In the Kitchen: Vitamin C Serum
Yesterday I donned my Pretty Pretty Pretty lab coat and ventured in to the kitchen to make a batch of vitamin C serum.
I’d seen mention of a home-made version of this serum at a number of places around the internet, and eventually settled on the very simple recipe I found on this natural skincare site (where you can read more on vitamin C in skincare):
- 5ml water
- 1/4 tsp ascorbic acid powder
- 5ml glycerin
After a bit of a wander around various supermarkets and heath food shops in the Hutt, I eventually found the ascorbic acid powder at Commonsense Organics at $20 for a 125g bag. More than I wanted to spend, but at a quarter of a teaspoon per batch it will go a long way (and if it all goes horribly wrong I can take it orally for some extra winter vitamin C). The glycerin I bought from the supermarket for $3.
I first dissolved the ascorbic acid powder in the water in an old amber glass dropper bottle–light degrades vitamin C so clear glass is not suitable for this. It was slow to dissolve so I left it for about an hour–stopping by for the occasional shake–until all the crystals had disappeared. Then I added the glycerin and put it into the fridge.
Come night time I washed my face as usual, put a few drops of the serum onto the palm of my hand, rubbed my hands together to disperse it and then applied it to my face and the backs of my hands. As the mixture is acidic I found it stung a little around my nostrils which are slightly raw at the moment, but other than that I had no reaction (bearing in mind that my skin isn’t sensitive–think more along the lines of the arse-end of a rhino).
I went to bed and all was well and good until I woke up at 3am to the distinctive smell of fake tan. It was coming from the palms of my hands. I didn’t notice any smell from the backs of my hands where I had applied the serum and from what I could tell my face was fine too.
I dozed back off, slightly weirded out, but it wasn’t until about 6am I suddenly connected the smell of fake tan with the possibility of actually being fake tanned. Looking at my palms (after a good wash and a scrub) I think there is definitely some colour visible along the crease lines.
Poor quality photo:
Thankfully my face seems to be its usual pale self. But what happened?
The brief reading I have done online tells me that dihydroxyacetone (DHA)–the component of fake tan that is responsible for turning skin brown and the characteristic smell–is derived via microbial fermentation from glycerol a.k.a. glycerin.
So do I have freaky palms that emit some strange microbial sweat brew in the night? Was my glycerin, ascorbic acid powder, water, or dropper bottle contaminated? I don’t know enough chemistry to know if these are possibilities, but I’m pretty excited to perform round 2 of the experiment tonight to see if I get the same results again!
And I’ll let you know what–if any–effect the vitamin c serum has on my face too.