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Can I Mix Retinol And Vitamin C

Retinol Basics And Benefits

Mix Rules: Vitamin C, AHA/BHA/Retinol | Find the Best Ingredients Layering for your Skincare Routine

Next up is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. Retinoids are over the counter, while a dermatologist must prescribe retinoids. Many of the benefits of retinol are similar to vitamin C, although each ingredient works differently.

Retinol works by helping to increase the rate that the body can create and turn over new skin cells. What that means for your appearance is that your face is always showing the most youthful skin possible, which is often far more radiant and smooth.

That process can also keep more water inside the skin, increasing your hydration. Retinol also helps exfoliate to constantly clear off the dead skin cells from the skins surface.

Retinol can also help to trigger an increase in the production of collagen. Thats why so many consider it to be such an effective anti-aging skin care ingredient. This action method helps plump and firm the skin, leading to a decrease in the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.

Its also an ingredient that can effectively minimize the number of blemishes you experience. It does this by helping to regulate the production of sebum , which is a frequent clogging agent that can lead to breakouts.

Here are a few of the benefits that people can experience with topical retinol use:

  • Fights visible signs of aging
  • Evens the skin tone and reduces hyperpigmentation/dark spots
  • Brightens the skin

The only potential drawback of retinol is that it can irritate the skin, especially for people prone to sensitivity.

Is There A Benefit To Using Both Retinol And Vitamin C

“Vitamins A and C work incredibly well together,” explained Qureshi. “Whilst vitamin A regenerates and keeps the cells alive, vitamin C protects them from free radical damage and brightens the surface of the skin. So not only do you get a better texture and more voluminous facial tissue, but you also get bright and radiant-looking skin. They are a great tag team.” As long as you don’t layer them, that is.

Image Source: Getty / Anna Efetova

Hyaluronic Acid And Vitamin C

In the mood for bright, clear, plumped up skin? When using hyaluronic acid and vitamin C together in your routine, youre in for double the benefits. My Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum can be used daily morning and night. Vitamin C, found in my Brightening Vitamin C Mask and Brightening Eye Serum, can be used any time of day .

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Ways To Combine Retinol And Vitamin C

While retinol and vitamin C do work well together, some people prefer to space out their use. Here are two common ways vitamin C and retinol are added to the daily skincare routine to prevent skin sensitivity.


Using vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night provides your skin with the ultimate brightening and firming treatment.

Vitamin C visibly brightens your skin, so many people prefer to apply vitamin C in the morningafter all, who doesn’t want to start the day off with visibly brighter skin? Vitamin C also creates a protective barrier that defends the skin from the sun’s intense UV rays and the unpleasant photoaging effects they cause. Applying a vitamin C booster serum in the morning followed by a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 will preserve your skin’s youth and improve the appearance of dark spots.

Dermatologists recommend you use retinol at night since it increases the skin’s sensitivity, making it more susceptible to damage or irritation from heat and the sun’s UV rays. At night, apply a natural retinol serum that will tighten the skin and mitigate wrinkles, fine lines, and other imperfections while you sleep.


Do you already love your morning skincare routine? Add vitamin C and retinol at night instead to reap the benefits without changing up what’s already working well.

Can You Use Vitamin C With Retinol Or Derm

30ml Facial Repair Skin Serum Retinol Vitamin C Serum Firming Anti ...

According to Dr. Sheila Krishna, its totally fine to use vitamin C with over-the-counter retinol products or dermatologist-grade retinoidswhich, BTW, is the broader term for vitamin A derivatives, including retinol, tretinoin, and adapalene, just to name a few.Vitamin C and retinoids are thought to render each other ineffective because of their differing pHs, but thats not true. This study indicated that a combined retinol + vitamin C treatment is effective at treating photoaging.Though you can use vitamin C and retinoids together, we recommend getting them separately instead of as a combined product. You can then get the right concentration of each for your skin and adjust as necessary. Plus, the combo can aggravate some skin depending on the formula. But using them at different times of day can prevent that irritation.

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Why Use Vitamin C In Skincare

Vitamin C is a superstar antioxidant that protects and restores your skin. Its the most abundant antioxidant in human skin, but we cant synthesize it on our own. We need to get it from other sources. By adding Vitamin C to your skincare routine, you can boost your skins natural cell-protecting abilities.

Option : Am / Pm Switch Off

Use a vitamin C product in the morning and a retinol product at night. This switch-off option is great for everyone and is what most dermatologists recommend. It allows products to really shine without increasing the risk of skin irritation or mixing together ingredients that may not play well together. AM:

  • Cleanse as normal
  • Seal and protect with a heavy ultra-moisturizing night cream

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What Is Vitamin C And How Does It Work

Vitamin C is powerful antioxidant that can help prevent signs of aging and repair skin damage when used topically. In terms of prevention, vitamin C is excellent at protecting the skin from free radical damage caused by environmental aggressors, such as pollution, infrared light, and blue light, says Dr. Mraz Robinson.

On the reparative side, vitamin C also supports collagen synthesis and helps regulate melanin production to fade hyperpigmentation and give skin nice overall vibrancy and glow, says Dr. Mraz Robinson, adding that research has also shown that vitamin C, which is often found in the form of a serum, can boost the protective benefits of SPF when used together.

Mix With Hyaluronic Acid

Combining Vitamin C with ingredients like Retinol and Niacinamide – #AskDoctorAnne

Similarly, pairing a retinoid with a hydrating hyaluronic acid-based moisturizer is another good combination, according to Dr. Rabach. Retinoids are great because they can help tighten pores, decrease oil production, and get rid of dead skin. However, all of this can make the skin dry and flaky, she explains. That’s where hyaluronic acid comes in, a moisturizing ingredient that can ward off that unwanted dryness. And while it was once thought that applying a moisturizer before a retinoid would render the latter inactive, that’s not the case, says Dr. Mariwalla. Apply a light layer of the hyaluronic acid cream or serum first, followed by a pea-sized amount of the retinoid.

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What’s The Best Way To Get Vitamin C And Retinols

Vitamin C is at its most potent when it’s stable packaging it in serum capsules protects it from exposure to light andair that would make it less effective. Retinols seem to be most effective when found in creams and serums just make surethe ingredient in the formula says retinol.

To give your routine an anti-aging one-two punch, try first applying a vitamin C serum in the morning. In your nighttimeroutine, use a layer of a hydrating, retinol-based cream or a lightweight retinol oil. One study found that subjects usingstabilized vitamin C in a moisturizer and a retinol as part of their face regimen saw improvements in the look of discolorationsin as little as four weeks.

Unfortunately, there’s no real-life fountain of youth but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your skin feeling fresh andnew.

Alternate Vitamin C & Retinol Each Night

You dont always have to apply vitamin C in the morning since studies indicate that damage from UV exposure occurs hours after the initial exposure. The findings in the study suggest that using a nightly antioxidant prevents this damage. So, alternate vitamin C and retinol each night to reap the benefits without the concern of interactions.

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Incorporate Ahas & Bhas

BHAs are acids that are natural skin exfoliants, and AHAs are also natural skin exfoliants. Both amp up skincare benefits but irritate the skin if it is already sensitive to vitamin C or retinol. There are two ways to incorporate these acids correctly when using vitamin C and retinol.

  • Apply in the AM: Apply AHA or BHA in the morning and natural retinol at night. Doing this will decrease your skins sensitivity to the sun.
  • Stagger it: Use retinol one night and BHA the next, or try alternating vitamin C with AHAs and BHAs. Staggering these products helps prevent skin irritation and sensitivity.

Is It Ok To Use Retinol And Vitamin C Together

Can I Mix Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Retinol and Niacinamide?

Yes, it is OK to use retinol and vitamin C, but ideally not at the same time. This is important to remember as it removes any chance of the skin becoming too irritated.

With each ingredient delivering unique and similar results you may be tempted to layer the two together. The problem that will occur is the fact they work best at different pH levels and mixing products containing different pH levels then applying them onto the skin, which has another completely different pH level will result in irritation, and a lot of it! Not only that, but youll also find each active is unable to work to their potential which will basically result in you missing out on positive effects of these ingredients.

To gain optimal results, the best way of using retinol and vitamin C together is ensuring you leave plenty of time in between applications. Due to the nature of retinol requiring you to apply it in the evening, many find using vitamin C in the morning and retinol during their night-time routine is the easiest and most effective way of reaping the rewards of using both actives.

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Best Splurge Retinol: Maraevening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil

This luxury night oil encourages clear, radiant skin. A strong 1.2% retinol, and natural sources of vitamin A to rejuvenate and reveal healthy youthful-looking skin while algae extract moisturizes the skin and reduces fine lines and wrinkles alike. This phytonutrient powerhouse contains evening primrose, fermented green tea, and hemp-derived cannabis oil. It may be pricey, but you will be getting a bang for your buck with this multitasking face oil.

Can I Use Retinol And Vitamin C Together

Both Dr. Engelman and Dr. Mraz Robinson say yes, retinol and vitamin C should both absolutely be a part of your skincare routine. Having retinol and vitamin C in your skincare regimen is a great idea since both are powerful anti-agers that address skin appearance as well as skin health.

These ingredients are a dream team for tackling dullness, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, acne and acne scarring, and overall skin aging, says Dr. Mraz Robinson, noting that vitamin C and retinol are the two ingredients she recommends most to her patients.From a health perspective, vitamin C neutralizes free radicals and stressors on the skin, while retinol helps the skin to shed unhealthy and potentially pre-cancerous skin cells, so theyre very complementary.

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Differing Ph Levels Can Affect Absorption

One potential problem when using vitamin C and retinol together is their differing pH levels. Using them together might lower effectiveness and absorption. Layering active ingredients with differing pH levels might cause destabilization of one or both ingredients.

âVitamin C: requires a pH of 3.5 or lower for optimal absorption.

âRetinol: Retinol requires a skin pH of 5.0 to 6.0. There is a considerable pH gap. So when used together, pH levels might cause absorption and destabilization issues.

How Do Vitamin C & Retinol Work Together

Can You Use RETINOL and VITAMIN C Serum Together? | Chris Gibson

You may be wondering why you would use two products that create the same results together. Theres a lot of confusion around the idea of using vitamin C with retinol, and most of this confusion deals with pH.

In the past, researchers believed that the pH needed for the absorption of vitamin C would affect retinols integrity, rendering it unuseful. Contrary to these outdated ideas, using vitamin C and retinol together in your skincare routine provides tremendous benefits when applied the right way.

Retinol stabilizes when combined with vitamin C, increasing its effectiveness. Vitamin C and Retinol form a protective barrier over the skin that fights skin damage and aging. This barrier does not mean you can layer the two, one on top of the other, because irritation and sensitivity may occur. However, alternating between the two, along with sunscreen, is ideal.

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Can You Use Retinol And Vitamin C Together

There’s no problem with using both retinol and vitamin C as part of your skincare routine, dermatologists say. In fact, Shirazi calls this combo a “power couple” when it comes to aging well. But you will want to be mindful about when you use your vitamin C and retinol. To avoid the potential risk of irritation, Shirazi doesn’t recommend layering your products together. Instead, she suggests using vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night.

Minars’ advice is a bit different. He says it’s okay to use both products at night, but with a plan in place to deal with the irritation that’s like to occur. “My recommendation is to start one at a time and then introduce the other every other night until you get used to it or can comfortably say it’s not irritating when combined,” he says.

They May Not Dissolve Or Penetrate

The next thing to think about is whether the ingredients are oil-soluble or water-soluble.

  • Retinol is oil-soluble, so it will only dissolve in oil.
  • L-ascorbic acid is water-soluble, so it will only dissolve in water.

Oil and water don’t mix. So if you’re adding a water-soluble vitamin C into an oil-soluble retinol, it will not dissolve. That means it won’t penetrate your skin, and you won’t get any of the vitamin C’s benefits.

Another thing to keep in mind is that oils can create a barrier on the skin that blocks the absorption of water-based productsanother reason not to mix oil-based and water-based solutions.

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Can I Use Vitamin C In The Morning And Retinol At Night

Absolutely, youll find that many prefer to use vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night. This is because vitamin C not only protects the skin from oxidised stress that occurs throughout the day, but also gives the complexion a boost leaving it glowing and brightened.

Another important factor to remember is the fact that retinol should only be applied to skin in the evening. This is because once retinol encounters sunlight or UV exposure, its rendered completely useless. By increasing the speed of the skin cell cycle, youll find that retinol also increases the skins reaction to sun sensitivity. To avoid skin damage, it is vital you apply a daily SPF of factor 50 on the face, neck, and décolletage.

There you have it, a little more insight into using retinol and vitamin C together. Dont forget to get in touch over on if you have any more questions.

What Are The Skin Benefits Of Retinol

Can You Mix Vitamin C With Niacinamide, Acids, or Retinol?

In a study performed in 2000, topical retinol applications show to deter collagen breakdown and increase collagen and elastin production. Collagen creates plump skin, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol also has a smoothing effect on skin with an uneven texture.

Retinol is famous for its ability to help clear acne, especially cystic acne and smooth acne scarring.

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But Does Retinol Work Better Without Aha Or Bha Exfoliants

In short, no. Research has actually shown that retinol combined with exfoliants helps to fade hyperpigmentation in skin, and improves the results you get from both ingredients.

The belief that the skin’s pH neutralises acidic skincare products is misguided. A neutral pH is 7, yet skin is naturally more acidic. Even more so than thought in the one, lone study that’s often cited. Today’s research demonstrates that skin’s pH actually hovers between 4.7 and 5. Does this then mean you must raise your skin’s pH to use a retinol product? Of course not! We know from research that retinol works when applied to the skin, and it works at the skin’s naturally acidic pH.

Can You Use Vitamin C And Peptides Together

Dr. Dendy prefers pairing her vitamin C with peptides. Peptides help to hold cells together so when paired with vitamin C, it creates a barrier for the skin and locks in moisture to ultimately improve texture in the long term. With that being said, here are 5 expert-approved formulas that promise not to disappoint.

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Do You Put Vitamin C On Before Or After Retinol

Its considered best to apply vitamin C before retinol, ensuring you leave at least 30 minutes to allow the skins pH levels to rebalance as this will avoid unwanted reactions. Leaving this amount of time for the skin to stabilise and wont become overloaded with too much acidy from both actives.

Another reason why its considered better to apply vitamin C before retinol is because of the consistency of the skincare formulas. The consistency of each product plays an important role and helping you to understand when to apply it.

For example, for the best result you should start with the thinnest consistency and work up to the thickest. Formulas such as cleansers and face washes are often the thinnest, followed with exfoliating toners, serums, moisturisers, face oils, and finally, a daily SPF during your morning routine. This allows each product to absorb effectively into the skin and not having to compete with physical barriers caused by thicker formulas.


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