Fine Lines & Wrinkles, Pigmentation, Skin Care Ingredients, Skin Concern, Textured & Rough Skin, Vitamins For The Skin

Vitamin C In Skin Care Products

Scurvy Of The Skin?

Yes you are right there is no such thing as scurvy of the skin but we do need to consider adding Vitamin C to our skin care regimes for a number of reasons. Let’s see why:

Firstly there is a lot of info and research that demonstrates the benefits of vitamin C in topical applications and skin care products for our skin.

As a result I have decided to go on a personal crusade with my own skin so I thought it was time I tried it out. My product of choice is the Exuviance Booster Powder. Keep posted for my reviews on this product and its effects on my own skin. Next I will move on to the Obagi Pro C Serums (10%, 15% & 20%)

Let’s have a look at what the research has revealed in the form of benefits, expected results, and specific treatment indications.


True Vitamin C Facts: 



  1. Cannot be manufactured by our own bodies so it is essential that we replenish levels in our diet and yes you guessed it in our skin care products.
  2. Has a short activity period so we do need to add it in our diets every day.
  3. is an antioxidant so it gets rid of free radicle (and the damage they cause to our cells)
  4. Is vital for:
    1. Building connective tissue such as collagen
    2. Wound healing
    3. Metabolizes folic acid and hormones in our bodies
    4. Has been shown to reduce pigmentation, age spots and blemishes: very simply it reduces melanin production – see Melanin and Pigmentation Explained
  5. Helps and aids Vitamin E function in our bodies
  6. In cleansers is a natural and gentle exfoliator – see How To Exfoliate Your Skin
  7. Has been shown to increase ceramide production in our skins: see Ceramides & Their Importance in Skin Health

So in a nutshell Vitamin C is an essential and important antioxidant that you should incorporate into your skin care routine.

There are many types of Vitamin C:

  • Ascorbic Acid (L-Ascorbic Acid)
  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THDA)
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
  • Others:
    • Ascorbyl Palmitate
    • Sodium Ascorbate
    • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
    • Ascorbyl Glucoside
    • Ascorbyl Glucosamine
    • Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate

Let’s Have a Closer Look at Some of Them

Ascorbic Acid

Important Precautions:

  1. The most irritating and least stable form of Vitamin C (it will remain stable for about 6 months)
  2. It oxidizes extremely fast generating free radicals
  3. Must be stabilized to have an effect on the skin
  4. Pure Ascorbic Acid can be irritating on the skin so be wary if you have very sensitive skin

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (abbreviated THDA or THD Ascorbate).

  • An oil-soluble form of Vitamin C that can penetrate the lipid bilayer of the skin allowing deeper penetration and better effect
  • Retained in the epidermis and dermis forming a reservoir of Vitamin C in your skin
  • It has a is much greater antioxidant action than Ascorbic Acid (80 times longer) because it works slower as a free radical scavenger
  • It also has a much longer stability

Magnesium Ascorbyl Palmitate (MAP):

  • Less irritating than ascorbic acid so also good for sensitive skin types
  • Also more stable than ascorbic acid

Both THDA and MAP are more expensive than other forms so they tend not to be commonly used in retail products or OTC products but are used widely in professional or doctor prescribed skin care brands.

Dr Alek Nikolic’s Vitamin C Recommendations

Products with Ascorbic Acid:

Products with Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (THDA):

Products with Magnesium Ascorbyl Palmitate:


  1. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016 Apr 1;15(4):476-82. An Open Label Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy and Tolerance of a Retinol and Vitamin C Facial Regimen in Women With Mild-to-Moderate Hyperpigmentation and Photodamaged Facial Skin. Herndon JH, Jiang LI, Kononov T, Fox T.
  1. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014 Mar;27(2):233-7. The effect of Centella asiatica, vitamins, glycolic acid and their mixtures preparations in stimulating collagen and fibronectin synthesis in cultured human skin fibroblast.
  2. This article was sourced from Just About Skin written by Rita Lee. She has an impressive blog and gives accurate information on skin and skin care products and regimes. I highly recommend her blog for in depth education on skin care ingredients.


About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 24 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively and has performed live demonstrations throughout South Africa and Internationally including Bangkok, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, and Warsaw. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care, skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, Botox, and Dermal Fillers. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is Vice President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) and is an Associate Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

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4 thoughts on “Vitamin C In Skin Care Products

  1. Lynn says:

    Such great and practical advice. Thank you so much !!

    1. Dr Alek Nikolic says:

      Thanks Lynn we appreciate the feedback. Glad you liked it. Kind regards Dr Alek Nikolic

  2. Hunter says:

    I have done a bit of research on vitamin c and this article is well written so thanks Dr Alek. I will add it to my skin regime

  3. Steph says:

    Loved the article

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