3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid



3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid at a glance

  • A more stable derivative of pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Has water- and oil-soluble properties
  • Capable of fading hyperpigmentation
  • Offers anti-aging benefits on par with vitamin C

3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid description

3-O ethyl ascorbic acid is a stable, water- and oil-soluble derivative of pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that offers all of the primary benefits vitamin C is known for, such as brightening, wrinkle reduction, visible firming, fading hyperpigmentation to restore a more even skin tone and offsetting numerous triggers of environmental damage. As a modified and more stable version of pure vitamin C, 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid must be converted to vitamin C within skin by sodium-dependent proteins. This process within skin’s surface layers helps ensure skin benefits. Due to the conversion to pure vitamin C being a slower process, 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid is considered a more tolerable form of vitamin C. However, like pure vitamin C, the ethyl form requires an acidic pH range (4–5.5) for optimum stability. This pH range is higher than what ascorbic acid needs for ideal stability, making 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid an intriguing alternative if your skin hasn’t been able to tolerate higher-strength (10% and up) vitamin C (ascorbic acid) products. Research has shown which non-irritating ingredients aid the penetration of this ingredient into skin’s surface, and they include pentylene glycol, glycerin, 1,2 hexanediol, diisostearyl malate and various propylene glycol derivatives, although this list is not exhaustive. Usage levels of 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid in skin care typically fall between 0.5–5%. Due to its stability, lesser amounts are needed compared with pure vitamin C. Levels above 5% may also be used, depending on desired benefits. Amounts up to 30% have been shown to be non-irritating on human skin samples.

3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid references

  • Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2021, pages 151–169
  • Life, May 2021, pages 1–13
  • International Journal of Pharmaceutics, December 2019, pages 1–9
  • Journal of Cosmetic Science, July-August 2018, pages 233–243
  • AAPS PharmSciTech, June 2016, pages 767–777

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.