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Vitamin C Serum pH question
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aa6660
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Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:50 am      Reply with quote
A lot of use are making up our own Vitamin C serums. You can use basic math to estimate the % Vitamin C, but how many are actually testing the pH?

From what I read in the other threads, the serum (or maybe they referred specifically to the LAA) needs to be at a pH of 3.5 or less.

I also found a post where they said that some sites said that the pH needed to be closer to 2.0 to get more than just the antioxidant properties. As a reply to that post, someone said that a pH of 2.0 would be too irritating to use daily.

I tested my serum and came up with a 2.0 pH. I have been using it twice a day for the past week with no problems. As I am starting on Retin A this week, I did add a bit more distilled water to my serum this morning. The pH still tested at 2.0, but the color was getting a bit closer to the 2.5 pH.

So, here are some questions...
How many test their pH?
What is the pH of your serum?
If you want to raise the pH of your serum, what do you normally do?
What do you think caused your low pH?
If you want to lower the pH of your serum, what do you normally do?
What do you think caused your serum to have a higher pH?
What do you find more important - the pH or the % Vitamin C? From my basic understanding, you want a pH between 2.0 and 3.5 and you want at least a 5% Vitamin C concentration (some sites said 10%, but others said there was new evidence that 5% was enough <possibly slower though>).
Kassy_A
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Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:23 pm      Reply with quote
aa6660 wrote: So, here are some questions...

How many test their pH?
I do, and like to keep it between 2.5 + 3.3

What is the pH of your serum?
3.2 for my last one

If you want to raise the pH of your serum, what do you normally do?
To raise ph you can add HA or SKB

What do you think caused your low pH?
The more LAA added to the serum, the lower the ph will be

If you want to lower the pH of your serum, what do you normally do?
Add more LAA or MAP

What do you think caused your serum to have a higher pH?
Adding all those extras that people always ask me about.. Laughing (The best C serums, are the simplest ones!) Save the rest for other creams and serums.. Not enough LAA will also result in a higher ph

What do you find more important - the pH or the % Vitamin C?
Without the ph being 3.5 or lower your wasting your time, because it won't penetrate the skin, so that is most important to me

From my basic understanding, you want a pH between 2.0 and 3.5 and you want at least a 5% Vitamin C concentration (some sites said 10%, but others said there was new evidence that 5% was enough <possibly slower though>).
Your right on with the ph. The only thing to consider is whether or not your skin is sensitive, and if it is, keep the ph above 3.. Us hardy rhino hydes lot, can tolerate the 2's as well... As for %'s, for LAA 15% is optimal, and will be readily absorbed by the skin. For MAP 5 to 10% is all that's needed. For THDA 7% incorporated with 10% LAA makes for a fairly rockin C serum.

Anyhoo, that's MHO ... Very Happy

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Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:32 pm      Reply with quote
Kassy_A,

I have really been enjoying reading your informative posts (and the whole forum, of course!).

I had found a recipe for C serum that contained ascorbic acid, distilled water, and HA. It is my understanding that I should NOT be using HA in the actual serum. If I'm reading it right, the HA raises the ph balance to higher than 3.5 which is exactly what you don't want. Do I have that correct? Is it OK to use the HA serum after the C serum, as long as I wait at least 30 minutes?

I made a batch of the C serum tonight, and I used 3 tsp. distilled water, 1/4 tsp. E oil, 1 1/2 tsps. glycerin, and 1 tsp. l-ascorbic acid. It feels a bit "sticky", if that makes sense, so I'm wondering if I could reduce the glycerin without messing up the ph balance. I ordered some ph strips tonight, but they won't be here for a few days yet.

Sorry for asking so many questions! Smile
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:16 am      Reply with quote
Or maybe it's the E that's making it sticky? I couldn't find pure E oil, so I used some from pure E capsules. Could that be the problem?
aa6660
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:08 am      Reply with quote
JLeigh wrote:
Kassy_A,

I have really been enjoying reading your informative posts (and the whole forum, of course!).

I had found a recipe for C serum that contained ascorbic acid, distilled water, and HA. It is my understanding that I should NOT be using HA in the actual serum. If I'm reading it right, the HA raises the ph balance to higher than 3.5 which is exactly what you don't want. Do I have that correct? Is it OK to use the HA serum after the C serum, as long as I wait at least 30 minutes?

I made a batch of the C serum tonight, and I used 3 tsp. distilled water, 1/4 tsp. E oil, 1 1/2 tsps. glycerin, and 1 tsp. l-ascorbic acid. It feels a bit "sticky", if that makes sense, so I'm wondering if I could reduce the glycerin without messing up the ph balance. I ordered some ph strips tonight, but they won't be here for a few days yet.

Sorry for asking so many questions! Smile


Not Kassy, but I thought I would chime in. I don't know how much HA you would need to add, but I made a very similar C recipe (used 1 tsp LAA, 3-4 tsp distilled H2O, 1 tsp propylene glycol <as an alternate to glycerin since I have oily skin>, and a few drops of vitamin E <bottle said vitamin E acetate, purchased from TPF>).

When I tested my serum, it came out at 2.0 according to my test strips which don't go any lower than 2.0 and measure in 0.5 increments. It may be that your serum is actually already a pretty low pH and you actually have a bit of room to work with the HA as long as you weren't adding much. You would also want to be careful not to add too much which would decrease your vitamin C %, but by my calculations, your C is already at about 21% which may be higher than you need. I think you could safely add another tsp of an ingredient and still be at over 17%. Even adding another 2 tsp looks to be around 14.8%. (Assuming my math is any good - pretty early in the morning for anyone to trust my math skills!)
aa6660
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:13 am      Reply with quote
JLeigh wrote:
Or maybe it's the E that's making it sticky? I couldn't find pure E oil, so I used some from pure E capsules. Could that be the problem?


My skin feels a bit stick, too, at first. I didn't use glycerin, so it may very well be the vitamin E since we both used that. It's a very similar feeling to when I used to use aloe vera gel on my face. Sticky for a bit, but then it absorbs and all is fine. Right now, I don't mind the sticky part, because that makes me wait a few minutes before applying anything else.
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:38 am      Reply with quote
Thank you aa6660! This is all very new to me, but I'm enjoying learning it very much. I've seen lots of C serum recipes here, but some of them have such long ingredient lists that I'm completely overwhelmed. So, I'm trying to stick to something that's simple yet effective. I liked the water/ascorbic acid/HA serum and the way it felt on my skin (no stickiness), but since I now realize I can't use that without blowing the PH balance, I'm trying to figure out what else I can put in instead.

As for the stickiness, it didn't go completely away, and my skin feels like it has "residue" on it or something this morning. I'm hoping I can figure out the culprit because I hate that feeling lol!
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:22 pm      Reply with quote
Very informative thread! It addresses all my questions too.

I'm using a very simple recipe right now that uses 1 tsp L-ascorbic acid crystals, 1/2 tsp rosehip seed oil and 30ml distilled water. The pH is around 2, but my skin is rhinohide! The rosehip seed oil gives it a little "body" and prevents it from drying out my skin while I wait 45 min for it to penetrate. It does turn out a lovely yellow color so I check it frequently to be sure the pH hasn't risen above 3.5, and it hasn't yet in the 2 weeks it takes to use it up. I mix some of this with HA and use it as a body spray before smoothing on jojoba oil. This really gets rid of any crepiness!

Thanks Kassy for your answers here! You really do make it a lot easier for us! =)

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Kassy_A
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:16 pm      Reply with quote
JLeigh wrote:
Kassy_A,

I have really been enjoying reading your informative posts (and the whole forum, of course!).

I had found a recipe for C serum that contained ascorbic acid, distilled water, and HA. It is my understanding that I should NOT be using HA in the actual serum. If I'm reading it right, the HA raises the ph balance to higher than 3.5 which is exactly what you don't want. Do I have that correct? Is it OK to use the HA serum after the C serum, as long as I wait at least 30 minutes?

I made a batch of the C serum tonight, and I used 3 tsp. distilled water, 1/4 tsp. E oil, 1 1/2 tsps. glycerin, and 1 tsp. l-ascorbic acid. It feels a bit "sticky", if that makes sense, so I'm wondering if I could reduce the glycerin without messing up the ph balance. I ordered some ph strips tonight, but they won't be here for a few days yet.

Sorry for asking so many questions! Smile


It's fine to use a *little* HA in your C serum, without throwing off the ph... And never use more than 1% in your formulation.

The things that will leave that bit of tacky feeling, if too much is used is; HA, SKB + Glycerin.

Usually when I post recipe's it's from trial and error, so those problems have for the most part been resolved.. This is one of the reasons it's hard for me to say what will be the result, when lots of folks say; "I changed this or that, or can I add this or that"...

I enjoy sharing all of the recipe's that have worked out well for myself, as well as my willing guinea pigs.. Laughing ... But I am in no way an authority on all of this, so please keep in mind, I'm learning along with the rest of you guys.

With all that said, here is my all time favorite C serum, that I go back to time and time again.. It's the most comparable to Skinceutical's C, E + FA, minus the 'panthenol', which can certainly be added.. I haven't found it to be at all tacky, and it remains a nicely textured off white serum.

15% C, E + Ferulic Acid Serum with HA, version A (03/24/09), 1oz

1 tsp L-Ascorbic Acid
1/4 tsp Ferulic Acid
1 cc/ml of Vitamin E Oil
1 cc/ml of Hyaluronic Acid
1 1/2 tsp SKB
4 tsp Distilled H2O

Use two shot glasses, in one dissolve the LAA in water. After the LAA has dissolved, add the FA to that + stir well. Mix all other ingredients in second shot glass, stirring each in well.... When the LAA + FA is fully dissolved (can take up to an hour!), then mix the contents of both together, stirring well, and put in in your 1oz dropper bottle.. Shake well.. It can be kept at room temp if away from heat and light, or refrigerated.. Shake before each use just because.. Very Happy
JLeigh
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:43 pm      Reply with quote
Thanks Kassy_A! I did see that recipe, and I am planning to try it once I feel more comfortable with the process.

I made a new simple batch and it's 1 tsp ascorbic acid, 3 tsps distilled water, 1 scant tsp glycerin, and a few drops of pure E. Do these measurements sound ok? I'm very confused about percentages and how much of something I can add to ascorbic acid and distilled water without raising the PH too high or watering the benefits of the C down. Does that make sense? Is there something someone can point me to like:

"with one tsp of ascorbic acid you can add up to X more teaspoons of liquid ingredients."

Or is this all just math (I'm terrible with math lol)?

Also, I have been using C serum on my eyelids. It's not bothering them any, but I'm wondering if it will help with that "crepey" look and feel. Will it give any "lift" over time?
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:47 pm      Reply with quote
Or maybe I didn't see that recipe! Goodness, my head is spinning with all the info on here. Laughing
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Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:00 am      Reply with quote
Nope, you didn't see this exact recipe... Some I've posted are 'similar'..

I didn't share this one previously, because I've had a little trouble incorporating the HA in without winding up with goop.. (I'm still not absolutely sure the HA wouldn't be better added slowly to the water phase.. Confused )

If anybody tackles it, or has a thought, I'd love to hear your suggestions..

It worked out time the last coule of times mixing as I indicated above, so my fingers are crossed for whoever try's it..

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Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:51 pm      Reply with quote
I got my PH strips today and promptly tested my C serum. It was 2.0, so now I know I have a little room to work with. And, since it finally hit me how to calculate the solution depending on what percentage I want of C (doh!), I now feel a little more confident experimenting and trying other C serum recipes. Very Happy
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Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:54 pm      Reply with quote
Kassy I"ve been making your C,E and ferulic recipe. I haven't bought any PH strips as I assume the PH would be the same everytime with the exact same ingredients everytime. Am I correct in my assumption?
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Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:05 pm      Reply with quote
Mishey wrote:
Kassy I"ve been making your C,E and ferulic recipe. I haven't bought any PH strips as I assume the PH would be the same everytime with the exact same ingredients everytime. Am I correct in my assumption?


If you go exactly by any of the recipe's I posted, without changing anything, they all come in under 3.3 ph.

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Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:14 pm      Reply with quote
Kassy_A wrote:
Mishey wrote:
Kassy I"ve been making your C,E and ferulic recipe. I haven't bought any PH strips as I assume the PH would be the same everytime with the exact same ingredients everytime. Am I correct in my assumption?


If you go exactly by any of the recipe's I posted, without changing anything, they all come in under 3.3 ph.


Excellent! Thanks. Very Happy
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Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:05 pm      Reply with quote
I'm going to be trying your recipe, Kassy, as soon as my ingredients arrive. I did have a question about something, though, if that's ok.

Kassy_A wrote:


It's fine to use a *little* HA in your C serum, without throwing off the ph... And never use more than 1% in your formulation.


When you say 1%, do you mean the 1% solution that you buy, or do you mean never let HA be more than 1% of your total formulation?

The reason I asked is that I was testing PH before and after adding about 1/4 tsp of the HA, and it didn't raise the PH. All in all, I added another 2 tsps or so of liquid, and the PH barely went up...in fact, I'm not even positive it DID go up. And, I may have now watered it down too much. I got the strips from Garden of Wisdom.
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Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:19 pm      Reply with quote
Hello all,
I currently make a day/night cream with Ascorbic acid (vitamin C ester) DMAE, ALA, AHA and micronized titanium dioxide. The first year it was fabulous, but it seems to become mealier and mealier (grainy and sticky) as I make each batch. Can anyone help me with this? I have seen sooo many blogs and heard many different theories...I have heard that you should never mix DMAE and ester C? I have heard that the T.D. can not be used with ALA??? Please advise. My basic recipe is Aloe, Coco butter, coconut and almond oil, mixed with dionized water, vitamin c, ALA, AHA, stearic acid, citric acid, emulsifying wax, glycerin, borax and xamthum gum.
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Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:33 am      Reply with quote
JLeigh wrote:


Kassy_A wrote:


It's fine to use a *little* HA in your C serum, without throwing off the ph... And never use more than 1% in your formulation.


When you say 1%, do you mean the 1% solution that you buy, or do you mean never let HA be more than 1% of your total formulation?


Yes, no more than 1% of your total formulation. (I didn't make myself clear, but the main thing with HA isn't so much as the ph factor, as it is detrimental to your skin if you use too much. HA holds 1000 times it's weight in water, so if you don't supply enough water, my common sense tells me it will get it elsewhere... Mainly from your skin and/or cells.)

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♥I'm flattered by all the lovely PM's, but I don't get here much these days. Please don't be afraid to post your quearies to other DIY members who will be glad to help you (or sell you their wares..lol) Still happy with LED, dermarolling and a DIY antioxidant regime. Peace & Hugs to all.♥
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Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:50 pm      Reply with quote
where do you all suggest buying a
vitmain c/l-ascorbic acid...to mix with water by myself?
Rita from Pro-light recommends this possibly before a light treatment..
Thanks Smile
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Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:44 pm      Reply with quote
mandapanda wrote:
where do you all suggest buying a
vitmain c/l-ascorbic acid...to mix with water by myself?
Rita from Pro-light recommends this possibly before a light treatment..
Thanks Smile


I'm glad to hear she finally saw the *light*.. Very Happy

bulkactives.com + thepersonalformulator.com have nice vitamin C products for DIY.

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♥I'm flattered by all the lovely PM's, but I don't get here much these days. Please don't be afraid to post your quearies to other DIY members who will be glad to help you (or sell you their wares..lol) Still happy with LED, dermarolling and a DIY antioxidant regime. Peace & Hugs to all.♥
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Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:02 am      Reply with quote
Kassy_A wrote:
JLeigh wrote:


Kassy_A wrote:


It's fine to use a *little* HA in your C serum, without throwing off the ph... And never use more than 1% in your formulation.


When you say 1%, do you mean the 1% solution that you buy, or do you mean never let HA be more than 1% of your total formulation?


Yes, no more than 1% of your total formulation. (I didn't make myself clear, but the main thing with HA isn't so much as the ph factor, as it is detrimental to your skin if you use too much. HA holds 1000 times it's weight in water, so if you don't supply enough water, my common sense tells me it will get it elsewhere... Mainly from your skin and/or cells.)


Thank you for the info. Smile

I am about to make the recipe you posted in this thread, and I have a quick question. Is this the recipe that doesn't seem to cause blackheads? I have been noticing blackheads (they aren't very noticeable) where I never had any before, and it's driving me crazy.
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Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:56 am      Reply with quote
JLeigh wrote:

I am about to make the recipe you posted in this thread, and I have a quick question. Is this the recipe that doesn't seem to cause blackheads? I have been noticing blackheads (they aren't very noticeable) where I never had any before, and it's driving me crazy.


I hate to toot my own horn, but the fact is I haven't had any problems with blackheads, since I started using my own C serum..

It's only my opinion, but I think the blackheads come from a product that has already begun to oxidize.

Also be sure to apply 'any' C serum a little at a time, and rub in each area well. Don't forget the tops of the hands and forearms! (You can afford to do that when you make your own ... Very Happy )

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Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:20 am      Reply with quote
mandapanda wrote:
where do you all suggest buying a
vitmain c/l-ascorbic acid...to mix with water by myself?
Rita from Pro-light recommends this possibly before a light treatment..
Thanks Smile

Is Rita recommending putting the c serum on for about 15 minutes and then washing it off before using the light or leaving it on while using the light?
Toby

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Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:57 am      Reply with quote
It was in the packet that came with the prolight..It is the advanced LED treatment..
where you derma roll and then use the light, and then put the C on as a mask for ten minutes and rinse off and then ice cube your face, and apply emu oil or another oil.
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