrates.

Does it converts to Ascorbic Acid? In vitro data shows it converts to AA.

Protects from UV damage: No data.

Increases collagen synthesis: No data.

Reduces skin pigmentation: Yes, human in vivo data shows it diminishes dark spots.

3-O-Ethyl Ascorbate (EAC)

Is it Stable? No published data on stability.

Does it penetrate? Ex vivo animal testing shows it penetrates better than AA-2G.

Does it converts to Ascorbic Acid? No published data showing it converts to AA.

Protects from UV damage: No data.

Increases collagen synthesis: No data.  

Reduces skin pigmentation: Human in vivo data shows it works against dark spots.

Tip #1 for finding the best product: Ask for Ascorbic Acid

This much is clear: of all the Vitamin C derivatives, Ascorbic Acid has the best data to prove that it really works for all three main functions. So, if possible, why wouldn’t you use AA?

That doesn’t mean that ANY product with AA on the label will be best. There are other factors at play…Which brings us to tip #2…

Tip #2 for finding the best product: Concentrate on the concentration

So how much AA should a product contain?

According to the Pauling Inst. the maximum skin absorption occurs at 20%. Higher concentrations actually have less absorption. Which is good since high concentrations are also more irritating.

Should you go lower? Paula Begon says that a proven range for vitamin C effectiveness is generally between 0.3% and 10%. 0.3 is a LONG way from the maximum absorption of 20% so that seems low.

If you can stand the irritation, 10% or even 15% should give better absorption.

Tip #3 for finding the best product: Watch out for water

AA can begin to oxide (which causes it to be used up) as soon as it’s dissolved in water. Look for products where water is NOT one of the first ingredients. That gives you a better chance of finding a product that will really work. That means looks for serums instead of cream based products.

Also, if water is present, look for products that use stabilizing agents – Paula’s Choice is good for this.

Tip #4 for finding the best product: Look for low pH

As we noted, AA is unstable above 3.5 or so. Look for low pH products. Of course pH is only meaningful if water is present so it’s less of an issue in the kinds of water free formulas we just discussed.

Tip #5 for finding the best product: Purchase proper packaging

Any Vitamin C ingredient must be properly packaged to protect it from excess light and air.

Look for pump packaging (or individually sealed single use capsules) to protect from air. I would even avoid products in plastic tubes unless you know they’re used some kind of laminate to act as a barrier to oxygen transmission.

Avoid clear packages to protect from light. If it’s a glass jar make it dark.

Bonus tips:

Watch out for irritation

As we said, AA can cause redness and stinging. Be prepared to switch to another type if irritation is to great. The alternative may be less effective but you’ll be likely to use it more often if it’s gentle to your skin.

Don’t rush it!

After applying a VC product you should wait a while before applying any other products.

That’s because other ingredients can trigger oxidation and if they’re applied on top of the AA before it can be absorbed into your skin it could become inactive.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

So based on the data we’ve seen, ascorbic acid is the best version of  Vitamin C to use in an anti-aging product.

But, just having ascorbic acid on the ingredient list doesn’t make a product “the best.” A well formulated product based on other derivatives could be better than a poorly formulated product based on ascorbic acid.

You need to keep in mind that the efficacy of any vitamin C based product depends on not only the type of Vitamin C, but also the concentration, the other ingredients in the formula and the packaging.

But following our 5 tips should help you pick a product that’s more likely to work at a price you can afford.

LIL buy it now button

Buy your copy of It’s OK to Have Lead in Your Lipstick to learn more about:

  • Clever lies that the beauty companies tell you.
  • The straight scoop of which beauty myths are true and which are just urban legends.
  • Which ingredients are really scary and which ones are just scaremongering by the media to incite an irrational fear of chemicals.
  • How to tell the difference between the products that are really green and the ones that are just trying to get more of your hard earned money by labeling them “natural” or “organic.

Click here for all the The Beauty Brains podcasts.


Go to Source

Please note that this article is not written by

Do I Have to Kill Animals to be a Cosmetic Chemist?

July 1st, 2012

Celebrity Makeup News and Blogs:

Post image for Do I Have to Kill Animals to be a Cosmetic Chemist?

Britty says…I’m very interested in makeup and I’m a chemistry major so naturally, I’m interested in being a cosmetic chemist but I’m absolutely NOT okay with animal testing. I’m not a vegan but I am a vegetarian and a STRONG supporter of animal rights. I realize this may be a little hypocritical since I USE products that I’m assuming have been tested on animals but I want nothing to do with the actual testing. I don’t want to be the one to test on animals, or be around people testing on animals or even have to pass a room where I know animal testing is going on inside. I also don’t want to meet people whose job it is to test on animals. I realize that some brands don’t test on animals but what are the chances of working for one of those brands? Do I have any other options? Or should I just choose a different career? Thanks!

The Right Brain responds:

The companies that the Beauty Brains have worked for haven’t done animal testing in years, and they’re fairly typical of the industry at large. These days very few  cosmetic brands actually test on animals. Don’t believe us? Alchemist (one of our Forum members) has had similar career experience: “Until recently I worked for a big international manufacturer (in regulatory affairs), in my 11 years there I never saw any animal testing done on cosmetic products, and company policy was that it was not done.”

Also, you have to understand that even when cosmetic companies DO test on animals, they don’t do the testing themselves. They outsource it to companies that specialize in that kind of work. (You certainly don’t want to work for one of THOSE companies.)  So, the chances of you running into an animal tester in the hallway is slim to none.

However the catch, if there is a catch, is the fact that these companies all use ingredients that may have been tested on animals at some time in the past.
Image credit:

Go to Source

Please note that this article is not written by

My Make Up Collection – Going Cruelty Free

August 27th, 2010 for more info on UK. Here’s my make up collection, split in to three categories, those companies who don’t test on animals, those I don’t know about or they haven’t replied to my query, and those who do test on animals and should be boycotted! I’ve been using the PETA and BUAV lists which list good companies as ones that do not test their products and ingredients on animals. There’s a big difference between that and just their products! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT and HELPFUL COMMENTS. I’M DEFINITELY NOT AN EXPERT IN THIS AREA, MERELY INTERESTED AND WANT TO FIND OUT THE RIGHT INFORMATION. I REALLY APPRECIATE IT (SO DOES HARVEY!) **UPDATE*** The Beauty Factories cosmetics 120 pro eyeshadow pallette is tested on animals. Revlon have recently been added to my “good” list. Rimmel wrote to me saying that they do not test their products on animals – but some of the ingredients may be tested on animals… so it’s still on my naughty list! Rimmel is part of the Coty group who make most of the “celebrity” perfumes like Kylie’s. BOOTS also doesn’t test their own make up (No 7, natural collection, No 17) on animals, although their packaging gives no information. GOSH COSMETICS also wrote to me, they do not test on animals either. Elizabeth Arden telephoned me to tell me that they do not test their products or ingredients on animals. WHY DO THESE COMPANIES NOT PUT THIS INFO ON THEIR WEBSITES???? WE NEED TO KNOW! Thank you to everyone who has left a comment

Lady GaGa Inspired Look – Barry M Make Up Tutorial

September 5th, 2009

Lady GaGa Inspired Look Dazzle Dust Neon Pink (DD85) Kohl Pencil Dark Brown (KP2) Kohl Pencil Dark Brown (KP1) Shop Online now