Should you layer one on top of the other? I was reading another one of your articles about Vitamin C Serum, and it looks promising. See our Disclosure for more information. In this case, I'd apply the retinol first, let it absorb, and then apply the vitamin C. You can also use them at different times of day or on alternating nights. Our unique, Accelerated Retinol SA formula combines retinol with hyaluronic acid and glucose complex to deliver fast and effective results. In regions where deficiency is common, a single large dose is recommended to those at high risk a couple of times a year. A quick glance at the ingredient list of your favorite mask, serum or moisturizer will reveal that you’re probably already using at least one of these miracle workers to care for your skin. Retinol, which is another name for Vitamin A, is a powerful ingredient for addressing a number of skin concerns. Skincare products that don't contain water, known as anhydrous solutions, don't have a pH. Retinol for texture, Vit C for hyperpigmentation. “‘Retinoid’ is a generic, umbrella term for any topical product that contains a vitamin A derivative,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein. As soon as the first product absorbs, you can apply the second. When first using retinol you can experience some irritation such as dryness, redness and even flaky skin. Dr. King notes that there have been some concerns that the acidic pH needed for vitamin C absorption contributes to the degradation of retinol, but more research is needed. ︎ Vitamin C and Retinol at Night, 30 Minutes Apart. And also like vitamin C, retinol is fantastic for helping the skin stay smooth and firm and bright. I hope this guide helps you to make the most out of retinol and vitamin C in your skincare routine! Here's what happens to them when you use retinol and vitamin C at the same time, and why it matters. They’re both buzzy (and, we might add, legit) skincare ingredients that offer many anti-aging benefits, but the science behind how each works is different. The right way to layer these glow-getters. However, they can be a lot to remember... which is why I created the Types of Vitamin C Cheat Sheet. © 2020 The Skincare Edit. If you integrate them into your skincare routine too quickly, your skin may react with dryness, flakiness, redness, or inflammation. Incorporating the waiting period allows your skin's pH to return to normal, so each ingredient can work at its intended pH. Tret can be easily obtained by a gp. Its 0.25% retinol concentration makes it especially approachable, while a blend of hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, aloe, ceramides, vitamin C, and vitamin E work together to hydrate, soothe, and replenish the skin. Vitamin C derivatives from Mad Hippie, Skin Inc Supplement Bar, Joanna Vargas and The Ordinary. I will say, that even just using the Retinol every 3rd night for the last month, I’ve really seen a difference in my skin. Vitamin C: When used in skin-care formulations, vitamin C can make a major difference in your skin tone and hyperpigmentation. “Vitamin C tends to be finicky,” says Dr. Engelman. When on the hunt for a retinol, look for a product that also contains moisturizers, to counteract the dryness that the ingredient can typically cause. For the skin: Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily + Overnight Boosters with Vitamins C 10% A (retinol) 1x 8.5ml Vitamin C, $68. It is best to use Retinol in the PM. Before you layer these ingredients, read this! How much do looks matter when landing a job? “Vitamin C is healthy for the skin … [but] isn’t as effective in collagen synthesis and antiaging as retinol is.”, Related: Retinol: The Skincare Ingredient Your Future Self Needs Now. But no matter which type of vitamin C you choose, using it in combination with a retinol is a surefire way to get your skin glowing, firm and even-toned. Dermatica will dispense proper retinol but I'm not particularly interested in … In other words, products that are close in pH, with a similar consistency, can be used together with no waiting. Finally, because vitamin C protects skin from environmental aggressors and retinol repairs and rebuilds skin, they're best used at opposite times of the day. I love it. Vitamin C derivatives have to be converted into the active form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, in your skin. Dr. Levine recommends any tretinoin at 0.025%, such as Obagi Tretinoin Cream 0.025%. Retinol: A Vitamin A derivative from carrots, slows down the signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles and reduce the appearance of pigmentation and cover sun spots for a more even toned complexion. Before you mix or layer these ingredients, read this. Otherwise, you may not get the results that you're after. In general, you want to apply your products in order of lowest to highest pH. Can you use vitamin C with AHA? It's when they're dissimilar—whether in pH and/or texture—that you need to be more careful about when you apply them, and in what order. At least one study has shown that retinol did maintain its effect when paired with vitamin C, and other “studies have shown that combining retinol with vitamin C or another antioxidant may help stabilize it,” she says. “The stability of vitamin C in solution has been a concern, because exposure to air, heat and light may slowly degrade the vitamin,” explains Dr. King. When applying a retinol, Dr. Marchbein recommends the “sandwich technique”: after washing your face, apply a layer of moisturizing cream and then apply a pea-size amount of retinol, followed by one last layer of moisturizer on top. Skincare staples, Retinol (Vitamin A) and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) were once unstable and difficult to formulate with. In fact, doing either of those things could be a waste of your time and money. Retinol is just another name for vitamin A, an essential nutrient found in many foods. I've also got a free cheat sheet for you to download at the end of this article! All rights reserved. The key takeaway is that you always want to be using "like with like." “The stability [of vitamin C] may be increased by adding other antioxidants (like ferulic acid), so look for ascorbic acid, combined with other antioxidants, and packaging that protects the solution from air and light.” Think: dark-glass bottles, ampoules that help maintain the integrity of the formula or vials that close tightly. And for an even bigger brightening boost, combine vitamin C with vitamin E. Because vitamin C loses efficacy in the sun, it's best as a nighttime product. What is Retinol? If you're gonna see a dermatologist then wait for them to prescribe tren/ any retinoid. I’m wondering if maybe I should have first started with the Retinol, then as I adjusted, moved on to the Vitamin C serum. “I believe that [retinol] has gotten very popular because, out of all the topical anti-aging ingredients out there, retinol is second only to sunblock in its tried-and-true ability to combat skin aging—it’s been around for decades now, and we have lots of data to demonstrate its efficacy,” says New York City dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. They all sound similar, which can lead to confusion. Overall, retinol helps to unclog pores; stimulate collagen production, to reduce fine lines; increase cell turnover, to smooth the skin; and even out discoloration. Avocado Oil: Hydrates and softens skin. Since vitamin C helps protect skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and free radicals, it’s advised to apply it to your skin in the morning. Skincare lovers use it for everything from pigmentation to sagging skin, and it comes in a wide variety of products. What if your vitamin C treatment is anhydrous (water-free)? Serum staining your face and fingers? SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. Check out Nadine Baggot's retinol and Vit C videos on YouTube. Next, take a look at retinol — it still holds the title as beauty’s miracle ingredient. As a supplement it is ingested to treat and prevent vitamin A deficiency, especially that which results in xerophthalmia. But did you know that you can apply vitamin C at night, too? For example, apply vitamin C in the first part of the day and AHA at the end of the day. Discover clinically proven, results-driven products for all skin types and concerns—plus take 15% off your first purchase on RealSelf Shop. I am 31.5 years old and I want to start both Retinal (I read it is most delicate for beginners - so I would like to try Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3 which contain 0.03% capsulated retinaldehyde) and vit C as I read it is best to have vit c AM and Retinoid PM. First things first, let’s review exactly why vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid are must-have skin-care ingredients. But fitting them into your skincare routine can be tricky. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid and its derivatives) is another ingredient often cited as a problem when combined with retinol. Fortunately, there are a few ways to incorporate both vitamin C and retinol in your skincare routine without sacrificing any of the benefits. If you don't have time for the 30-minute waiting period, but you still want to use retinol and vitamin C at the same time, then your best bet is a vitamin C derivative. As it has antioxidant properties this is when you will get the most out of the product. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Oil, $70. Retinol and vitamin C, are 2 anti-aging skincare powerhouses that ensure and promise powerful skin healing properties and beneficial results in real time. Retinol is one of the many different types of retinoids and is the umbrella term allocated to all vitamin-A derivatives. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. For best results, look for a high concentration, up to 20 percent in a serum or cream. If you must use retinol and L-ascorbic acid at the same time, separate them by 30 minutes. Which one goes on first? There have been many great guides to Vitamin C recently and you might want to take a look at Tophcam and Nadine Baggott. Retinol and vitamin C are two of the most powerful ingredients for your skin. I find the ones that have a neutral (not acidic) pH are easier to incorporate into my routine, and gentler on my skin. Since retinol and L-ascorbic acid have a big gap in pH, using them at the same time will lower the retinol's pH and raise the vitamin C's pH. So they're not as potent as L-ascorbic acid itself. Dr. Levine recommends choosing retinol products that actually list retinol, not a retinol derivative, as the main active ingredient. They can be available either over the counter, in skincare products, or via prescription, from your doctor. Both are known to fight wrinkles, build collagen and fade dark spots and pigmentation. Anhydrous solutions will contain oils, silicones or oily solvents that the retinol may not be able to penetrate through. That means it won't penetrate your skin, and you won't get any of the vitamin C's benefits. All skincare products that are water-based (aqueous) have been formulated to work at a certain pH. If you buy 8000iu, you can take it once every four days. (AKA L-ascorbic acid.) As long as you choose a vitamin C derivative that is close in pH to your retinol, then you can use them at the same time, since they will not destabilize each other. It’s also recommended to use it on the nights you're not applying retinol. The #1 dermatologist recommended non-prescription ingredient for aging skin, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and helps stimulate the production of new skin cells. L-ascorbic acid treatments from SkinCeuticals, Paula's Choice, Timeless and Drunk Elephant. All my favourites from the last 12 months. And what about mixing them together?! Vitamin C has been proven to help reduce UV damage, but you might not want to cast it aside when the sun starts to fade and temperatures start to drop. Skin Regimen 1.5 Retinol Booster Wrinkle Concentrate, Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum, The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%, Dermadoctor Kakadu C 20% Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid & Vitamin E, Youth to the People Superfood Firm and Brighten Serum, Whether you can apply retinol and vitamin C at the same time, Why you need to consider pH and solubility, The best ways to use retinol and vitamin C in your skincare routine, My top retinol and vitamin C product picks, Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (pH 4.0 to 6.0), Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (pH 6.0 to 7.0), Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (pH 6.0 to 7.0). Retinol and Vitamin C face cream: Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream, £32/50ml – containing 2 forms of retinol (retinol + retinyl palmitate) plus vitamin C as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. “Because retinol can be drying, products with encapsulated retinol help minimize irritation by delivering the retinol to the skin gradually, over a period of time,” says Dr. Marchbein. Sunday Riley C.E.O. (More on that in a second.) "This retinol-based formula is so gentle that it won't harm even the most sensitive skin," he says. Our go-to daily supplement for boosting vitamin C in the body. So, if using a Vitamin C, we would recommend using this in the morning. Thanks for sharing these skin care tips. REN Clean Skincare Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream, $84 Supplement: Livon Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C 30s, $55. Then, wait half an hour before you apply your retinol. However, “it’s fine to use them at the same time, unless you have sensitive skin and the two together increases irritation,” says Dr. Levine. Using Retistar serum by GOW. However, be mindful of textures. Retinol, also known as vitamin A 1-alcohol, is a vitamin in the vitamin A family found in food and used as a dietary supplement. Dr. King notes that there have been some concerns that the acidic pH needed for vitamin C absorption contributes to the degradation of retinol, but more research is needed. 6 Surgical Procedures That Take Less Than an Hour, Post-Summer Skin Rehab: 6 Doctor-Approved Treatments to Reverse Sun Damage, 6 Miami Doctors Share the Cosmetic Procedure Trends in Their Offices Right Now. Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. More like this: Skin Care Skin Rejuvenation Wrinkle Treatments, ©2020 RealSelf, Inc. All rights reserved. Download the free RealSelf iPhone app for faster and easier browsing, Retinol: The Skincare Ingredient Your Future Self Needs Now, Hyperpigmentation: How 5 Skin Experts Treat Their Own Sun-Related Skin Damage. An acid is still an acid, even when it gets a glow-y makeover and rebrands itself as a vitamin. For those of us looking to use retinol and vitamin C at the same time, we're lucky to have so many vitamin C derivatives to choose from. Retinol or vitamin A - the wrinkle warrior Do you need to wait in between them? Lighter, water-based solutions must be used before more occlusive, oil-based ones—otherwise, they won't penetrate. Retinol, on the other hand, can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so dermatologists recommend applying retinol at night. The most common over-the-counter retinoids that you find in creams and serums are retinol and retinyl palmitate, “with retinol being stronger and more effective than retinyl palmitate,” says Dr. Marchbein. Not anymore, they are now developed in innovative ways for increased efficacy. Oil and water don't mix. “In general, a vitamin C serum helps to protect the skin from the effects of UV rays [but it is not a sunblock], reduce the appearance of sunspots and discoloration, refine skin texture, reduce wrinkle formation and lessen the appearance of existing wrinkles,” says Dr. Levine. Your easiest course of action is to separate vitamin C and retinol from each other and apply them at different times of day. Adding both retinol and vitamin C to your skincare routine is unfortunately not as simple as layering one ingredient over the other, or just mixing them together. Now that you're familiar with the different ways you can use retinol and vitamin C, here are my top product recommendations: Retinoids from The Ordinary, Drunk Elephant, A313 and Shani Darden. “For even greater efficacy, use a prescription retinoid,” she says. This ensures that each ingredient can work at its correct pH. Personally, I actually prefer vitamin C derivatives to L-ascorbic acid, even if they aren't quite as powerful. Let me know what results you experience! However, they tend to be more stable and less irritating, and offer many of the same benefits (including protection from free radicals, brightening and in some cases, even boosting collagen production). One tried-and-true favorite that fits the above criteria? 5 thoughts on “ Using Vitamin C Serum & Retinol Together ” Pingback: Vitamin C Serum Causes Me to Breakout | Day by Day Beauty Blog Annie Marie Peters June 18, 2014 at 1:13 am. C hances are you’ve already heard about the skincare benefits of Vitamin C, Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid.These are some of the most popular names at the moment. You can find a powerful vitamin C serum over the counter, but actually keeping it stable for a longer period of time might prove more difficult. An anti-aging serum! Essentially, they will both become less effective! The result? Most dermatologists believe that retinol should always be applied at night, away from UV light. Related: Hyperpigmentation: How 5 Skin Experts Treat Their Own Sun-Related Skin Damage. Prescription retinoids include tretinoin (the key ingredient in Retin-A and Renova) and tazarotene. “The good news is, retinol works in an acidic environment, so cocktailing these two ingredients together does make sense,” she says. Like vitamin C, when it comes to the skin, vitamin A is best used topically. I still recommend you consume foods like Cod liver, regular liver or supplement with Vitamin A/Retinol. Make sure to take extra K2 and D3. Regardless, when you first start using retinol and vitamin C serums, it’s highly recommended that you start off slowly. They also have a much longer shelf life, whereas I struggle to finish L-ascorbic acid serums before they oxidize. “Vitamin C also appears to benefit dry skin and support wound healing, but further research is needed,” says Dr. King. Apply your vitamin C first, since it has the lower pH of the two. “Studies have shown that this base layer of moisturizer does not dilute or reduce the efficacy of the retinol and helps with tolerability,” says Dr. Marchbein. If you're going to get the most out of these ingredients, you NEED to be aware of two factors: pH and solubility. I believe the C Serum is helping even out my skin tone as well as the Niacinimide in my moisturizers. (It's FREE!). Apply your vitamin C first, since it has the lower pH of the two. Both vitamins A and C are necessary to the body's health and proper functioning--deficiencies in either can lead to significant health problems. By using retinol and vitamin C on alternate nights, you'll get the benefits of both, without having to worry about interactions. If you’ve heard about the “skin-saving, life-changing” benefits of retinol and vitamin C but don’t quite know what they are or what the difference is between the two, you’re not alone. Sunflower Seed Oil: Contains essential fatty acids—including linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids— for a soft and smooth appearance. I recommend first experimenting with a higher dosage and seeing how you feel – say 3,000iu. Allow your skin to adjust to these metamorphic ingredients before going all-in. It works faster than retinol so you aren't missing much by just waiting for the retinoid. Unlike vitamin C (more on that later), retinols “are also very helpful in treating acne, especially comedonal acne [i.e., blackheads and whiteheads],” says New York City dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine. As mentioned above, retinol can be too much when paired with acids, but be wary of layering them with vitamin C, too. Just click below to download it so you have a handy reference for all the different versions of vitamin C, what they do, and where to find them. The retinol will become less active, and the vitamin C will have a reduced ability to get into your skin. (The only exception where you'd probably want to wait is if two products are more than 1.5 to 2.0 apart.). Choose formulas with one or more of these vitamin C derivatives: Which ingredient goes on first? If you must use retinol and L-ascorbic acid at the same time, separate them by 30 minutes. Does your skincare routine include retinol and vitamin C?What results have you noticed so far? AHAs (Glycolic, Alpha Hydroxy, Lactic Acid). She is a former beauty editor at a national magazine, and her work has appeared on sites including Well + Good, The Cut, WWD, Women’s Health Mag, Elite Daily, Family Circle and more. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid,  is an antioxidant that works to neutralize free radicals (pollution, smoke, UV rays) that can break down the collagen in your skin, causing more visible signs of aging. Microcurrent, niacinamide and granactive retinoid, oh my! RealSelf is a registered trademark of RealSelf, Inc. Daley Quinn is a freelance beauty and wellness writer living in Boston. Are you using these active ingredients correctly? Lightweight treatments for every skin type. For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on retinol. Here's what to know. Again, since there's not a huge gap in pH, you shouldn't have to wait in between layers. In your skincare research, you may have come across words like retinol, retinoid and Retin-A. The next thing to think about is whether the ingredients are oil-soluble or water-soluble. This study found that DNA damage continues for hours after exposure to UV light, and suggests it could be prevented with a nightly antioxidant, like vitamin C. By using retinol and vitamin C on alternate nights, you'll get the benefits of both, without having to worry about interactions. As with the AHA and BHA myth, this one is also based on the pH/acidity issue. Another thing to keep in mind is that oils can create a barrier on the skin that blocks the absorption of water-based products—another reason not to mix oil-based and water-based solutions. I am using Garden of Wisdom vit C and ferrulic at the mo' but my all time favourite is Vichy which I'll go back to. So if you're adding a water-soluble vitamin C (for example, an L-ascorbic acid powder) into an oil-soluble retinol, it will not dissolve. Most skin people would agree that next to retinoids, Vitamin C is the other thing that actually does shit for your skin. Then cut back to taking 2000iu daily. For minimal potential risk of skin inflammation, it is recommended to alternate the use of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and vitamin C at different times or on different days.