Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate: A Stable And Effective Form Of Vitamin C?

by Gio
is sodium ascorbyl phosphate an effective form of vitamin C?

Who said the original is always better?

L-Ascorbic Acid is the original form of Vitamin C but it’s irritating as hell. It’s super finicky, too. Use the wrong ph or expose it to light and air and it stops working.

Compare that with the copycat, Sodium Ascorbic Phosphate. It does the same job but without throwing so many tantrums.

Does that mean that Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is the best form of Vitamin C used in skincare?

What Is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate?

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a derivative of Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid). When it sinks into your skin, enzymes come along to convert it into L-Ascorbic Acid.

I know what you’re thinking. What’s the point of using a derivative if it’s converted to the original anyway?

Cos the derivative is a lot more stable (it withstands light and air better) so it’ll still be effective when you finally put it on your skin. And it’s a lot gentler so it won’t make your skin all red as it sinks in.

Related: Types Of Vitamin C Used In Skincare

Can Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate Prevent Premature Aging?

Yes, Vitamin C and all its derivates can help you skin stave off those premature wrinkles and fade away dark spots. Here’s how Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate works:

  • Destroys the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles
  • Boosts the production of skin-firming collagen
  • Has skin-lightening abilities that brighten the complexion and reduce dark spots

Related: The Complete Guide To Vitamin C In Skincare

Can Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate Treat Acne, Too?

It seems so.

A study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science shows that Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate can treat acne vulgaris. How?

Acne is caused by two major factors:

  • Bacteria: Proprionibacterium Acnes, or P.Acnes for short
  • Lipid oxidation: when your sebum oxidises, your skin becomes inflamed

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate deals with both. 1% of SAP reduces the amount of P.Acnes on your skin, while 5% prevents lipid oxidation in the first place.

The scientists said it works a lot better than many other anti acne treatments out there!

Related: 3 Little-Known Anti-Acne Ingredients For Clear Skin

What Are The Best Products With Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to come across skincare products with sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Your best best is below:

Need help to create a skincare routine that tackles both acne and aging? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive the “Acne + Aging Skincare Routine” cheatsheet:

The Bottom Line

If L-Ascorbic Acid irritates your skin or is too finicky for your taste, switch to Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate. It fights wrinkles,  fades away dark spots and even treats acne without any irritation.

Have you ever used products with Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate? Share your faves in the comments below.

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Ling October 4, 2011 - 11:19 pm

Most likely, I have…but never realised it. I really must learn to read ingredients lists!!

beautifulwithbrains October 5, 2011 - 6:25 am

Ling, it really is very important to read ingredients lists especially when looking for products with Vitamin C as there are so many types of it and not all as effective. This one is very promising and I’m glad you probably had a chance to try it even though you didn’t realise it. 🙂

xin October 5, 2011 - 3:17 am

i am not sure if i have use Vit C containing that, but I have used a couple of Vit C serums before, and all broke me out =/

beautifulwithbrains October 5, 2011 - 6:26 am

Xin, oh no! That’s too bad!

Alex October 5, 2011 - 3:41 am

Thanks for this, it was really helpful! I’ve been wanting to try Vit C products for ages but I’ve heard/read so many things about having to be really careful about the product and how it’s packaged, otherwise it oxidises.

beautifulwithbrains October 5, 2011 - 6:27 am

Alex, you’re welcome. Most forms of Vitamin C (and all antioxidants in general) should be packaged in opaque tubes and kept away from light, otherwise they lose their efficacy. But SAP is stable so you don’t have to worry about that. Although, I would still go for products packaged in tubes, for hygienic reasons.

wong July 7, 2018 - 2:46 am

Hi Gio, is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate suitable for dry/ very dry skin? Also, will 20% of it too harsh for first time acid user? Thank you.

Gio July 21, 2018 - 9:56 pm

Wong, the only way to know for sure is to try. All I can say is that Ascorbic Phosphate is a gentle form of Vitamin C and doesn’t usually irritate skin (unless it’s sensitive).

Evalin September 5, 2018 - 11:37 pm

Hi, Wong, I have been using a serum with 18% SAP for over a year now, and I too have dry (… and dehydrated, and sensitive… ) skin, but SAP hasn’t dried it out at all. Hope this helps.

Elisa March 16, 2019 - 4:27 am

I am using the Hyaluronic acid serum from the Tree of life age defending beauty brand and I read that it contains Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, if I use it after the retinol do I still get the full potential of the products or they should be alternated? What do you think about this Hyaluronic acid serum in general?

Gio March 16, 2019 - 12:36 pm

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a derivate of vitamin C, so the pH isn’t really an issue here. You can use them together. I like that this serum has a few antioxidants, but I’m not a fan of the fragrant oils as they could irritate sensitive skin.

Nadine October 23, 2019 - 5:04 am

Gio, I think I already left this question on another post, but I can’t remember where! I’ve recently purchased Stratia’s vitamin C+C. It’s in a silicone base which it seems is quite different from other formulations. Have you had a chance to review it?

Gio November 7, 2019 - 5:40 pm

Nadine, I haven’t reviewed it yet, but judging from the ingredient list, it sounds promising. I like that it contains 2 forms of vitamin C and a couple more antioxidants (although, they left ferulic acid out).


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