Natural C Vs Ascorbic Acid – Do You Know The Difference?

We explore the real differences between naturally-occurring Vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid

An extremely effective solution for pigmentation reduction and overall brightening, not to mention powerful antioxidant and collagen stimulator, Vitamin C skincare is undoubtedly one of the most popular and highly recommended actives in most routines. However, there’s one brand on the market that boasts a unique quality unrivalled by other C products – it utilises stable Vitamin C naturally sourced from botanicals, as opposed to synthetically-derived C; Ascorbic Acid.

Ross Macdougald. Source: Supplied

Cosmetic Chemist and Founder of natural Australian skincare brand Biologi, Ross Macdougald, shares with us his unique system and its benefits.

“Vitamin C is one of the best antioxidants to diminish hyperpigmentation, fine lines and visible sun-damage, as well as promote collagen production. It’s a potent antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals and can aid your skin’s natural regeneration process, helping to repair damaged skin cells. Because of this it’s a well-known brightening agent that encourages cell renewal and can be instrumental in reducing scars and spots,” says Ross.

“However, what many people don’t realise is that there are two different types of Vitamin C. The first type is synthetic, and the second type is natural. In the past, synthetic Vitamin C reigned as the only option, simply because experts didn’t have the technology to extract natural Vitamin C and keep it stable. Many brands labelled their ingredient as ‘Vitamin C’ (and in some misleading cases as ‘natural Vitamin C’) however when you delve deeper, it is Ascorbic Acid. The reason for this is because Vitamin C would be extracted from the plant but once it left the plant it would break down, rendering it ineffective. So, the industry created Ascorbic Acid and labelled it as Vitamin C because it was considered the closest thing to the real deal. That is, until now.”

Ross’ 20+years experience as a Cosmetic Chemist saw him delving into the mysteries of Vitamin C in plants, how it truly works and what it can do for the skin, which eventually led him to develop a world-first extraction technique that enabled him to bottle naturally-occurring C and keep it stable for use in skincare. This means that Ross’ skincare brand Biologi sells the only natural Vitamin C in skincare available in the world.

“I spent many years studying plant and skin science and this led me to understand how vitamin C is produced, kept stable and active within the plant, and how it is delivered to plant cells. What I found is that nature has created a way to not only keep plant nutrients stable (such as Vitamin C) but to move it within itself without affecting its potency. It then delivers those nutrients to cells that require it.”

“I also discovered that human cells act in a very similar way to plant cells in that they also need many nutrients that plants produce, such as Vitamin C. This led me to create an extraction method that mimics the internal mechanism of a plant. What is extracted is not only the nutrients but also the liquid matrix within the plant that keeps the nutrients stable (along with the activator that delivers the nutrients directly into the cell). This technology is a world-first and allows for the delivery of natural Vitamin C to the skin along with many other phytonutrients. The result of this is your skin finally gets nutrients that it needs without any synthetic manipulation to allow it to work effectively and efficiently.”

Ross also tells us another key difference between natural and synthetic is the pH level.

“The key difference between Natural Vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid is obviously that one is natural and the other is synthetic, however the pH levels also dramatically differ. Natural Vitamin C has a pH of 6 to pH neutral, while Ascorbic Acid has a pH of 1 to 2.5. The pH of Ascorbic Acid is extremely dangerous, especially when applied topically. It can cause skin irritation, reddening and chemical burns.”

Biologi is now stocked by natural-beauty-loving skin clinics and day spas across the country, with each product featuring the naturally-extracted nutrients of a single Australian plant ingredient, including Kakadu Plum, Davidson Plum, Rosehip and Finger Lime.

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