Ascorbic Acid

What is it?

Ascorbic Acid, also known as Vitamin C, is a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties found in many foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and red peppers.  It is an essential nutrient for the human body and also a common dietary supplement.

Historically, it was common knowledge to sailors in the 18th century that lemon and lime juice could help prevent scurvy. By early 1907, two Norwegian physicians investigating dietary-deficiency diseases discovered an essential disease-preventing compound in foods, which eventually came to be called vitamin C.

What does it do?

Ascorbic acid’s primary function in our personal care products is as an antioxidant. While ascorbic acid when taken as a supplement helps prevent cell damage in the human body, the antioxidant properties in the finished product help to protect the product integrity and extend the shelf life of the product. It can also be used as a pH adjuster.

How is it made?

Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.

Ascorbic acid can be sourced from citrus fruits or prepared from corn glucose by a method based on the historical “Reichstein process”. The ascorbic acid that we use is derived from citrus fruits.

What are the alternatives?

There are many ingredients with antioxidant properties, including vitamin E – another commonly used natural antioxidant. There are also many synthetic antioxidants like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) that Tom’s of Maine would not consider as they do not meet our Stewardship Model guidelines.

Is this the right option for me?

Ascorbic acid is ingested as a dietary supplement by many people daily. It has been recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).1

Tom's of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.

1 21 CFR 183.3013 and 21 CFR 8.013