Are Other Vitamin CE Ferulic Serums As Effective as Skinceuticals?: Cosmetics Solutions, Timeless, Skinmedica Compared

Ever since Dr. Sheldon Pinnell discovered vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid could stimulate the production of collagen in the skin in 1992, vitamin C skin care has been popular.  Dr. Pinnell was instrumental in the development of Cellex-C and later founded Skinceuticals.

The ingredients within its best-selling product, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($118.99,, were found to boost sun protection when applied under sunscreen by four-fold, as published in the American Journal of Dermatology in 2005.

Despite the fact Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is patented (US patent number: 20050154054), several alternative products now exist. This is because the patent explicitly only includes vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid between a pH of 2.5 and 3.0, whereas the alternatives include tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate or magnesium ascorbyl palmitate and/or a slightly higher pH.

[Read more: What are the Best Vitamin CE Serums?]

Pinnell’s arguments: Time-tested?

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

One reason Dr. Pinnell argues it is still best to buy Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is because a pH of 3.5 or lower is required for optimal activity (Dermatologic Surgery), and his patent requires no CE Ferulic serum to have a pH between 2.5 and 3.0 (Patent 20050154054). However, a quick pH test demonstrates that most of the competitive serums have a pH between 3.0 and 3.5 – low enough to be effective, but not so low so as to violate the patent. This includes the popular Cosmetics Solutions CE Ferulic Combination Treatment ($39.95,, which contains the same exact assortment of ingredients as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, but in concentrations that result in a slightly higher (and non-patent-violating) pH.