By now, I’m certain you’ve heard numerous dermatologists, magnificence editors, and estheticians alike extol the pores and skin advantages of vitamin C. It will possibly shield our pores and skin from growing old brought on by oxidative stress, enhance collagen manufacturing, and encourage a brighter complexion by suppressing hyperpigmentation. For these causes, it’s undoubtedly a staple ingredient that I like to recommend virtually everybody incorporate into their every day routine.
That stated, vitamin C can have its downsides. The truth that it’s such a strong antioxidant can be what could make it a really unstable ingredient. Vitamin C at all times needs to be reacting with one thing, so the minute it comes into contact with air, gentle, or water, it oxidizes and is now not efficient. (Have you ever ever had a vitamin C serum that turned brown? That is what occurs when vitamin C oxidizes, and it’s undoubtedly not a great factor.)
To make issues much more complicated, there are various totally different types of vitamin C that may be present in skincare formulation.
With all these caveats, it’s no surprise individuals are intrigued by the viral vitamin C experiment made well-liked on TikTok. The experiment includes including a brown-colored iodine resolution to a glass of water, stirring it, then including a couple of drops of a vitamin C serum. The thought is that if the answer turns clear, the vitamin C serum have to be efficient. Vice versa, if it doesn’t flip clear, the vitamin C serum have to be ineffective.
Sadly—like the whole lot else in terms of vitamin C—it’s not fairly that straightforward. With the assistance of beauty chemist Valerie George, I’ll clarify how vitamin C can change the colour of iodine and why you shouldn’t be banking on this experiment to guage the efficacy of your serum. Right here goes!
Why Does Vitamin C Flip Iodine Clear?
To grasp why this response happens, we have to delve right into a little bit of a chemistry lesson.
In response to Valerie, iodine is what’s known as a divalent molecule. This implies it prefers to be in pairs and can at all times be discovered sure to a different iodine molecule. When iodine molecules are paired up, they tackle a brownish or purple colour.
Merely put, once you add sure substances to an iodine resolution, that divalent bond can turn into disrupted and the iodine molecules get break up up. That is what causes a colour change. (Keep in mind placing iodine on a potato slice in grade college and watching it flip vivid blue? It is a related response that’s brought on by iodine coming into contact with the starches in a potato.)
When Vitamin C is added to an iodine resolution, it breaks aside the bond becoming a member of the iodine molecules inflicting the brown resolution to turn into clear.
It’s Not Simply Vitamin C That Causes This Response
The kind of response we’re seeing on this TikTok experiment is what’s known as a discount. The explanation I wish to stress that is that it’s not simply vitamin C that may scale back iodine. Iodine might be diminished by any kind of antioxidant, together with citric acid, lactic acid, or vitamin E. The response can be brought on by different kinds of substances which have decreasing energy, similar to sodium hydroxide. Virtually all beauty formulation have a number of substances that might most likely contribute to a discount, so once you’re doing this experiment it’s tough to say if a response was induced strictly by the vitamin C in a product.
Not All Types of Vitamin C Are Accessible to React With the Iodine
One other manner through which this experiment is deceptive? Simply because a vitamin C serum doesn’t scale back the iodine doesn’t imply it gained’t be efficient when utilized to the pores and skin. The reason being that not all types of vitamin C are going to be accessible to journey out of a skincare components and into the iodine resolution.
Take, for instance, the Renée Rouleau Vitamin C&E Remedy. This product makes use of a secure, oil-soluble type of vitamin C known as tetrahexyldecl ascorbate (THD). The truth that THD is oil-soluble is without doubt one of the causes it may well penetrate into the pores and skin actually successfully, but it surely additionally means you wouldn’t see a response after dropping it right into a glass of water the place there aren’t any oils current.
Moreover, there are enzymes throughout the pores and skin that slowly convert THD to pure ascorbic acid—one other response that may’t be replicated in a glass of water.
All this to say, you may’t actually take a look at how a posh vitamin C product reacts with iodine in a glass of water and instantly translate that to the way it will work together together with your pores and skin. These are finally two totally different eventualities involving utterly totally different chemistries.
Whereas the vitamin C iodine experiment on Tik Tok is undoubtedly cool and visually satisfying, it’s deceptive. It’s not an correct technique of measuring how efficient a vitamin C serum goes to be when utilized to your pores and skin, and there are a variety of different substances generally present in skincare merchandise that might trigger the identical color-changing response.
Subsequent, need assistance in terms of selecting the best vitamin C serum on your pores and skin? Listed here are 5 issues to search for.
Movie star Esthetician & Skincare Skilled
As an esthetician educated in beauty chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching pores and skin, educating her viewers, and constructing an award-winning line of merchandise. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives across the globe, her huge real-world data and fixed analysis are why Marie Claire calls her “probably the most passionate pores and skin practitioner we all know.”