3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid: A Stable, Vitamin C-Derived Agent for Skin Whitening

A flawless complexion is without doubt a desirable attribute across many cultures. Especially in Asia, the obsession with whiter skin has greatly evolved, shifting from beauty to a sign of social class and representing sophistication, innocence, femininity and higher social stature. To achieve this lightening effect, product developers leverage active ingredients such as vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, which is not only a septicemia inhibitor, but also an effective reducing agent that can momentarily retard the melanin-biosynthesis pathway in skin. Vitamin C is also known to protect skin from ultraviolet B (UVB) damage and enhance collagen synthesis, therefore it is widely used in cosmetics as a whitening ingredient, especially in Asia. Due to its instability, however, several derivatives of it have been developed for cosmetic application; for example, ethyl ascorbic acid, magnesium L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate, L-ascorbic acid 2-glucoside and sodium ascorbyl phosphate.

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