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Vitamin C Derivative Cheat Sheet

by Claudia Christin on May 03, 2023

Vitamin C cheat sheet

It’s not all about pure Vitamin C

We often heard about vitamin C as the gold standard of antioxidant. We couldn’t agree more that one should incorporate a vitamin C into their daily skincare routine for a solid well-aging care. Vitamin C is closely associated with L-ascorbic acid or known as the pure vitamin C. They have a lot of scientific evidence and benefit for the skin. Their only downside is that it can be unstable (oxidize quickly) and it can only be formulated at a specific low pH.


That’s why the vitamin C derivatives can come and fill in the gap. Let’s talk about one of the most commonly found vitamin C derivatives in skincare, the 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid!


what is ascorbic acid

What is 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (3-O-EAA)? 

One of the derivatives of pure Vitamin C which is more stable. It has water- and oil-soluble properties. The promising star of vitamin c derivatives 3-O-EAA has an ethyl group at the third carbon position, preventing the 3-OH group from ionization and the molecule from oxidation. 3-O-EAA has different physicochemical properties with L-AA, this makes 3-O-EAA get absorbed faster and better into the skin. 


what it does

What it does? 

🌟Brightening superstar: It brightens, fades hyperpigmentation, evens skin tone

🌟Well-aging care: reduces wrinkle, visibly firms the skin

🌟Protection: helps the skin fight free radicals and many more. 


Once the 3-O-EAA gets absorbed into skin, the skin metabolizes it as pure vitamin C. Hence why, it has all the pure vitamin c benefits with it.


the good of 3-O-EAA

The Good of 3-O-EAA

  • More stable and last longer
  • Can be formulated in a higher pH than other Vitamin C derivative, thus sensitive skin friendly
  • Doesn’t oxidize quickly
  • Doesn’t cause any tingling sensation (most of the time)

Who is it for?

  • Dull skin

  • Sensitive skin

  • Aging skin

  • Uneven skin tone

optimal range for efficacy

Optimal Range for Efficacy

  • pH 5.4 - 5

  • Concentration: 0.5% - 5%

The downside / Side effect

Although it is gentler than pure vitamin C, it can probably cause irritation for extreme sensitive skin. Although very rare, there are also some allergic contact dermatitis found within research for 3-O-EAA.


Benefits of 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid*

Benefits of Ascorbic Acid

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