Vitamin C or Hydroxytyrosol? Which is the best choice for your skin?

Much has been written and said about the benefits of vitamin C for the skin: if you have landed here, you probably know that l-ascorbic acid is now considered as a real superstar among the INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient – internationally recognized names for ingredients on cosmetic labels, listed in descending order of percentage used).

Its worldwide fame is due to an improvement in the appearance of skin tone and a more uniform texture. Keep reading to know why vitamin C has been increasingly receiving attention from cosmetic industry and if you need to incorporate it in your daily skin care routine.

What are the benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C has become a game-changer in our skincare routine, acting as an anti-inflammatory agent through its high antioxidant capacity. When used consciously and according to common sense, it works as an effective scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

However, those who use cosmetic products based on vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid must know that there may be contraindications and/or side effects. While it can be very efficacious there are some considerations to determine if it is the right antioxidant treatment for you.

The main reason why some skin types react badly to vitamin C is that L-ascorbic acid is very unstable and oxidizes when exposed to air, light, and heat. Oxidation causes vitamin C to become less potent over time and eventually inactive.

The telltale sign of oxidation is when the product turns progressively darker and eventually a dark brown. No one wants to throw money away – a good vitamin C product should be bottled in an airless packaging system and stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight (better yet, in your skin care drawer).

To increase stability and absorption, vitamin C products are often formulated at a low acidic pH (2-3.5). For those with sensitive skin, this may cause skin irritation, an undesirable side effect.

Sometimes, products are formulated at even lower acidic pH level which even persons without skin sensitivity might find irritating. As every person is different and reacts differently, it is really trial-and-error to discover the right product and pH level that works for you. 

When introducing vitamin C into your routine, start slowly to build up skin tolerance. Choose a lower formulaic percentage and a less acidic pH. Gradually, if right for you, you can progressively increase the percentages with lower acidic pH levels.

As a general precaution, vitamin C, retinol, and chemical exfoliants should be used separately on alternating evenings. That is, none of them should be used together on the same evening as this can cause skin irritation and sensitivity.

When used in the morning, follow vitamin C with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. 

Why Hydroxytyrosol is the best alternative to Vitamin C

So, vitamin C may not be for everyone. Is this a dead end for those who experienced irritation from using it, but still want to add a powerful antioxidant to their skin care routine? Not at all!

We have good news for you. There is an equally efficacious antioxidant alternative to vitamin C, which is even easier to use: Hydroxytyrosol. Vitamin C is frequently marketed as the point of refence for the antiaging benefits of antioxidants.

Before going on, we’d like to point out that we don’t support the use of the word “antiaging” in cosmetic industry, as we think it is a misleading, out of date and misogynistic marketing term.

The truth is that there are no miracle creams that can reverse time. Antioxidants are not antiaging, but pro-aging and fundamental in preventative skin care.

Hydroxytyrosol is the new star of antioxidant skin care (pronounced high-droxy-tie-row-soul). It is the phytocomplex antioxidant born from olive, olive leaves, and olive oil. While vitamin C is famous all over the world, Hydroxytyrosol is actually the skin care industry’s best kept secret. Industry insiders know very well its true antioxidant benefits: an extremely high antioxidant activity and efficacy, stability, and equally important, gentleness.

So, why is it not more famous? Why is it not more widely used? Because it is notoriously difficult to formulate. No one has been able to harness its true antioxidant capacity. Until now.

Before we compare, let’s look at the similarity between vitamin C and Hydroxytyrosol. They are the two best antioxidants in cosmetics to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals disrupt healthy skin cells and can breakdown collagen and elastin which can lead to premature aging (think fine lines and skin sagging).

The biggest generator of free radicals? The sun and pollution, both of which we cannot escape in modern life. Hydroxytyrosol and vitamin C effectively neutralizes free radicals.

So, what’s different about Hydroxytyrosol? Importantly, a landmark study has shown that Hydroxytyrosol recharges vitamin C. To compare, Resveratrol, another famous antioxidant active, found in grapes, is unable to do it. The study investigated the effects of daily administration of purified Hydroxytyrosol in fourteen volunteers for 8 weeks.

The results showed that vitamin C increased by two-fold at predetermined intervals (after 4 and 8 weeks) compared with levels at baseline, indicating a physiologically relevant antioxidant function for Hydroxytyrosol through increasing endogenous vitamin C levels (E. Lopez-Huertas, J. Fonolla, Hydroxytyrosol supplementation increases vitamin C levels in vivo. A human volunteer trial, Redox Biol 11, 384-389, 2017).

Recall earlier, that vitamin C, and namely its most efficacious form, l-ascorbic acid, is highly unstable and oxidizes easily. Hydroxytyrosol, on the other hand, is more stable and studies have shown it can survive in oxidizing environments. Therefore, its antioxidant activity remains efficacious and potent for longer (see: Avola R. et al., Hydroxytyrosol from olive fruits prevents blue-light-induced damage in human keratinocytes and fibroblasts, J Cell Physiol, 2019).

Since Hydroxytyrosol is more stable, it does not need to be formulated at an acidic pH like vitamin C. At Beauty Thinkers, we formulate at a skin compatible pH between 5-5.5 (a crucial factor for persons with sensitive skin).

A neutral pH also means that you can immediately use Hydroxytyrosol daily. You don’t need to slowly build up skin tolerability to avoid skin irritation caused by a low acidic pH formulation. This also means, you can use Hydroxytyrosol on the same evenings as retinol or chemical exfoliants (NOTE: retinol and chemical exfoliants should still not be used together on the same evenings).

For those who use these actives, you know how this is a game-changer in terms of time and keeping track of your “on and off” nights.

Finally, remember earlier we mentioned that a good vitamin C product should be bottled in an airless packaging system? At Beauty Thinkers we use an exclusive Italian-designed airless glass bottle which is refillable. Further, all our bottles are completely lacquered to protect our formulations from light while sitting on your shelf. Please still store away from direct sunlight.

While vitamin C is certainly famous around the world and we ourselves love it, consumers must pay attention when using it. It can work terrifically for some, for others it can be too complicated to use, while for still others, it may be inappropriate to their skin conditions.

Hydroxytyrosol is the perfect alternative antioxidant to vitamin C. Which is why we call it the new star of antioxidant potency.

Why we created a Hydroxytyrosol-based skin care line

At Beauty Thinkers, we created a skin care line that promotes the idea of holistic prevention and supports pro-aging.

Small daily gestures can enhance our health and well-being. We pay much attention to our nutrition, we engage in fitness to keep our bodies moving, so why shouldn’t we use the best skin care products to look and feel our absolute healthy best?

We started with the concept of reuse. We have invested in biotech and green chemistry. Our Hydroxytyrosol is exclusively sourced from 1) the upcycling of the press water by-product when producing our own Italian extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and 2) our biotechnologically converted Italian EVOO. In fact, we have invested in research, with a 7-year journey, to learn how to harness the antioxidant power of nature’s best kept secret, Hydroxytyrosol.

Our Olive Extract is upcycled from said press water separated from the milling of our olives, uniquely native of Umbria. Our Antioxidant Cream moisturizing antioxidant serum, formulated with our Olive Extract, contains the highest level of Hydroxytyrosol antioxidant activity in the market today.

Our Enzymatic EVOO, the only Italian Enzymatic EVOO in the world, uses our biotechnologically converted native Umbrian olives. Our Antioxidant Boost Facial Oil, formulated with our Enzymatic EVOO, is the original vanishing texture – it is non-greasy and fast absorbing.

It boosts the antioxidant activity of your favorite products. And unlike all plant-based facial oils which only soften the skin, our Enzymatic EVOO directly supports the skin barrier by nourishing it.

The benefits of Hydroxytyrosol for your skin can be surprising. Did you know that it plays a key role in counteracting the signs of damage caused by blue light-generated free radicals?  

Blue light, also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, is a color in the visible light spectrum and has recently been reported to cause skin damage. The largest source of blue light is sunlight, but it is also emitted by smartphones, tablets, and computer monitors. However, the amount of blue light exposure we get from digital screens is small if compared to the one from the sun. Blue light activates the production of melanin in our skin, leading to hyperpigmentation.

A recent study has shown that Hydroxytyrosol extracted from olive fruits protects keratinocytes and fibroblasts from blue light-induced damage. This is good news for those who are not big fans of BB creams and foundations (Avola R. et al., Hydroxytyrosol from olive fruits prevents blue-light-induced damage in human keratinocytes and fibroblasts, J Cell Physiol, 2019).

Discover the Hydroxytyrosol difference in all of our Beauty Thinkers products.


Hydrator 1 Nourishing

Price — 53.00 


Hydrator 3 Barrier Support

Price — 68.00 


UVA UVB SPF30 Mineral Filter

Price — 88.00 


Antioxidant Cream

Price — 88.00 

[Mo.] [Oi.]

Antioxidant Boost

Price — 58.00 

[Uv.] [Ki.]

Prevention Kit

Price — 263.00 

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