Ascorbic Acid is the name given to the form of vitamin C, which is water-soluble. The human body needs ascorbic acid for its biochemical functioning and at the same time vitamin C also helps protect from oxidation the fat-soluble vitamins A and E and the fatty acids. When vitamin C participates in the production of collagen it works inside the cell adding hydrogen and oxygen to two amino acids: praline and lysine. This process helps form a precursor molecule called pro-collagen that is later packaged and modified into collagen outside of the cell. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in some cases inhibiting chemical reactions with oxygen or highly reactive free radicals, which cause damage to cells. Therefore as an antioxidant vitamin C has the ability to scavenge free radicals before they damage the cell. Vitamin C is combined many times with vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant, as being together increase the action of each. On the one hand this allows on one hand that vitamin E continuously give electros to free radicals and vitamin c stay as an active antioxidant. The medical community also recognizes the nutrient as a biological reducing agent as it is linked to the prevention of certain degenerative diseases.
Vitamin C is one of the few topical ingredients whose success in fighting aging can be substantiated by a great amount of scientific evidence. However the practical use of vitamin C in skin care can be complicated due to its lack of stability since when exposed to air, vitamin C oxidizes and it is ineffective. Many companies offer vitamin C products that are formulated with vitamin derivatives easy to stabilize, they are not the L-ascorbic acid that the body uses. When evaluating a product formulated with vitamin C it is of most importance to find out the following aspects. First find out what form of vitamin C is used or if a blend was used. Also it is of most importance to know the concentration since at least 10% is required for optimized results. The L-ascorbic acid should also have a low pH. And last but not least it is of most importance to find out if the formula is stable ( vitamin C oxidizes quickly).