Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Akruti Khandkar (Journalist)  on 11th Dec 2020

Are vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid the same?

Are vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid the same?

From securing your skin from UV harm to lightening dull spots, there are a lot of benefits Vitamin C could offer. However, what form of vitamin C you pick and how you use it can make a lot of difference in bestowing maximum benefits from the product. Humans are a small minority of living beings that are unable to produce vitamin C naturally.

Vitamin C is "water-soluble" in nature and can not be stored in the body. This means a deficiency of vitamin C in your body should be compensated from other sources.

Vitamin C is very straightforward, but when anyone talks about Ascorbic acid, our brain gets muddled. Are ascorbic acid and vitamin C similar?

Yes, ascorbic acid is the purest form of vitamin C, but other vitamin C forms contain other supplements.

Vitamin C comes in numerous forms, and every one of them has an alternate use and spot in skincare items.  

What forms of vitamin C can benefit your overall health? 

As vitamin C has antioxidant properties, there are other forms of vitamin C with different formulas that can give you many benefits. Let's see: 

  • L- ascorbic acid - also known as ascorbic acid, is a great antioxidant agent that fights bacterial contaminations, collagen in skin, teeth, bones, capillaries, and supports in detoxifying reaction. It is the purest form of vitamin C and battles free radicals, bacteria, and external stressors.   

Did you know?

Ascorbic acid used topically can reduce the radicals in UVA exposed skin.  

  • Calcium ascorbate- the job of calcium ascorbate is to prevent and low level of vitamin C. Some humans can not fulfill their needed amount of VitaminC from their diet, leading to scurvy. The formulation of calcium ascorbate includes 90-110 mg of calcium (890-910 mg of ascorbic acid) per 1,000 mg of calcium ascorbate. 
  • Sodium Ascorbate is an organic salt, where sodium ions replace three hydroxy groups of ascorbic acid. In simpler terms, individuals with low-sodium diets can take advantage of vitamins and sodium if incorporated sodium ascorbate in their diet. According to Linus Pauling Institute, 1000 mg of sodium ascorbate inherits 111 mg of sodium, and the rest is L- Ascorbic acid.  
  • Other ascorbates- Apart from calcium and sodium, ascorbates bound to L-ascorbic acid are manganese, potassium, magnesium, molybdenum, and chromium, and zinc. Formulations, including these, can keep in check vitamins and minerals in your body.  

So, what is Ascorbic acid? 

Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that benefits your hair, skin, and bones. It is the purest form of Vit C. Most natural substances (fruits and vegetables) consist of ascorbic acid, and its drug form is utilized on individuals with vitamin C deficiency, bone healing, or scurvy.

L-ascorbic acid (LAA) is the synthetically and chemically active supplement of Vitamin C.

Ascorbic acid is a component that can exist in two forms. These structures incorporate D-ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid. Naturally, vitamin C is found in equivalent compounds as LAA and D-ascorbic acid. The compound and the characteristic variation are isomeric atoms and are exchangeable. In simple terms, this implies that both these supplements have a similar molecular formula; however, they have an alternate chemical structure, and you can trade one supplement for the other.

L-ascorbic acid is usually known as vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is crucial to the everyday function, development, and regeneration of tissues. It is especially significant in collagen creation. It offers structure to the body and contributes back to the organs. Ascorbic acid is needed as a cofactor by the enzymes that interest the amalgamation of collagen. So, while D-ascorbic acid isn't physiologically significant, we cannot survive without the other form of ascorbic acid. 

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Why do we need Vitamin C?  

Vitamin C enables the body to make collagen, a significant protein used to make skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and veins. Vitamin C is essential for mending wounds and for maintaining and repairing teeth and bones. It additionally enables the body to retain iron. For lighting up a dull complexion and eradicating sun spots, vitamin C is the best ingredient quality. It kills free radicals and secures the skin against UV light and other ecological aggressors, just as obstructing pigmentation's irregular creation.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, alongside beta-carotene, vitamin E, and numerous other plant-based supplements. Antioxidants block the damage brought about by free radicals, substances that harm our DNA. After some time, the development of free radicals may add to the aging cycle and the advancement of ailments, for example, arthritis, cancer, and heart diseases. 

How does topical Vitamin C work on your skin? 

Topical vitamin C has appeared to support collagen creation, a protein in our body that assists in getting that plum look.

With aging, the production of collagen in the body starts decreasing. Utilizing an ingredient like vitamin C can help hinder skin aging.  

There are several other benefits of topical vitamin C:

1. It's a brightening agent 

Topical vitamin C can help blur pigmentation and smooth the skin's surface to decrease dullness. This gives the skin a great shine.  

2. It decreases redness and evens out your skin tone.  

Vitamin C has likewise been shown to treat several varieties of inflammatory skin conditions. Uneven skin can result from various elements, from sun introduction to hormones to injury. Vitamin C has acted as a warrior against redness, as it helps repair the harmed capillaries that cause this staining and reinforce them. 

3. Treatment of hyperpigmentation  

Vitamin C helps your skin when there is excess melanin formation and melanocytes' propagation in the other, most later (epidermis). Due to this excess melanin formation, skin problems like hyperpigmentation, including age spots, sun spots, and melasma, happens.  

4. Ideal for dry skin 

Several cell studies show that incorporating vitamin C in your skincare routine induces differentiation of keratinocytes ( a cell found in the epidermis) and develops lipids' production. Therefore, it influences the skin's ability to protect itself from water loss.  

5. Dealing with Wrinkles 

Aging is the key reason for wrinkles, and the cycle gets worse due to outside radicals, for example, exposure to UV radiation. The increment of wrinkles happens because of the change in the dermis and bottom layers of the skin. This change is caused due to loss of collagen production. Vitamin C can protect from wrinkle formation through improved collagen production. 

6. Wound Healing 

Wound healing is an intricate cycle with three fundamental stages; irritation, new tissue formation, and recovery. According to NCBI, ascorbic acid is involved in all stages of wound healing. When you are wounded, the plasma and tissues of ascorbic acid diminish, and supplements can help heal as vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen and can benefit in speedy recovery. 

7. Protects from skin inflammation

Inflammation in the skin underlies various weakening conditions. For example, acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis, including irritation and dryness vitamin C, are frequently utilized in anti-inflammatory formulations or as a part of the healing process.

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Vitamin C is an antioxidant agent. Antioxidants secure solid skin cells by providing these free radicals an electron. Vitamin C also monitors the skin for harsh zones, rosacea, sunburn, and discolored patches.

One study researched individuals with mild to moderate photodamage skin encountered a vast improvement in skin appearance, including roughness, fine lines, and skin tone after utilizing ascorbic acid for a very long time. 

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Who should stay away from vitamin C or ascorbic acid? 

Individuals with delicate skin may have hypersensitivity or redness from vitamin C. If you have sensitive skin, you should begin using vitamin C in smaller concentrations and do a patch test to ensure hypersensitivity. 

Did you know?

Since effective ascorbic acid doesn't absorb light in the UV-B/UV-A reach, please don't confuse it with sunscreen. 

Natural vitamin C vs Ascorbic Acid 

You can get your vitamin C in two different ways. The first is natural vitamin C, which you acquire by adding whole foods to your eating regime. On the other hand, there's synthetic vitamin C or ascorbic acid. This sort of vitamin C is human-made and utilized in dietary supplements.

According to various studies, synthetic and natural vitamin C are chemically similar, yet how your body reacts to them is an alternate story. At the point when you eat vitamin C-rich nourishments, you're getting vitamin C in its purest form. Besides, the expansion of different supplements can enable your body to absorb specific minerals and vitamins. When you focus on your daily vitamin C intake, your body benefits more from natural food sources than synthetic sources.  


Just remember that vitamin C is very demanding and is sensitive to air and light, and will break down during the long haul if exposed to these elements. If you need to get the ideal outcomes from your vitamin C serum or lotion, it should be in a dark, air-tight container to help guarantee the ingredient's stability.  


Vitamin C/ ascorbic acid/ L-ascorbic acid can reduce hyperpigmentation, heal blemishes, and provide you an even tone.

Always remember, consistency is key. So add vitamin C to your daily skincare practice according to your skin's convenience. And don't hesitate to consult a dermatologist when in doubt!