Although we've long known about the multiple dietary benefits of vitamin C, we've discovered that it also has benefits for your skin. As an additive to lotions or creams, it can help protect you against environmental damage. It also spurs production of collagen, the protein chains that provide the form and structure of your skin.
There's a catch, though -- when exposed to the air, vitamin C oxidizes and creates free radicals, causing even more problems and greatly reducing the positive effects it can have on your skin.
Although companies are improving their ability to stabilize vitamin C, these stabilized products tend to be very expensive. A possible alternative is two derivative compounds -- ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate -- that share skin care qualities similar to those of vitamin C. Ascorbyl palmitate helps prevent skin damage from free radicals, but isn't very effective at prompting collagen production. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate does stimulate collagen growth, but doesn't have the same exfoliating qualities as vitamin C.
Research continues into the use of other vitamin C derivatives, such as tetrasubstituted lipophilic ascorbates. Not only are these more stable than vitamin C, they're also better at stimulating collagen growth. Though relatively new, some cleansers already contain these vitamin C relatives -- and more are sure to follow.
No acne problem? Find out why you may want to use acne cleansers anyway, next.