TikTok’s Viral Vitamin C Take a look at Is not Foolproof—Here is Why


By now, I’m positive you’ve heard numerous dermatologists, magnificence editors, and estheticians alike extol the pores and skin advantages of vitamin C. It may shield our pores and skin from growing older 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 nearly everybody incorporate into their day by day routine.

That mentioned, 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 all the time 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 factor.)

To make issues much more complicated, there are various totally different types of vitamin C that may be present in skincare formulation, they usually all have various levels of stability. 

With all these caveats, it’s no surprise persons are intrigued by the viral vitamin C experiment made well-liked on TikTok. The experiment entails 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 should be efficient. Vice versa, if it doesn’t flip clear, the vitamin C serum should be ineffective. 

Sadly—like every thing else on the subject of vitamin C—it’s not fairly that easy. 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 evaluate the efficacy of your serum. Right here goes!

Why Does Vitamin C Flip Iodine Clear?

To know why this response happens, we have to delve right into a little bit of a chemistry lesson. 

Based on Valerie, iodine is what’s referred to as a divalent molecule. This implies it prefers to be in pairs and can all the time be discovered sure to a different iodine molecule. When iodine molecules are paired up, they tackle a brownish or purple shade.

Merely put, once you add sure substances to an iodine resolution, that divalent bond can develop into disrupted and the iodine molecules get cut up up. That is what causes a shade change. (Keep in mind placing iodine on a potato slice in grade college and watching it flip vivid blue? This can be 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 develop 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 referred to as a discount. The rationale I need to stress that is that it’s not simply vitamin C that may scale back iodine. Iodine may very well be lowered by any kind of antioxidant, together with citric acid, lactic acid, or vitamin E. The response can be brought on by different kinds of components which have lowering energy, equivalent to sodium hydroxide. Virtually all beauty formulation have a number of components that would in all probability contribute to a discount, so once you’re doing this experiment it’s tough to say if a response was precipitated strictly by the vitamin C in a product. 

Not All Types of Vitamin C Are In a position to React With the Iodine 

One other manner during 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 out there to journey out of a skincare method and into the iodine resolution. 

Take, for instance, the Renée Rouleau Vitamin C&E Therapy. This product makes use of a steady, oil-soluble type of vitamin C referred to as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). The truth that THD is oil-soluble is without doubt one of the causes it could possibly penetrate into the pores and skin actually successfully, however it 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’ll be able to’t actually take a look at how a posh vitamin C product reacts with iodine in a glass of water and immediately translate that to the way it will work together together with your pores and skin. These are in the end two totally different situations involving utterly totally different chemistries. 

Backside Line

Whereas the vitamin C iodine experiment on Tik Tok is undoubtedly cool and visually satisfying, it’s deceptive. It’s not an correct methodology of measuring how efficient a vitamin C serum goes to be when utilized to your pores and skin, and there are a selection of different components generally present in skincare merchandise that would trigger the identical color-changing response. 

Subsequent, need assistance on the subject of selecting the best vitamin C serum on your pores and skin? Listed below are 5 issues to search for



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