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Can You Use Retinol And Vitamin C Together

Why Antioxidants And Sunscreen Are Friends

How To Use Retinol And Vitamin C Together

While antioxidants cant take the place of a preventive sunscreen, they can boost your sun protection.

Research shows that the combination of vitamins E, C, and sunscreen increases effectiveness of the sun protection, explains Mraz Robinson. This makes it a powerful combo in the fight against both visible aging and skin cancer.

Sunscreen FAQ

The type of sunscreen you use can affect your skin care routine. Freshen up on your sunscreen knowledge here.

What Benefits Does Vitamin C Have For Your Skin

Just like niacinamide, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to easily penetrate into the dermis layer of the skin. Including a vitamin C serum in your skincare routine can provide a number of impressive benefits to your skin, including:

  • Reductions in hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the production of melanin
  • Prevention of sun damage caused by ultraviolet light by fighting free radicals
  • Increasing the production of collagen thereby diminishing fine lines, and giving firm, youthful skin
  • Also the degradation of collagen
  • Protecting the skin from environmental pollutants, thereby preventing visible signs of aging

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The Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is a good choice for a vitamin C serum for those that havent used one before or have sensitive skin as it only contains 5% L-ascorbic acid. You can buy it from SokoGlam, or Yesstyle.

How To Use Vitamin C And Retinol Or Derm

Though its perfectly fine to use vitamin C and retinol or retinoids in your skincare routine, each is better suited to a different time of day. Vitamin C is best used in the morning, while retinoids are better for your nighttime skincare routine.Start your day with vitamin C to provide a shield and prevent damage from the suns UV rays that youll be exposed to during the day. Sun exposure is one element that generates free radicals in the skin, ultimately contributing to skin aging. In fact, its estimated that UV rays are responsible for up to 80% of skin damage. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals from the sun to protect against photoaging.After your cleanser, apply your vitamin C serum to dry skin, followed by your moisturizer and sunscreen .Retinoids are better suited to your nighttime routine because they can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, and sunlight makes them less effective.That said, if youre a nighttime-skincare-routine-only kind of person, theres no harm in using them both together. The vitamin C will still work to nourish your skin after sun exposure.Those with sensitive skin types could experience side effects like dryness or irritation. If youre new to vitamin C, choose a vitamin C serum with a low concentration to start. Test for skin sensitivity with your new product on a small patch of skin to see how it reacts before slathering it onto your whole face. A hydrating moisturizer can help reduce dryness.

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Dont Combine: Benzoyl Peroxide + Vitamin C

Chang advised against using a combination of vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide products, as they can counteract each others effects: The benzoyl peroxide can oxidize the vitamin C.

However, Isaac explained that if you have oilier skin, combining a benzoyl peroxide product, like a toner, and a vitamin C product could work for you, though she advised waiting a few minutes between using the two.

Your Morning Skincare Routine

Can You Use Vitamin C And Retinol Together?  Beautiful ...


No matter which ingredients you plan to pair together, you need to start with a freshly cleansed face. For the best results, look for a cleanser thats formulated for your specific skin type.

Apply a Vitamin C Serum

Dr. Gilbert suggests using a vitamin C serum immediately after washing your face, as it can increase the penetration of the product to help you achieve the best results. Try the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Dullness Vitamin C Serum with 15% pure vitamin C and vitamin E.

Follow With Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Once youve given your vitamin C serum a moment or two to absorb into the skin, its time to layer on your hyaluronic acid serum. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum locks in moisture to replenish skin and help prevent premature signs of aging.

Dont Forget Sunscreen

Your morning skincare routine isnt complete without sunscreen. After your serums have fully absorbed into your skin, follow up with a broad-spectrum SPF of 15 or higher before you begin your makeup routine. No matter how good your skincare regimen is, wearing sunscreen is your best defense against premature signs of aging. We recommend the CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen.

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Do Niacinamide And Vitamin C Cancel Each Other Out Chemically

No, vitamin C and niacinamide do not neutralize each other when used together in your skincare routine. The belief that these two ingredients cancel each other out chemically stems from the fact that combining these two clear liquids forms a yellow liquid.

Some people say that the color change is the result of vitamin C instantaneously oxidizing, however its actually the result of both ingredients undergoing a charge transfer to form niacinamide ascorbate. Basically, in this chemical reaction, an electron is transferred from L-ascorbic acid to niacinamide which weakly holds the two together.

Opt For Protective Packaging

Like all skincare products, vitamin C has a shelf life. Since its so delicate, its all the more important to get packaging that will make the vitamin C last longer. Heat, light, and air can all cause vitamin C to oxidize and become useless.Get a serum that comes in an opaque or dark-colored bottle. A dropper bottle will expose the serum to the air every time you use it, so opt for an airless pump bottle if you can.Once you get your vitamin C serum, be sure to store it in a cool, dark environment. If it turns brown, it has oxidized and its time to get a new one.

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Can You Use Both Retinol And Vitamin C In Your Skin

Image Source: Getty / Iryna Veklich

When it comes to active ingredients that really improve your skin, there are few more effective than retinol and vitamin C. Unfortunately, these power players don’t tend to play that nicely together.

Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, turbo charges skin-cell turnover to minimize the appearance of fine lines, pores, pigmentation, and more. It works hard and fast to reduce breakouts and knock years off your complexion. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is a potent antioxidant that protects and repairs skin cells whilst simultaneously tackling fine lines, brightening dark spots, and leaving skin glowing.

Both sound good, right? Trouble is you that you can, in fact, have too much of a good thing, as overdoing it on retinol and vitamin C can lead to redness and sensitivity.

Luckily, you don’t have to choose one over the other. You do, however, need to be strategic with your application. We called on skin-care experts to reveal exactly what each ingredient does, and how to incorporate both vitamin C and retinol into your routine for the best skin-smoothing, clearing, and brightening results without irritation.

How To Add Vitamin C To Your Skincare Routine Alongside Retinol And Retinoids

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

Vitamin C is a delicate active ingredient that can be susceptible to oxidizing, becoming inactive when exposed to different elements. Theres conflicting information on how to use vitamin C with topical vitamin A derivatives like retinol or dermatology-grade retinoids.

The truth: You can use vitamin C with retinol and retinoids. Get them as separate products so you can tailor the concentration of each and use them at the right time of day. Although vitamin C can be used day or night, it is ideal for daytime use, while retinol and retinoids should be applied at night.

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Combine With Caution: Alpha And Beta Hydroxy Acids + Vitamin C

Vitamin C and hydroxy acid products could potentially be used together, as they both work in acidic environments, Chang said, adding that because both are made in acidic formulations, the combination can be more irritating for the skin.

Isaac noted that in the case of vitamin C and salicylic acid specifically, the combination could work for those with oilier skin. Just as she advises for vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide, she recommends waiting a few minutes between the application of each product.

Chang, however, suggested using them separately. If youre unsure if this combo will work for you, speak to a dermatologist.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Retinol

Retinol is considered by many to be the crown jewel of anti-aging ingredients. Along with other retinoids , retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin found in household items like eggs, carrots and sweet potatoes.

Youll see retinol available in both prescription-strength formulas as well as over-the-counter options. Of course, prescription retinoids will be more potent, but there are some seriously incredible anti-aging serums and night creams available at places like and Nordstrom that share all of the same benefits without requiring a trip to the derm.

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Vitamin C And Retinol At Night 30 Minutes Apart

If you must use retinol and L-ascorbic acid at the same time, separate them by 30 minutes. Apply your vitamin C first, since it has the lower pH of the two. Then, wait half an hour before you apply your retinol.

Incorporating the waiting period allows your skin’s pH to return to normal, so each ingredient can work at its intended pH.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Vitamin C And Retinol Together

Can You Use Retinol &  Vitamin C Together? Experts Explain

Now we have determined that you can use vitamin C and retinol together, what are the benefits of doing so?

The main benefits of combining vitamin C and retinol together are increased collagen production and reduced melanin production, making the combination particularly suitable for:

  • Improving fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reducing hyperpigmentation
  • Improving skin texture

Vitamin C and retinol together is a particularly good combination for hyperpigmentation as it targets abnormal pigment from multiple directions.

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Can You Mix Retinol And Vitamin C

Retinol and vitamin C are often recommended as part of a comprehensive skin care routine. But should you mix them together or apply them at the same time?

I recommend using vitamin C and retinol products from the same company because the makers are aware they could be used alongside one another, says board-certified dermatologist and LovelySkin CEO Dr. Joel Schlessinger. Though vitamin C and retinol dont lose effectiveness when used together, its possible they could cause skin irritation. You can give it a try, but if your skin has a reaction, its time to consider applying them separately.

The Benefits Of Retinol And Vitamin C

Retinol and Vitamin C were basically made to anti-age. Retinol stimulates collagen production, the protein responsible for giving our skin its firmness and suppleness, while Vitamin C essentially provides the glue that holds cells together when collagen is produced. As a combination, Retinol and Vitamin C support collagen production to give us youthful skin with minimal fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and blemishes.

Consistent and proper use of Retinol and vitamin C can benefit your skin by:

Brightening skin

Treating acne and acne scars

Lightening hyperpigmentation

Providing anti-aging effects by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines

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Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid

By now youre probably wondering: if vitamin C and E is good, and vitamin C and ferulic acid is too, what about a combination of all three? The answer is rhetorical: Do you love stability and antioxidants?

Its the best of all worlds, offering triple the protective powers.

With antioxidants like vitamin C and E working in tandem to undo the damage caused by UV rays, youre probably thinking how it makes sense to apply this combination under your sunscreen for extra UV protection. And youd be right.

Over The Counter Retinoids:

Can You Use Retinol and Vitamin C Together?

There plenty of great many retinoid products that are over the counter i.e. you can buy them without a prescription wherever you prefer to buy your skincare products.

Retinol is the most popular and effective of the over-the-counter retinoid options.

OTC retinoids are typically found in lower Concentrations starting at .01%

  • Best OTC Retinoids:

Unlike OTC products, prescription retinoids are ordered through a dermatologist, since theyre typically more potent.

Prescription retinoids have a higher concentration of at least .5% 1%.

  • Best Prescription Retinoids:
  • Tretinoin
  • Renova

These prescription retinoids are used for anti-aging properties, but more potent forms can be used to treat acne. It is also sometimes prescribed for psoriasis.

If youre looking for a prescription retinoid, speak to your dermatologist who can advise on the best retinoid for you.

Sarah Barthet is a travel, luxury and lifestyle blogger who gave up the world of high finance to follow her passions. She hopes to share her love of luxury travel, fashion, beauty and the odd piece of career advice to fellow successful women who like to enjoy the finer things in life, over on her blog Dukes Avenue.

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How To Use Vitamin C And Retinol Together

Want to use Vitamin C and retinol together? Heres the easy way to do it:

  • Use them at different times of the day: Vitamin C boosts sun protection, so layer it under sunscreen in the morning. Retinol, on the other hand, is degraded by sunlight, so its best used at night anyway .
  • Introduce them one at a time: As a rule, you should introduce a new skincare product into your routine every 4 weeks . If you introduce both actives at the same time and you get an irritation or breakout, you wont know what the culprit is.
  • Increase frequency overtime: Unless your skin is sensitive, you can start using Vitamin C daily. Retinol is different. No matter what your skin type is, start with a couple of nights a week and increase frequency gradually.
  • Moisturise well: Its normal for skin to get a little drier when you first start using Vitamin C and retinol. Look for creams and serums with niacinamide, ceramides, and copper peptides to soothe inflammation and keep skin moisturised.
  • Wear sunscreen: Retinol makes skin more prone to sun damage. Using it without sunscreen wont give you the anti-aging benefits you crave.
  • Related: How To Introduce New Skincare Products Into Your Routine

    Myth #: The Ph Of Aha & Bha Exfoliants Reduce Retinol’s Effectiveness

    The confusion about using retinol with AHA or BHA products has to do with concern over the exfoliants’ acidity lowering the skin’s pH, thus disrupting the retinol’s ability to work its anti-ageing, skin-smoothing magic.

    The reasoning behind this claim is that if the pH of the skin is below 5.5 to 6, an enzyme in your skin won’t be able to convert the retinol into retinoic acid , which is the active form of retinol. This is all based on the assumption that the acidic exfoliant ingredients lower the pH of the skin, but that’s not what happens.

    Just like most skin-care rumors, this one sprang from a misunderstanding about the research.

    Only one study mentions the pH range and skin enzyme issue described above. However, that study was performed on a blend of animal and human proteins, and the pH relationship issue developed only when a fatty acid by-product was added to the mix .

    To further emphasize how misguided the assumption of retinol’s incompatibility with AHA or BHA is, the study in question clearly states, “no clear optimal was seen when the assay was run without .”

    In the end, this single study was used only to compare how animal and human skin metabolizes the form of vitamin A naturally present in skin, not about how topical vitamin A benefits skin. Its conclusions were not intended to be used to make decisions about skin care.

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    Why Should You Use Vitamin C And Retinol Together

    Vitamin C and retinol are two of the most powerful anti-aging superstars when used alone. Can you imagine what they can do together?

    You dont have to imagine it.

    Research shows this duo increases collagen production to keep wrinkles at bay and reduce hyperpigmentation faster.

    In other words, you get the same results quicker.

    I especially love using this combo together to treat hyperpigmentation. While retinol fades away dark spots by speeding up cellular turnover , Vitamin C slows down the production of melanin .

    Together, theyre targeting hyperpigmentation on different fronts, helping it fade away faster.

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    Paula says that there is no hard or fast rule on the order you apply these two products because it depends on the products youre using and the skin concerns you want to target. For example, higher concentrations of vitamin C and retinol are rarely found in the same productand for some advanced skin concerns, higher concentrations of each are needed to obtain the best results and so separate products would be best.”

    As is true for almost any bio-active ingredient from peptides to antioxidants, they all break down in the presence of daylight, so its important to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater every morning, Paula advises. Daily use of sunscreen is critical for skincare in general, because unprotected sun exposure destroys skin regardless of which anti-aging ingredients you use.

    It goes without saying that SPF should absolutely be worn every day if incorporating both vitamin C and A into your routine, Dan echoes. That’s why we created our CSA philosophy at Medik8using vitamin C plus sunscreen in the morning, plus vitamin A at night is a fantastic simple way to ensure excellent skin health and to prevent the signs of skin aging.

    Jar packaging does the same, as well as exposing them to air, a combination which ensures youre getting an anti-aging product that becomes less effective with each use.” So, look for opaque and airless or restrictive packaging and you’ll be well on your way.

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