- Categories: Antioxidants
Glyceryl Ascorbate at a Glance
- Made by binding ascorbic acid with hydrating glycerin
- Helps visibly fade discoloration by inhibiting transfer of excess melanin
- Excellent skin penetration and easier to formulate with than ascorbic acid
- Not considered as potent an antioxidant as pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Most effective in a pH between 3–5 and more stable than ascorbic acid
Glyceryl Ascorbate Description
Glyceryl ascorbate is a water-soluble form of vitamin C made by binding ascorbic acid with the humectant glycerin. This compound is considered more stable and offers formulary flexibility because it isn’t beholden to the same narrow pH range for efficacy compared to pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
This form shares many of the same benefits as regular vitamin C, including being an antioxidant, improving skin tone, helping to fade hyperpigmentation and post-breakout marks, and supporting skin’s firmness.
A derivative of glyceryl ascorbate known as 3-O-Laurylglyceryl ascorbate (VC-3LG) has been shown to improve ceramide synthesis in skin which in turn helps strengthen skin’s surface against moisture loss. VC-3LG is also a formidable antioxidant and can help improve skin’s natural antioxidant defenses.
Interestingly, although glyceryl ascorbate and its derivatives are very good antioxidants, they’re considered less potent than ascorbic acid, which is less stable in the presence of light and air. This is likely due to the molecular changes necessary to create vitamin C derivatives. There’s a trade-off between greater stability and reduced antioxidant potential.
Concentration range of glyceryl ascorbate in skin care is between 1–10%; however, there are no studies showing which percentages are needed for results on discolorations, wrinkles, or skin tone improvement. Instead, some studies imply that the concentrations for such benefits are comparable to pure vitamin C.
Glyceryl Ascorbate References
ACS Omega, October 2020, pages 25,467–25,475
JMIR Research Protocols, August 2019, ePublication
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, December 2018, pages 1,209–1,215
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, April 2018, pages 1–22
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2017, pages 49–55
Journal of Dermatological Science, June 2016, pages 189–196
Folia Pharmacologica Japonica, March 2008, pages 160-165
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!