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Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate) is a molecule derived from vitamin C and isopalmitic acid. Pure vitamin C has several drawbacks for cosmeceutical use, most important of which is the low stability. Chemically modified vitamin molecules are more stable, and pure vitamin is released from the derivatives inside the body. Therefore, the effects of Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate are similar to those of vitamin C, most importantly it is able to act as an antioxidant. Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate reduces the production of oxidizing agents, which contribute to cell damage after exposure to UV or chemical hazards. This effect is even stronger in the modified molecule than in pure vitamin C. Additionally, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate protects against DNA damage and skin darkening caused by UV exposure. Finally, skin visual appearance is also improved by Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, as it promotes collagen synthesis and acts as a hydrating agent in reducing skin roughness.
Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (also tetra-isopalmitoyl ascorbate, or Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate) is a molecule derived from vitamin C. It is produced by combining one molecule of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) with four molecules of tetraisopalmitic acid, a fatty acid found in butter and other sources. Although it was developed only recently, its safety for human use has been thoroughly tested , . While pure vitamin C has many clinical and cosmetical benefits, it degrades easily and its delivery through skin is ineffective. Furthermore, sudden high doses of ascorbic acid may be toxic to cells, so several modified versions of this vitamin have been developed , . Inside the body cells, any modifications are removed and pure vitamin C is released. In the case of Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, more than 80 % of the vitamin C content is released successfully . An additional benefit of Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is that it is soluble in lipids, such as oils, and thus its uptake through the skin is easier. The pH of this derivative (around 4.0-6.0) is also more compatible with skin than that of pure ascorbic acid .
In this way, Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate retains all the beneficial effects of vitamin C. For example, while the Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate molecule itself is not able to act as an antioxidant, it is proven to protect skin cells from oxidizing stress. It reduces the levels of free radicals, produced by certain chemicals or UV radiation, proving that vitamin C is effectively released , . It is also able to protect the skin cell DNA from mutations caused by UV exposure and increase the cell viability .
Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate was also shown to improve the physical appearance of the skin. A formulation with Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate acts as a moisturizer, improving the smoothness of the skin. It was also shown to increase the thickness of epithelial layer in mice . Vitamin C is well known for the ability to activate collagen synthesis, and Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate also retains this effect. In fact, the derivative had an even stronger effect, compared with the same concentrations of vitamin C . Furthermore, it was shown to inhibit the collagen-degrading enzymes, thus it additionally helps maintain higher skin collagen content and improved visual appearance .
Furthermore, a cream containing 3 % Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate was shown to reduce skin darkening. This is explained by the fact that skin cells, treated with Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, do not activate melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) in response to UV radiation . Preparation with Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate and flavonoids (a group of plant-produced molecules) had an even stronger effect, reducing skin damage and inflammatory response after UV exposure . Using a combination of several antioxidants also increase the stability and thus the shelf-life of final product. Therefore, researchers suggest combining Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate with plant extracts and other vitamins ,