Ethyl Ascorbic Acid

3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid

Vitamin C is one of the most researched vitamins of all. It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces wrinkles, helps fight bacterial infections, and has a great effect on the formation of collagen. Unfortunately, it is not very stable, which is why ethyl ascorbic acid (EA) is increasingly used in cosmetic formulations. EA is a derivative of ascorbic acid, one of the most stable ascorbic acid derivatives.


But what is ethyl ascorbic acid?

Ethyl ascorbic acid is a particularly stable and water-soluble derivative of vitamin C. It is a molecule produced by modifying ascorbic acid, by attaching an ethyl group to the third carbon position. This modification significantly increases the stability of the molecule and improves its transport through the skin compared to pure vitamin C, which is easily degraded.

EA has similar properties to pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid), but it is more stable and less susceptible to oxidation. Oxidation is a process that can cause instability of vitamin C and lead to discoloration and odor in cosmetic products. The use of ethyl ascorbic acid can reduce this problem because it is less susceptible to oxidation.

When ethyl ascorbic acid penetrates the skin, it is converted or metabolized into vitamin C. The acid has several positive properties and impresses with its efficacy in a cosmetic context.


The effect of ethyl ascorbic acid

Ethyl ascorbic acid is an excellent antioxidant and radical scavenger. It not only protects against skin damage caused by sun exposure, but is also able to repair existing skin damage. It provides improved collagen synthesis, contributes to the reduction of wrinkles, and has a skin brightening effect. This has already been proven in clinical studies. Due to its very good hydrophilic and lipophilic properties, EA is very quickly and easily absorbed by the skin. Once it has penetrated the skin, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect can develop optimally in the epidermis. It helps fight bacteria that are normally responsible for acne.

Cosmetic benefits include:

  • Skin whitening: Ethyl ascorbic acid can help improve the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. It inhibits the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color.
  • Anti-aging properties: EA is a powerful antioxidant and can help neutralize free radicals that can lead to premature skin aging. It also stimulates the production of collagen, a protein important for skin elasticity and firmness.
  • Protection from UV damage: EA can protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. It can help reduce sun damage and lower the risk of skin cancer.
  • Anti-inflammatory: EA may have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat skin irritation, redness, and inflammation.

This vitamin C derivative is perfect for your cosmetics. Together with Cosmacon you can develop your product, and that will surely be the successful start to build your own brand.


Antioxidant and skin whitening

In addition, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid makes the complexion look firmer and plumper. It is not only slightly lightened, so that annoying spots almost disappear, but also gets a very subtle and beautiful glow. The lightening effect is achieved by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase and preventing the synthesis of melanin. Thus, EA is one of the most stable and effective forms of ascorbic acid around. It is also extremely gentle and well-tolerated; there is usually no irritation of the skin or eyes. In the body, the ethyl group is removed and the vitamin C is returned to its natural form. In this way, EA retains all the benefits of vitamin C, such as antioxidant activity and collagen synthesis.

In addition, it is even more effective in reducing melanin production after UV exposure. It even has some additional effects not observed with pure ascorbic acid, such as promoting nerve cell growth or reducing chemotherapy damage. Finally, the slower release also ensures that hardly any skin irritating effects are observed when using this vitamin C derivative.


Comparison of skin lightening efficacy of different vitamin C derivatives:

Tested substance

  • Ascorbic acid:  0.1  concentration: 70%*
  • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 0.1 concentration: 20%*
  • Ascorbyl glucoside 0.1 concentration: 20%*
  • EA 0.1 concentration: 80%*
  • EA 0.01 concentration: 40%*

* Inhibition of UV-induced DHICA melanization (%): DHICA (5,26-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid) is an intermediate product in melanin biosynthesis.


Fact Sheet – Ethyl Ascorbic Acid

INCI: 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid

CAS number: 86404-04-8

EINECS Number: 617-849-3

Description: is a particularly stable derivative of vitamin C

Appearance: a crystalline white powder

Stability: at a pH between 5.5 and 7.0

Solubility: soluble in water

Melting point: 110 to 115 degrees Celsius

Molecular formula: C8H12O6

Effect: antioxidant, brightening, skin caring, anti-inflammatory

Fields of application: Anti-aging products, acne treatment, skin whitening care products.


Ethyl ascorbic acid as an active ingredient for innovative cosmetic formulations

Ethyl ascorbic acid is not only suitable for daily skin care, but also lends itself very well to the care of nails and hair, as it has a positive influence on their growth. The active ingredient nourishes and strengthens, but at the same time has a rejuvenating effect and can slow down the aging process to a certain extent. In addition, EA is recommended for the treatment of acne, because it can accelerate and support the healing of inflammation. Finally, the vitamin C derivative is also valued for its depigmenting and lightening properties. Thus, it can reduce skin discolorations (for example, age spots or freckles) and protect against the development of new discolorations.

Do you still have questions or are you interested in sophisticated formulations with ethyl ascorbic acid? We will be happy to help you.




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The Anti-Ageing and Whitening Potential of a Cosmetic Serum Containing 3-O-ethyl-l-ascorbic Acid.; Zerbinati N, Sommatis S, Maccario C, Di Francesco S, Capillo MC, Rauso R, Herrera M, Bencini PL, Guida S, Mocchi R.Life (Basel). 2021 Apr 29;11(5):406

Seven cases of allergic contact dermatitis caused by cosmetics containing 3-O-ethyl-L-ascorbic acid.; Suzuki K, Futamura K, Nishimura A, Matsunaga K, Yagami A.Contact Dermatitis. 2022 Jan 7.