Anhydrous Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Serum

This is an anhydrous ascorbic acid serum that I’ve been working on!

Ascorbic acid is notoriously unstable in the presence of water, it quickly oxidizes into dehydroascorbic acid and according to current research isn’t as well understood as ascorbic acid in producing skin benefits like evening of skin tone, reducing free radicals and reactive oxygen species, and increasing collagen production.

There are many compounds made from ascorbic acid that are designed to keep the antioxidant more stable. However many of these compounds haven’t been shown to act the same way as ascorbic acid or penetrate the skin. As well, enzymes in the skin are required to convert these compounds back into ascorbic acid, and there is little evidence to show that this occurs to a large extent.

By removing water from the formula, ascorbic acid can be stabilized against oxidation and experiments have shown that it can be so stable that it can resist months of exposure to oxygen (the test formulas were bubbled through with oxygen, like a fish tank!).

By removing water, we often create heavier, stickier, and much shinier products. This prototype, while heavy feeling on the finger, applied with a relatively matte and light finish. Hopefully it will stand up to stability testing, but I was so excited that I had to try it on myself immediately!

I’m excited to tweak this into a more elegant and light formula, especially with dramatic results like these!


From Stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives

So far, so good with the prototype – it’s been almost 2 weeks and yet to change colour. The smaller bottle contains unstabilized ascorbic acid in water.