Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Skin Vitamin C serum

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  • Vitamin C serum

    Posted by Jaycetowww on June 16, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Hello chemist , I’m new here ????????
    @Perry I am trying to make a vitamin C serum and here is my formulae : 
    distilled water -32%, glycerine -32%, vitamin C powder - 32% , vitamin E oil -4% 
    .
    is it okay or do I need to change a few 

    Squinny replied 1 year, 11 months ago 9 Members · 30 Replies
  • 30 Replies
  • Paprik

    Member
    June 16, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Before I will try to help, I need to ask.

    Have you created this product? Or any other? Have you touched/seen those listed ingredients? Do you understand a bit of chemistry? 

  • tecnico3vinia

    Member
    June 17, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Are you using ‘pure’ Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)? One thing about this form of Vitamin C is that it is highly unstable on aqueous medium, so it is very alike that the formulation will change it’s color.

    Also, 32% of Vitamin C is a VERY high concentration. I bet you don’t need that much in a formula. I also think that 4% is a VERY high concentration of Vitamin E. Speaking of Vitamin E, what form are you using, tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate?

    And you won’t use any preservative? 

  • Pharma

    Member
    June 17, 2022 at 7:38 pm
    Tocopheryl acetate isn’t an antioxidant, so it might rather be tocopherol (however, tocopherol doesn’t serve any purpose here other than skin benefits because ascorbic acid will protect/recycle it, not the other way round and you might want to add something which protects ascorbic acid). I don’t know if any of the tocopherols dissolve in a 50:50 blend of water and glycerol, I doubt so… Apropos, ascorbic acid isn’t fully soluble in that solvent either. Partial neutralisation might do the job but this will increase its degradation.
    Bottom line is: I don’t think it’s okay and that you need to change more than a few things.
  • drjaysee

    Member
    June 19, 2022 at 8:34 am

    Paprik said:

    Before I will try to help, I need to ask.

    Have you created this product? Or any other? Have you touched/seen those listed ingredients? Do you understand a bit of chemistry? 

    @Paprik sounds a very strict teacher is asking ????

  • Pharma

    Member
    June 19, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    @Paprik sounds a very strict teacher is asking ????

    Not a strict but a helpful and smart one ;) . This is the one answer (or question) which may lead to any constructive results.

  • MarkBroussard

    Member
    June 19, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    @Jaycetowww

    Your proposed formula is going to be an ungodly sticky mess.

    Water (45%), 1,3-Propanediol (40%), L-Ascorbic Acid (15%) … if you want a simple product for personal use. 

    Vitamin E won’t do anything in your proposed formula except add to the stickiness … it will not really help stabilize the L-Ascorbic Acid.  The maximum effective load of L-Ascorbic Acid is 17%, so adding more than that is just a waste.

  • Paprik

    Member
    June 19, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    @Pharma :-O I am speechless :D Thank you, from you I take it as a really big compliment. :)

    @Jaycetowww, sorry if I sounded like that, but .. it looks like you have, more or less, no idea what are you doing. So I just wanted to get some more information from you. [Maybe on how to approach to you and explain things].

    As you can see, a lot of ppl/chemists here gave you a lot of things to change and think about. 

    Try to put neat glycerin on your skin. How does it feel? Try to make 32% solution in water and put it on your skin. How does it feel? 
    Now, imagine adding 32% of powder. 
    Do NOT put neat tocopherol on your skin, but look at that. It is honey-like. Imagine this in the formula at 4%. 

    Preservative is also important, as I believe you will have pH a bit over 3? 

    Start low, small, easy and test, test, test. That is how you gain knowledge and learn. We can tell you here a lot of things, but unless you see it and experience it, it won’t mean a lot. Happy formulating! :)

  • drjaysee

    Member
    June 20, 2022 at 8:23 am

    Pharma said:

    @Paprik sounds a very strict teacher is asking ????

    Not a strict but a helpful and smart one ;) . This is the one answer (or question) which may lead to any constructive results.

    @Pharma this one smart head teacher ????

  • Jaycetowww

    Member
    June 20, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    @Paprik thank you very much for this ????????

    I just started my skincare formulation journey , that is why 
  • Jaycetowww

    Member
    June 20, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    @MarkBroussard thank you very much 

  • Jaycetowww

    Member
    June 20, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Are you using ‘pure’ Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)? One thing about this form of Vitamin C is that it is highly unstable on aqueous medium, so it is very alike that the formulation will change it’s color.

    Also, 32% of Vitamin C is a VERY high concentration. I bet you don’t need that much in a formula. I also think that 4% is a VERY high concentration of Vitamin E. Speaking of Vitamin E, what form are you using, tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate?

    And you won’t use any preservative? 

    I was thinking since I added an anti oxidant , preservatives won’t be needed

  • tecnico3vinia

    Member
    June 20, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    Are you using ‘pure’ Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)? One thing about this form of Vitamin C is that it is highly unstable on aqueous medium, so it is very alike that the formulation will change it’s color.

    Also, 32% of Vitamin C is a VERY high concentration. I bet you don’t need that much in a formula. I also think that 4% is a VERY high concentration of Vitamin E. Speaking of Vitamin E, what form are you using, tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate?

    And you won’t use any preservative? 

    I was thinking since I added an anti oxidant , preservatives won’t be needed 

    Antioxidants and preservatives are different things. This is a very broad topic, but basically, preservatives are used to prevent the proliferation and growing of microoganisms. Antioxidants are used to prevent the oxidation of some components of the system. In combination, they both can extend the shelf life and stability of a cosmetic formulation, but yet they’re different things. 

    I really suggest that you study these basic concepts of cosmetics formulation. It will make things easier for you :)

  • Paprik

    Member
    June 20, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    “I was thinking since I added an anti oxidant , preservatives won’t be needed” 
    OH LORD!

  • Bill_Toge

    Member
    June 20, 2022 at 8:30 pm
    in fairness, formulas with a sufficiently high titratable acidity are typically self-preserving
    moving back on topic: aqueous solutions of ascorbic acid are inherently unstable if there’s any oxygen present, so the only way you might be able to get a product like this with a sensible shelf life would be if you formulated it as an aerosol

    also, ascorbic acid is chemically very similar to sugar, so concentrated solutions will be sticky

  • MarkBroussard

    Member
    June 21, 2022 at 3:29 am

    @Jaycetowww

    Here’s a simple formula that is a good starter for you:

    Water (43.5%) + L-Ascorbic Acid (15%) + 1,3-Propanediol (45%) + Ferulic Acid (0.5%) + Phenoxyethanol (0.5%) + Sodium Hyaluronate (800-1200 kDa) (0.5%)

    1.  Dissolve L-Ascorbic Acid in Water.
    2.  Heat 1,3-Propanediol to 75C.  Add Ferulic Acid to hot Propanediol stirring to dissolve and make uniform
    3.  Add Propanediol/Ferulic Acid mixture to Water/Ascorbic Acid mixture stirring to make uniform
    4.  Add Phenoxyethanol to Step3 mixture stirring to make uniform
    5.  Sprinkle Sodium Hyaluronate into Step4 mixture while stirring@300RPM. Continue stirring until uniform (approximately 2 hours)

    As @Bill_Toge pointed out, you would probably be safe not adding a preservative to this concoction as its native pH will be somewhere in the range 2.5 to 3.0, but good practice for you starting out to develop the discipline of proper preservation.

  • Jaycetowww

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 10:14 am

    @Jaycetowww

    Here’s a simple formula that is a good starter for you:

    Water (43.5%) + L-Ascorbic Acid (15%) + 1,3-Propanediol (45%) + Ferulic Acid (0.5%) + Phenoxyethanol (0.5%) + Sodium Hyaluronate (800-1200 kDa) (0.5%)

    1.  Dissolve L-Ascorbic Acid in Water.
    2.  Heat 1,3-Propanediol to 75C.  Add Ferulic Acid to hot Propanediol stirring to dissolve and make uniform
    3.  Add Propanediol/Ferulic Acid mixture to Water/Ascorbic Acid mixture stirring to make uniform
    4.  Add Phenoxyethanol to Step3 mixture stirring to make uniform
    5.  Sprinkle Sodium Hyaluronate into Step4 mixture while stirring@300RPM. Continue stirring until uniform (approximately 2 hours)

    As @Bill_Toge pointed out, you would probably be safe not adding a preservative to this concoction as its native pH will be somewhere in the range 2.5 to 3.0, but good practice for you starting out to develop the discipline of proper preservation.

    @Jaycetowww

    Here’s a simple formula that is a good starter for you:

    Water (43.5%) + L-Ascorbic Acid (15%) + 1,3-Propanediol (45%) + Ferulic Acid (0.5%) + Phenoxyethanol (0.5%) + Sodium Hyaluronate (800-1200 kDa) (0.5%)

    1.  Dissolve L-Ascorbic Acid in Water.
    2.  Heat 1,3-Propanediol to 75C.  Add Ferulic Acid to hot Propanediol stirring to dissolve and make uniform
    3.  Add Propanediol/Ferulic Acid mixture to Water/Ascorbic Acid mixture stirring to make uniform
    4.  Add Phenoxyethanol to Step3 mixture stirring to make uniform
    5.  Sprinkle Sodium Hyaluronate into Step4 mixture while stirring@300RPM. Continue stirring until uniform (approximately 2 hours)

    As @Bill_Toge pointed out, you would probably be safe not adding a preservative to this concoction as its native pH will be somewhere in the range 2.5 to 3.0, but good practice for you starting out to develop the discipline of proper preservation.

    Thank you mark , you are really a life saver 

  • Adamnfineman

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    Hi @Jaycetowww 

    I just want to point out that the formula that @MarkBroussard shared is patented by L’Oreal. I don’t think you’re planning on making a product to sell commercially but if that’s that case I would find a different formula to use. This particular patent only applies to US territories but I don’t know if they have filed patents in other countries too.

    Summary of the patent:
    “The present invention relates to single-phase solution compositions of L-ascorbic acid that provide enhanced stability, enhanced solubility and an enhanced photoprotective effect as compared to prior compositions. The single-phase solution compositions comprise by weight 5% to 40% L-ascorbic acid; 0.2% to 5.0% of a cinnamic acid derivative, such as p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, sinapinic acid, a derivative thereof, or a combination thereof; 10% to 60% of a solvent comprising a glycol ether and an alkanediol; and water; the composition having a pH of no more than about 3.5. When the cinnamic acid derivative is present at an amount greater than 0.5%, the composition further comprises a surfactant in an amount of 1.5% to 5.0%. The single-phase solution compositions may also comprise a form of Vitamin E and a surfactant, or a form of Vitamin A and a surfactant.”

    Water (43.5%) + L-Ascorbic Acid (15%) + 1,3-Propanediol (45%) + Ferulic Acid (0.5%) + Phenoxyethanol (0.5%) + Sodium Hyaluronate (800-1200 kDa) (0.5%)

    Also this adds up to 105%, I’m guessing there’s a typo in there though.

  • MarkBroussard

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    @Adamnfineman

    Actually, the L’Oreal patents covers the combination of Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E.  The key point being the combination of Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid is the essential combination.  There is no Vitamin E in the formula proposed for Jacetowww.

  • Adamnfineman

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    @MarkBroussard

    It says it “may also comprise a form of Vitamin E” I assumed that meant the combination of the solvent with Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid was the main purpose of the patent. That last sentence looks like it was put in to cover a broader range of formulae.

  • Adamnfineman

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    Looking through the list of claims on the patent I see there are many different versions of their formula, with and without Vitamin E, that are covered. It seems like they’re focusing on the solvent + Vitamin C + cinnamic acid derivatives and then expanding that to cover any variations.

  • MarkBroussard

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    @Adamnfineman

    The main claim to the patent is that the combination of Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid yields an 8X increase in preventing oxidation of the L-Ascorbic Acid

  • Adamnfineman

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    @MarkBroussard 

    I understand that this is the most effective combination for stabilizing Vitamin C that is covered by the patent. Every one of their claims include the solvent + Vitamin C + Cinnamic Acid derivative, but not every one of their claims includes Vitamin E.

    Doesn’t that mean that the formulae without Vitamin E are still covered by the patent even though they are less effective?

  • Jaycetowww

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Hi @Jaycetowww 

    I just want to point out that the formula that @MarkBroussard shared is patented by L’Oreal. I don’t think you’re planning on making a product to sell commercially but if that’s that case I would find a different formula to use. This particular patent only applies to US territories but I don’t know if they have filed patents in other countries too.

    Summary of the patent:
    “The present invention relates to single-phase solution compositions of L-ascorbic acid that provide enhanced…

    Wowwww

  • MarkBroussard

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 11:48 pm

    @MarkBroussard 

    I understand that this is the most effective combination for stabilizing Vitamin C that is covered by the patent. Every one of their claims include the solvent + Vitamin C + Cinnamic Acid derivative, but not every one of their claims includes Vitamin E.

    Doesn’t that mean that the formulae without Vitamin E are still covered by the patent even though they are less effective?

    That would be a question for a patent attorney.  The point here is to help Jaycetowww learn how to formulate a serum as his/her proposed formula was simply not going to work.

  • Squinny

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    @Adamnfineman

    The main claim to the patent is that the combination of Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid yields an 8X increase in preventing oxidation of the L-Ascorbic Acid

    Hi Mark I have never worked with Vitamin C (due to everything I have read about stability etc and am only interested in making a product for myself not commercially). What is the INCI of the Ascorbic Acid I should be sourcing that is stable? Also what pH would be aiming for? Sorry if these are stupid questions. Cheers

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