Is Ascorbyl Glucoside Really As Effective As Other Forms Of Vitamin C? - The Dermatology Review

Is Ascorbyl Glucoside Really As Effective As Other Forms Of Vitamin C?

ARTICLE

02.24.21 AD DISCLOSURE

What Is Ascorbyl Glucoside?

Ascorbyl glucoside is a form of vitamin C that is used in skincare products. Unlike L-ascorbic acid, which is the naturally occurring form of vitamin C, ascorbyl glucoside is a stable form of vitamin C when paired with glucose. L-ascorbic acid is a notoriously unstable form of vitamin C that often breaks down when exposed to air and sunlight. While L-ascorbic acid can be stabilized with ferulic acid and antioxidants it presents many difficulties with formulating. 

Ascorbyl glucoside has been studied for its superior stability and penetrative abilities compared to L-ascorbic acid. While ascorbyl glucoside is thought to break down to ascorbic acid when absorbed into the skin, there is little evidence to support how well it does so. 

Vitamin C is used to help improve the appearance of the skin, potentially reducing pigmentation and dullness. Some studies have suggested that vitamin C may also help to support collagen production and inflammation. 

Ascorbyl Glucoside

the good: Ascorbyl glucoside is a highly stable form of vitamin C that may help to improve the appearance of dull or pigmented skin.

the not so good: There is limited research to suggest that ascorbyl glucoside is converted to a form of vitamin C that can be effectively used by the skin.

Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.

Keep an eye on: Ascorbyl glucoside is often used in formulation with other key ingredients such as niacinamide as it doesn’t present the stability issues that L-ascorbic acid does.

What Are the Benefits of Ascorbyl Glucoside Used?

Vitamin C has many studied benefits for the skin such as helping to diminish the visibility of pigmentation, support collagen production, may be involved in inflammation, reduce the sun’s effects on the skin, and maintain skin barrier integrity.

However, studies indicate that most forms of vitamin C, other than L-ascorbic acid don’t produce the same level of benefits to the skin. This may include ascorbyl glucoside. The benefits of vitamin C are discussed below, but keep in mind that these are considered to be benefits of L-ascorbic acid. Ascorbyl glucoside is also considered to be gentler and a less potent form of vitamin C so it can be a great alternative if you have sensitive or irritated skin. 

Antioxidant
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which may help to reduce free radical damage. Environmental factors such as radiation from the sun, UVA and UVB, pollution, smoking, and diet can put the skin in a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress produces an imbalance in the levels of molecules called free radicals.

Free radicals can accumulate and create an imbalance. This imbalance has been studied for its links with many diseases and its role in the aging process. As an antioxidant, vitamin C is thought to reduce the effects of oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radical molecules and rebalancing their levels in the body. This may also help to minimize the harmful damage caused by the sun. 

Collagen
As we age, collagen production decreases. From age 20, the amount of collagen produced reduces by 1% per year. 

Vitamin C acts as a cofactor or a helper molecule in the body’s natural collagen forming process. Studies have looked at  L-ascorbic acid’s ability to crosslink and stabilize collagen fibers. While several studies support vitamin C’s involvement in the processes that produce collagen, research is ongoing as to whether skincare products containing vitamin C have significant effects in improving visible firmness and elasticity of the skin. This effect will also vary greatly depending on concentration, type of vitamin C, and frequency of use. 

Pigmentation and L-ascorbic acid
Pigmentation occurs on the surface of the skin for a multitude of internal and external reasons. These can range from pregnancy or melasma, hormonal imbalance and sun damage to genetic predispositions, injury or inflammation. Melanin is the molecule responsible for giving skin color or pigment, and the uneven production of melanin results in pigmentation areas on the surface.

 Vitamin C may reduce the visibility of pigmentation through inhibition of the enzyme responsible for producing melanin in the skin. 

It is crucial to use sunscreen alongside vitamin C products to avoid further pigmentation from the sun.  

Inflammation
Inflammation in the skin is common but some people experience it on a daily basis. Conditions such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema may cause the skin to be chronically inflamed. 

Vitamin C is thought to inhibit a molecule that activates pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are involved in immunity and help produce the inflammation reaction in the body to heal – think of healthy wound healing. In conditions where the skin is chronically inflamed, the cytokines react inappropriately, often working in overdrive. Currently, topical vitamin C products are being examined for how it is involved in inflammation, wound healing and post-inflammatory linked pigmentation. 

Skin barrier integrity
The skin barrier includes the outermost layers of the skin and is essential for maintaining a healthy, clear complexion. It is responsible for protecting the skin’s deeper layers from damage, allergens, bacteria, and moisture loss. When issues with the skin barrier occur, it may suggest conditions such as atopic dermatitis or eczema. 

Vitamin C has been used in combination with other skincare ingredients and dermatological therapies to treat conditions that affect the skin barrier. Vitamin C is thought to maintain the skin barrier by enhancing the ability of keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are a type of skin cell that produces keratin. Vitamin C may help to specialize the function of the keratinocyte. 

What should you consider when choosing a vitamin C product?

The main things to consider when looking for a vitamin C product are concentration, stability, and type of vitamin C. 

The type of vitamin C often varies between formulations. As a vitamin C source, L-ascorbic acid is the most well-researched source and the source that has shown the most benefits to the body. Other forms of synthetic vitamin C used in skincare are mineral ascorbates, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and of course ascorbyl glucoside. The type of vitamin C and the type of product can have a significant effect on the efficacy of the product.

As for ascorbyl glucoside, the research doesn’t strongly indicate that it is converted to L-ascorbic acid in any significant amount. However, it is considered to be gentler, water-soluble, meaning it can be used with a wider variety of other ingredients and it is a more stable form of vitamin C. 

Is Ascorbyl Glucoside Safe?

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for evaluating the safety of skincare and cosmetic ingredients has reviewed the research on ascorbyl glucoside. The Expert Panel concluded that ascorbyl glucoside is safe for its current uses and in the current concentrations in which it is used. 

References:
Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):866. Published 2017 Aug 12.

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