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How Vitamin C Penetrates the Skin

How and Why Vitamin C Penetrates the Skin

The Science Behind Vitamin C Serum and How It Penetrates the Skin

Where Does Vitamin C Come From?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin found in a variety of foods such as citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, melons, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, and bell peppers. It is an essential nutrient that is required for numerous biological functions in the body, including collagen synthesis, wound healing, and immune function.

How Does Vitamin C Penetrate the Skin?

Topical application of vitamin C serum is one of the most effective ways to deliver this nutrient directly to the skin. However, it is important to note that not all vitamin C serums are created equal. The effectiveness of vitamin C serum depends on several factors, including the concentration, pH, stability, and formulation of the product.

The Science Behind Vitamin C Penetration

The outermost layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, is composed of dead skin cells and acts as a barrier to prevent the penetration of foreign substances into the body. Vitamin C serum needs to penetrate this barrier to reach the deeper layers of the skin where it can exert its antioxidant and anti-aging effects.

Research has shown that vitamin C can penetrate the skin via passive diffusion, a process in which molecules move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. However, this process is limited by the physicochemical properties of vitamin C, including its molecular weight, solubility, and pH. Therefore, the use of a stable, high-concentration vitamin C serum with a low pH is essential for optimal skin penetration and efficacy.

Additionally, vitamin C can also enhance the penetration of other active ingredients, such as vitamin E and ferulic acid, when used in combination. This synergistic effect is known as the "vitamin C cocktail" and has been shown to provide even greater antioxidant protection and anti-aging benefits.


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  • Fitzpatrick RE, Rostan EF. Double-blind, half-face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage. Dermatol Surg. 2002 Mar;28(3):231-6; discussion 235. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2002.01129. Link:


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