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Making Good Scents

Make Soap, Cosmetics, and Perfumes at Home

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Vitamin C Skin Care

Question.  I would like to make my own facial lotion containing L-ascorbic acid as I believe this is the best form of vitamin c for topical use. Do you know where this can be purchased and what form should it take to make a lotion. I believe it is very good for wrinkles and sun damage. It costs about $70 to buy a bottle of it in the shops and I wonder why we cannot make it ourselves??

Answer. You ask a great question. Ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C, is an antioxidant, and it helps to keep the skin looking younger by offering some protection against sun damage. It also stimulates the production of collagen in the skin. The problem with using ascorbic acid is that it is not stable when it is used in aqueous (water-based) solutions. This includes lotion. Once water is added to ascorbic acid it loses its effectiveness very quickly.

There are two solutions to this problem. One solution is to only add ascorbic acid to cosmetics in the dry state, and add water to the portion you are going to use right before you use it. For example, add vitamin C to a face mask. Make your face mask and include ascorbic acid (or dried rosehips, which are rich in vitamin C). Leave out all the water. Store your face mask in the dry state. When you are ready to use it, remove a small amount and to this portion add water, mix, and apply to your skin. This way you can enjoy the benefits of vitamin C in your cosmetics, without worrying about it losing its effectiveness.

The other solution is to use an oil soluble form of vitamin C such as Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ester-C®, or Rosehip Seed Oil. Ascorbyl Palmitate is a blend of Ascorbic acid and Palmitic acid and is oil soluble. Ester-C® is a patented form of vitamin C that has been manufactured to be more stable than ascorbic acid. Ester-C® is available in bulk in liquid form for cosmetic applications, but this is expensive. If you just want to experiment to see what you can do with it, you can buy it in small amounts in powdered form. Rosehip seed oil is rich in vitamin C.