It seems like there's a holiday for just about everything, from Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day in January to September's Hobbit Day — yep, those really are a thing!
But one holiday we can personally get behind? National Vitamin C Day. We think this supercharged skincare ingredient more than deserves a day to recognize the impressive contributions it makes to our ever-so-grateful complexions. (It's April 4th, BTW.)
And while we celebrate this hardworking nutrient every day (twice!) by generously applying our glow-giving Nectar of the C Serum, we wanted to share a little knowledge on a particular form of vitamin C that's near and dear to us — sodium ascorbyl phosphate.
So pour yourself a glass of orange juice and get ready to learn all about this unsung hero of the vitamin C family!
IN A NUTSHELL
Ingredient Category: Antioxidant
Main Benefit: This stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C is a powerful protector that excels at evening and brightening skin tone while softening the appearance of fine lines.
What Is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate?
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) is a derivative of vitamin C which is an essential nutrient found in foods like citrus fruits, guavas, broccoli, bell peppers, and more. It's important for a healthy immune system, functions as an antioxidant, and is powerfully nutritive when applied topically.
There are several forms of vitamin C that all work similarly, with L-ascorbic acid being the first one to be synthesized in a lab. You might know this version as the most common — and most aggravating. It's finicky and unstable, prone to degrading quickly and irritating skin when the pH isn't just right.
There's also magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, and ascorbyl palmitate — talk about a mouthful! These variants each have unique characteristics and are more suited to certain tasks, like functioning as a food additive or serving as a very mild addition to some cosmetics.
Thankfully, of the other types of vitamin C, there is one that packs a punch without actually pummeling your skin or being too weak. Called sodium ascorbyl phosphate, this version is light without sacrificing potency and highly stable.
Although less powerful than its unpredictable sibling, L-ascorbic acid, SAP’s stability allows it to remain viable in cosmetics, making it more effective in the long run. Once it hits your skin, it changes into ascorbic acid to deliver its bounty of benefits without being nearly as irritating.
Benefits of Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate for Skin
What are those benefits, you ask? First and foremost, sodium ascorbyl phosphate is a mighty antioxidant that protects the skin from external aggressors. That gives it impressive anti-aging advantages thanks to its penchant for protecting skin from elements that cause spots, wrinkles, and sagging.
This battle for your youthful appearance includes keeping forces that attack the skin’s elasticity at bay, helping complexions stay firm and tight. Antioxidant power is also crucial for rejuvenating and calming skin by fortifying it and boosting its natural defenses.
Another radiant result from this flurry of antioxidant activity is a more even skin tone. This helps fade the appearance of discoloration while bringing back a glorious glow.
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate also has cleansing properties that help remove buildup and excess sebum — which is great news for oily skin types! And since it's gentler than other forms of vitamin C, it's an excellent option for sensitive skin types, too.
Yet another thing that makes SAP so compelling is the fact that it penetrates the skin more efficiently than L-ascorbic acid. Because the latter isn't great at getting through your skin barrier, you need to use more of it to work. Cue irritation! But sodium ascorbyl phosphate absorbs quicker and more easily, so you need less of it to do the same job.
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate can also promote skin hydration. It plays well with ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, making it the perfect addition to serums and moisturizers. Don't be surprised if you start to notice an improvement in skin texture, as well as a softer look after applying it for a while.
Finally, let's talk about stability. Some of the more intense forms of vitamin C are notoriously fickle, oxidizing when coming into contact with light and air and becoming inactive. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, on the other hand, is light, and oxygen and water-stable. So not only is it easier to store and longer-lasting, it works well in tons of product formulations.
How to Use Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate for Skin
So, how do you use this gentle skincare warrior to its fullest potential? One of the best things you can do is grab a sodium ascorbyl phosphate-enhanced serum, since they tend to boast a higher concentration than many moisturizers and creams. For supercharged effects, shoot for one that has around 15%, like our Nectar of the C vitamin C serum.
The best time to apply a skincare product containing sodium ascorbyl phosphate is in the morning after using a gentle cleanser and before you move on to your lotions. That way, you benefit from its antioxidant protection as you go about your day, where you might interact with pollution, dirt, and UV rays. To really level up, try to pair it with other antioxidants like vitamin E, ferulic acid, aloe vera, and niacinamide.
Don't forget to cap things off with a good sunscreen to ensure you get the most out of sodium ascorbyl phosphate's protective powers. And remember, even though this form of vitamin C is generally mild, everyone is different! Start slow and do a patch test to make sure it agrees with you.
Our Favorite C-Lebrity
Vitamin C has a lot to offer the skincare world, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate is one way it puts its best face forward. It strikes an ideal balance between strong and gentle, plays nicely with lots of other ingredients, and delivers all the benefits vitamin C is adored for.
And now that you're an expert in all things vitamin C, you'll be fully prepared to celebrate one more holiday!