Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (ATIP or branded VC-IP) is the tetraester of ascorbic acid and isopalmitic acid. It is a clinically proven, stable, oil-soluble vitamin C derivative. It offers superior percutaneous absorption and effectively converts to free vitamin C in the skin. This multi-functional ingredient inhibits tyrosinase and melanogenesis activity to brighten, protects from UV-induced damage, provides potent antioxidant functionality, and supports collagen synthesis.
Two names for the same thing?
It is often cited that ATIP and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THDA) are two names for the same thing. They indeed have many similarities, including the same molecular weight and even the same CAS identification number (although this is being changed!). In truth, they are each their own unique chemical.
So how do they differ? As far as the chemistry goes, while ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is the combination of ascorbic acid and isopalmitic acid 14-methylpentadecanoic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is formed by combining ascorbic acid with 2-hexyldecanoic acid.1 2 Because of this, the chemical structures of ATIP and THDA differ slightly as shown in the figure.
The manufacturers of VC-IP claim that ATIP is a bit trickier to produce, which may have impacts on functions such as skin permeability—justifying its higher price. ATIP also claims more extensive efficacy data showing impressive results even at low usage levels, where THDA is not quite as well studied.
That said, it may or may not make a difference in practice. In the current market, they are often sold by cosmetic ingredient manufacturers interchangeably and both oil-soluble forms are excellent, largely indistinguishable vitamin C actives.3 Even the studies and patents published by the manufacturers themselves reference these ingredients synonymously, so don’t stress too much about which vitamin C ester you’re getting.
What ATIP can do
Here are some scientifically proven Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate benefits:
- Remains in the skin cells forty to eighty times longer than L-ascorbic acid and will have as much as four times the effect4
- Allows for faster percutaneous absorption than other forms of vitamin C5—cells absorb 10 times the concentration of ATIP compared to L-ascorbic acid (manufacturer’s study)
- Is a proven precursor of Vitamin C and effectively suppresses UVB-induced skin pigmentation6
- Reduces trans-epidermal water loss, increases skin elasticity, and visibly improves skin texture5
 Vitamin C tetraisopalmitate. (2022). Retrieved 7 September 2022, from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/10124498
 Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. (2022). Retrieved 7 September 2022, from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/10260680
 Wong, M. (2022). Vitamin C Esters: Are ATIP and THDA the Same Thing? | Lab Muffin Beauty Science. Retrieved 7 September 2022, from https://labmuffin.com/vitamin-c-esters-are-atip-and-thda-the-same-thing/
 Stamford, N. (2012). Stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives. Journal Of Cosmetic Dermatology, 11(4), 310-317. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12006
 Pilot evaluation of safety, efficacy, and tolerability of a new topical formulation for facial hyperpigmentation, combining ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate and crosslinked resilient hyaluronic acid. (2018). Journal Of The American Academy Of Dermatology, 79(3), AB222. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2018.05.889
 Ochiai, Y., Kaburagi, S., Obayashi, K., Ujiie, N., Hashimoto, S., Okano, Y., Masaki, H., Ichihashi, M., & Sakurai, H. (2006). A new lipophilic pro-vitamin C, tetra-isopalmitoyl ascorbic acid (VC-IP), prevents UV-induced skin pigmentation through its anti-oxidative properties. Journal of dermatological science, 44(1), 37–44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdermsci.2006.07.001