Ascorbyl Palmitate Antioxidants: Properties You Need to Know



In the realm of skincare, the quest for effective antioxidants to combat the signs of aging and promote skin health is ever-evolving. Among these, ascorbyl palmitate stands out as a powerful derivative of vitamin C, renowned for its unique properties and potential benefits for the skin. Understanding the key properties of ascorbyl palmitate is essential for those seeking to harness its antioxidant prowess in their skincare routines.


What Is Ascorbyl Palmitate?

Ascorbyl palmitate is a stable, oil-soluble form of vitamin C that is made by combining ascorbic acid with a fatty acid known as palmitic acid. It’s also known as ascorbyl-6 palmitate, and it is effective up to a pH of 6. Pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) requires a pH of 3.5 or lower to work, making ascorbyl palmitate easier to formulate with.

Although ascorbyl palmitate has antioxidant benefit for skin, research has shown it doesn’t penetrate as well as pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and that its conversion to vitamin C isn’t as efficient as other forms (such as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate). This helps explain why ascorbyl palmitate isn’t the leading form of vitamin C in products meant to address lack of firmness, wrinkles, and discolourations. Research has shown that a modified form of this ingredient, known as trisodium ascorbyl-6 palmitate 2-phosphate overcomes this conversion issue.

The palmitate portion of this ingredient lends it hydrating properties many other forms of vitamin C do not have.

Interestingly, although ascorbyl palmitate is considered a stable form of vitamin C, research has shown other forms possess greater stability and skin can more freely convert those forms to ascorbic acid. However, a comparative study showed that ascorbyl palmitate maintains adequate stability in different types of emulsions when it is encapsulated.

Ascorbyl palmitate is often used in skin care at amounts between 0.1-1% where its antioxidant ability helps stabilise more delicate ingredients, including pure vitamin C; however, it’s not impervious to breaking down with ongoing exposure to heat and oxygen, as data from multiple ingredient suppliers attests.


The Importance of Antioxidants in Skin Care

Antioxidants play a crucial role in skincare by helping protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can be generated by factors such as UV radiation, pollution, and smoking. These molecules can damage skin cells, leading to premature aging and various skin issues.


Ascorbyl Palmitate: A Powerful Antioxidant

Ascorbyl palmitate is a powerful antioxidant that belongs to the vitamin C family. Also known as vitamin C ester, it is a fat-soluble form of ascorbic acid, the water-soluble vitamin C. Ascorbyl palmitate is commonly used in skincare products due to its stability and ability to penetrate the skin effectively.


Ascorbyl Palmitate Properties

Ascorbyl palmitate is a derivative of vitamin C, specifically ascorbic acid, and is often used in skincare products for its stability and lipid solubility. Here are some key properties of ascorbyl palmitate:

Chemical Structure: Ascorbyl palmitate is an ester formed by combining ascorbic acid (vitamin C) with palmitic acid. This chemical structure gives it unique properties compared to other forms of vitamin C.

Stability: One of the significant advantages of ascorbyl palmitate is its stability. Unlike pure ascorbic acid, which can be sensitive to light and air, ascorbyl palmitate is more resistant to oxidation. This stability contributes to a longer shelf life for skincare products containing this ingredient.

Lipid Solubility: Ascorbyl palmitate is lipophilic, meaning it is soluble in lipids (fats). This property allows it to penetrate the lipid-rich outer layers of the skin more easily than water-soluble forms of vitamin C. The ability to access both lipid and aqueous environments in the skin enhances its overall effectiveness.

Penetration into the Skin: Due to its lipid solubility, ascorbyl palmitate can penetrate the skin more efficiently. This enables the antioxidant properties of vitamin C to reach a broader range of skin cells, providing protection against oxidative stress.

Antioxidant Activity: Like other forms of vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate is an antioxidant. It helps neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage skin cells and contribute to premature aging. The antioxidant activity of ascorbyl palmitate supports overall skin health.

Collagen Synthesis: Ascorbyl palmitate has been associated with promoting collagen synthesis. Collagen is a crucial protein that provides structural support to the skin, helping maintain its firmness and elasticity.

Brightening Effect: Ascorbyl palmitate contributes to a brighter complexion by reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It helps inhibit melanin production, leading to a more even skin tone.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Some studies suggest that ascorbyl palmitate may have anti-inflammatory effects, making it beneficial for individuals with inflammatory skin conditions.

Compatibility with Other Ingredients: Ascorbyl palmitate can be combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E, to create a synergistic effect. This combination enhances the overall antioxidant protection provided in skincare formulations.


Skin Care Benefits

Antioxidant Protection: Ascorbyl palmitate is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can lead to premature aging and skin issues.

Stability: Unlike pure ascorbic acid (vitamin C), ascorbyl palmitate is more stable and less prone to oxidation. This stability ensures a longer shelf life for skincare products containing this ingredient.

Lipid Solubility: Ascorbyl palmitate is lipid-soluble, allowing it to penetrate the skin's lipid-rich layers more effectively. This enables the antioxidant properties of vitamin C to reach a broader range of skin cells.

Collagen Synthesis: It has been associated with promoting collagen synthesis, contributing to the maintenance of skin elasticity and firmness. Collagen is a vital protein that provides structural support to the skin.

Brightening Effect: Ascorbyl palmitate helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, contributing to a brighter and more even skin tone.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Some studies suggest that ascorbyl palmitate may have anti-inflammatory effects, making it beneficial for individuals with sensitive or irritated skin conditions.

Combination with Other Ingredients: Ascorbyl palmitate can be combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E, to enhance overall antioxidant protection. This combination creates a synergistic effect in skincare formulations.

Moisturization: While not a primary moisturizing ingredient, ascorbyl palmitate can contribute to overall skin health, including hydration.


Application and Use

Cleanse: Begin your skincare routine with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, makeup, and impurities from your skin.

Tone (optional): If you use a toner in your routine, apply it to balance the skin's pH and prepare it for subsequent products.

Serum Application: Ascorbyl palmitate is often found in serums due to its stability. Apply a small amount of the serum containing ascorbyl palmitate to your face, neck, and décolleté. Gently massage or pat the serum into the skin, allowing it to be absorbed.

Follow with Other Actives: If you use other active ingredients, apply them according to the recommended order of application based on the specific products you're using.

Moisturize: Apply a moisturizer to lock in hydration and support the skin's barrier function.

Sunscreen (Morning Routine): If used in the morning, finish your routine with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen is crucial to protect the skin from UV damage, and it complements the antioxidant properties of ascorbyl palmitate.

Nighttime Routine (If Applicable): If you use ascorbyl palmitate in the evening, apply it before heavier creams or treatments. Nighttime is a suitable period for the skin to repair itself.

Consistency: For optimal results, use products containing ascorbyl palmitate consistently. Regular use is key to experiencing the full benefits.

Patch Test: Before incorporating new products with ascorbyl palmitate, perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions.

Product Selection: Ascorbyl palmitate may be present in various skincare formulations, including creams, lotions, and serums. Choose products that align with your skin type and specific concerns.

Adjust Usage: Monitor your skin's response and adjust the frequency of use based on your skin's tolerance. If you experience any irritation or discomfort, discontinue use and seek professional advice.


Potential Disadvantages and Caveats

Stability Issues in Some Formulations: Although ascorbyl palmitate is more stable than pure ascorbic acid, it may still be sensitive to certain formulation conditions. In some formulations, exposure to light, air, or high temperatures could impact its stability, potentially reducing its effectiveness over time.

Not as Potent as Pure Vitamin C: Ascorbyl palmitate is a derivative of vitamin C, and some argue that it may not be as potent as pure ascorbic acid in terms of antioxidant activity. While it still offers benefits, individuals seeking the maximum potency of vitamin C may prefer formulations with other vitamin C derivatives or the pure form.

Limited Research Compared to Ascorbic Acid: Ascorbyl palmitate has been less extensively researched than pure ascorbic acid in terms of its effectiveness for various skincare concerns. While some studies support its benefits, more research is needed to fully understand its capabilities.

Potential Allergic Reactions: As with any skincare ingredient, there is a possibility of individual sensitivity or allergic reactions. It's essential to perform a patch test before using products containing ascorbyl palmitate, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Not Suitable for Everyone: While generally safe for most skin types, not all individuals may tolerate ascorbyl palmitate well. Those with highly sensitive or reactive skin should exercise caution and consult with a dermatologist before incorporating it into their routine.

May Require Higher Concentrations: Some formulations may need higher concentrations of ascorbyl palmitate to achieve the same efficacy as lower concentrations of pure ascorbic acid. This could impact the overall formulation and cost of the skincare product.

Interaction with Certain Ingredients: Ascorbyl palmitate may not be compatible with certain ingredients or formulations. For example, it may not work well with ingredients that alter the pH of a product.

Limited Penetration into the Skin: While being lipid-soluble helps ascorbyl palmitate penetrate the lipid-rich outer layers of the skin, it may not penetrate as effectively as water-soluble forms of vitamin C. This could limit its ability to reach deeper skin layers.



Ascorbyl palmitate is emerging as a promising ingredient in the world of skin care antioxidants. With its stability, fat solubility, and ability to promote collagen production, it provides a multi-faceted approach to promoting skin health and combating oxidative stress. As the skin care industry continues to explore innovative formulas, the properties of ascorbyl palmitate undoubtedly help make it a valuable asset for those striving to achieve a radiant, elastic complexion. If you need ascorbyl palmitate, please contact Comvikin to provide you with high quality products and services!

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