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What Is Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate?

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is included in many skin care products to reduce discoloration and wrinkles.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 April 2014
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Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sometimes referred to as MAP, is a substitute for topical vitamin C. It is believed to be effective in fighting wrinkles, correcting discoloration, and helping to maintain a generally healthy appearance of the skin. It may be found in beauty products such as face masks, sunscreen, and body creams. It is sometimes used as a substitute for those who cannot tolerate absorbic acid.

It is widely believed that vitamin C can be an effective skin care agent. When applied topically, some research shows that the vitamin can help fight fine lines and wrinkles and promote collagen production. Including vitamin C in beauty products is problematic, however, because it is not stable when exposed to air, which reduces its effectiveness. Furthermore, the problem cannot be solved by consuming excessive amounts of vitamin C in a person's diet because the body limits the amount that is absorbed.

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which is a vitamin C derivative, is one solution that has been developed. This ingredient is water-soluble, which means it is stable when introduced into a watery substance. When applied topically, MAP is believed to penetrate and trigger enzymes in the skin to use it as a building block to create absorbic acid, which is the beneficial skin care agent in vitamin C. It is also believed that this process helps promote the generation of collagen.

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MAP can be found in a wide range of skin care and beauty products including face creams, face masks, and foundation. Those who are concerned about sufficient amounts in their skin care products and those who make their own skin care products can purchase magnesium ascorbyl phosphate separately and add it to other products themselves. In this form, MAP is generally white or yellowish white non-odorous powder or granules. When added to other products it is likely to become a transparent liquid and may change the consistency of the product it was mixed into.

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate has shown potential as a skin lightening agent, as it appears to inhibit skin cells from producing melanin, which is a natural skin coloring agent. It also appears to lighten dark spots already present on the skin. This vitamin C derivative has been included in a number of products in countries such as the United States (US), Poland, and Taiwan for this purpose.

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