TikTok’s Viral Vitamin C Test Isn’t Foolproof—Here’s 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 possibly defend our pores and skin from aging caused by oxidative stress, enhance collagen manufacturing, and encourage a brighter complexion by suppressing hyperpigmentation. For these causes, it’s positively a staple ingredient that I like to recommend virtually everybody incorporate into their day by day routine.

That stated, vitamin C can have its downsides. The truth that it’s such a robust antioxidant can be what could make it a really unstable ingredient. Vitamin C at all times desires to be reacting with one thing, so the minute it comes into contact with air, gentle, or water, it oxidizes and is 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 positively not a very good factor.)

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

With all these caveats, it’s no marvel persons are intrigued by the viral vitamin C experiment made standard 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 concept 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 the whole lot else in relation to 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 guage 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. 

In line with Valerie, iodine is what’s referred to 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 coloration.

Merely put, once you add sure substances to an iodine resolution, that divalent bond can grow to be disrupted and the iodine molecules get break up up. That is what causes a coloration change. (Bear in mind placing iodine on a potato slice in grade faculty and watching it flip vibrant blue? This can be a related response that’s attributable to 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 grow to be 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 explanation I wish to stress that is that it’s not simply vitamin C that may scale back iodine. Iodine may very well be lowered by any sort of antioxidant, together with citric acid, lactic acid, or vitamin E. The response will also be attributable to different sorts of substances which have lowering energy, comparable to sodium hydroxide. Nearly all beauty formulation have a number of substances that would most likely contribute to a discount, so once you’re doing this experiment it’s tough to say if a response was triggered strictly by the vitamin C in a product. 

Not All Types of Vitamin C Are Capable of React With the Iodine 

One other manner by which this experiment is deceptive? Simply because a vitamin C serum doesn’t scale back the iodine doesn’t imply it received’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 Remedy. This product makes use of a secure, oil-soluble type of vitamin C referred to as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). The truth that THD is oil-soluble is likely one of the causes it may 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 inside 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 have a look at how a fancy vitamin C product reacts with iodine in a glass of water and straight translate that to the way it will work together together with your pores and skin. These are in the end two totally different eventualities 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 technique 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 substances generally present in skincare merchandise that would trigger the identical color-changing response. 

Subsequent, need assistance in relation to choosing the proper vitamin C serum on your pores and skin? Here are 5 things to look for

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