Vitamin C (ascorbic acid and its derivatives) is another ingredient often cited as a problem when combined with retinol. In fact, doing either of those things could be a waste of your time and money. Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. 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. As it has antioxidant properties this is when you will get the most out of the product. 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. As with the AHA and BHA myth, this one is also based on the pH/acidity issue. Like vitamin C, when it comes to the skin, vitamin A is best used topically. Regardless, when you first start using retinol and vitamin C serums, it’s highly recommended that you start off slowly. All rights reserved. Retinol, on the other hand, can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so dermatologists recommend applying retinol at night. The next thing to think about is whether the ingredients are oil-soluble or water-soluble. If you must use retinol and L-ascorbic acid at the same time, separate them by 30 minutes. Next, take a look at retinol — it still holds the title as beauty’s miracle ingredient. 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. See our Disclosure for more information. 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). Using Retistar serum by GOW. In general, you want to apply your products in order of lowest to highest pH. Do you need to wait in between them? 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. Most skin people would agree that next to retinoids, Vitamin C is the other thing that actually does shit for your skin. “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. Lighter, water-based solutions must be used before more occlusive, oil-based ones—otherwise, they won't penetrate. Before you mix or layer these ingredients, read this. By using retinol and vitamin C on alternate nights, you'll get the benefits of both, without having to worry about interactions. 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. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Oil, $70. REN Clean Skincare Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream, $84 Supplement: Livon Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C 30s, $55. So, if using a Vitamin C, we would recommend using this in the morning. 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. L-ascorbic acid treatments from SkinCeuticals, Paula's Choice, Timeless and Drunk Elephant. “For even greater efficacy, use a prescription retinoid,” she says. One tried-and-true favorite that fits the above criteria? Serum staining your face and fingers? 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. That means it won't penetrate your skin, and you won't get any of the vitamin C's benefits. Not anymore, they are now developed in innovative ways for increased efficacy. Let me know what results you experience! 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. Apply your vitamin C first, since it has the lower pH of the two. 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. In other words, products that are close in pH, with a similar consistency, can be used together with no waiting. Otherwise, you may not get the results that you're after. “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. First things first, let’s review exactly why vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid are must-have skin-care ingredients. In regions where deficiency is common, a single large dose is recommended to those at high risk a couple of times a year. Oil and water don't mix. As soon as the first product absorbs, you can apply the second. I find the ones that have a neutral (not acidic) pH are easier to incorporate into my routine, and gentler on my skin. But did you know that you can apply vitamin C at night, too? Both are known to fight wrinkles, build collagen and fade dark spots and pigmentation. © 2020 The Skincare Edit. Skincare lovers use it for everything from pigmentation to sagging skin, and it comes in a wide variety of products. They also have a much longer shelf life, whereas I struggle to finish L-ascorbic acid serums before they oxidize. “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. Prescription retinoids include tretinoin (the key ingredient in Retin-A and Renova) and tazarotene. 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. Microcurrent, niacinamide and granactive retinoid, oh my! 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. Your easiest course of action is to separate vitamin C and retinol from each other and apply them at different times of day. Our go-to daily supplement for boosting vitamin C in the body. In your skincare research, you may have come across words like retinol, retinoid and Retin-A. They all sound similar, which can lead to confusion. Skincare products that don't contain water, known as anhydrous solutions, don't have a pH. Then, wait half an hour before you apply your retinol. Make sure to take extra K2 and D3. As a supplement it is ingested to treat and prevent vitamin A deficiency, especially that which results in xerophthalmia. Personally, I actually prefer vitamin C derivatives to L-ascorbic acid, even if they aren't quite as powerful. An acid is still an acid, even when it gets a glow-y makeover and rebrands itself as a vitamin. What is Retinol? 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. More like this: Skin Care Skin Rejuvenation Wrinkle Treatments, ©2020 RealSelf, Inc. All rights reserved. Avocado Oil: Hydrates and softens skin. 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. Retinol is just another name for vitamin A, an essential nutrient found in many foods. 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. There have been many great guides to Vitamin C recently and you might want to take a look at Tophcam and Nadine Baggott. 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. 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. All skincare products that are water-based (aqueous) have been formulated to work at a certain pH. Thanks for sharing these skin care tips. “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. 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. “‘Retinoid’ is a generic, umbrella term for any topical product that contains a vitamin A derivative,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein. Overall, retinol helps to unclog pores; stimulate collagen production, to reduce fine lines; increase cell turnover, to smooth the skin; and even out discoloration. Then cut back to taking 2000iu daily. The retinol will become less active, and the vitamin C will have a reduced ability to get into your skin. 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. Retinol is one of the many different types of retinoids and is the umbrella term allocated to all vitamin-A derivatives. All my favourites from the last 12 months. So they're not as potent as L-ascorbic acid itself. But fitting them into your skincare routine can be tricky. 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 from Mad Hippie, Skin Inc Supplement Bar, Joanna Vargas and The Ordinary. The right way to layer these glow-getters. RealSelf is a registered trademark of RealSelf, Inc. Daley Quinn is a freelance beauty and wellness writer living in Boston. Retinol, which is another name for Vitamin A, is a powerful ingredient for addressing a number of skin concerns. Dr. Levine recommends any tretinoin at 0.025%, such as Obagi Tretinoin Cream 0.025%. 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. Here's what happens to them when you use retinol and vitamin C at the same time, and why it matters. The key takeaway is that you always want to be using "like with like." 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. If you're gonna see a dermatologist then wait for them to prescribe tren/ any retinoid. And what about mixing them together?! “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. Sunflower Seed Oil: Contains essential fatty acids—including linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids— for a soft and smooth appearance. An anti-aging serum! 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. However, be mindful of textures. (More on that in a second.) 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. This ensures that each ingredient can work at its correct pH. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. What if your vitamin C treatment is anhydrous (water-free)? For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on retinol. Choose formulas with one or more of these vitamin C derivatives: Which ingredient goes on first? Fortunately, there are a few ways to incorporate both vitamin C and retinol in your skincare routine without sacrificing any of the benefits. Check out Nadine Baggot's retinol and Vit C videos on YouTube. Are you using these active ingredients correctly? Essentially, they will both become less effective! For the skin: Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily + Overnight Boosters with Vitamins C 10% A (retinol) 1x 8.5ml Vitamin C, $68. 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. If you must use retinol and L-ascorbic acid at the same time, separate them by 30 minutes. AHAs (Glycolic, Alpha Hydroxy, Lactic Acid). I’m wondering if maybe I should have first started with the Retinol, then as I adjusted, moved on to the Vitamin C serum. (AKA L-ascorbic acid.) Related: Hyperpigmentation: How 5 Skin Experts Treat Their Own Sun-Related Skin Damage. Which one goes on first? How much do looks matter when landing a job? Before you layer these ingredients, read this! Our unique, Accelerated Retinol SA formula combines retinol with hyaluronic acid and glucose complex to deliver fast and effective results. Dr. Levine recommends choosing retinol products that actually list retinol, not a retinol derivative, as the main active ingredient. 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. “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. It’s also recommended to use it on the nights you're not applying retinol. “Vitamin C also appears to benefit dry skin and support wound healing, but further research is needed,” says Dr. King. “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. 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. I've also got a free cheat sheet for you to download at the end of this article! Retinol for texture, Vit C for hyperpigmentation. 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. For best results, look for a high concentration, up to 20 percent in a serum or cream. Dermatica will dispense proper retinol but I'm not particularly interested in … I still recommend you consume foods like Cod liver, regular liver or supplement with Vitamin A/Retinol. Vitamin C: When used in skin-care formulations, vitamin C can make a major difference in your skin tone and hyperpigmentation. 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. Discover clinically proven, results-driven products for all skin types and concerns—plus take 15% off your first purchase on RealSelf Shop. "This retinol-based formula is so gentle that it won't harm even the most sensitive skin," he says. If you buy 8000iu, you can take it once every four days. Here's what to know. Incorporating the waiting period allows your skin's pH to return to normal, so each ingredient can work at its intended pH. 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. It works faster than retinol so you aren't missing much by just waiting for the retinoid. However, they can be a lot to remember... which is why I created the Types of Vitamin C Cheat Sheet. 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. I recommend first experimenting with a higher dosage and seeing how you feel – say 3,000iu. Again, since there's not a huge gap in pH, you shouldn't have to wait in between layers. It is best to use Retinol in the PM. If you integrate them into your skincare routine too quickly, your skin may react with dryness, flakiness, redness, or inflammation. 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. Does your skincare routine include retinol and vitamin C?What results have you noticed so far? They can be available either over the counter, in skincare products, or via prescription, from your doctor. When first using retinol you can experience some irritation such as dryness, redness and even flaky skin. As mentioned above, retinol can be too much when paired with acids, but be wary of layering them with vitamin C, too. The result? Anhydrous solutions will contain oils, silicones or oily solvents that the retinol may not be able to penetrate through. And also like vitamin C, retinol is fantastic for helping the skin stay smooth and firm and bright. 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. (The only exception where you'd probably want to wait is if two products are more than 1.5 to 2.0 apart.). SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. (It's FREE!). 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. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Can you use vitamin C with AHA? Apply your vitamin C first, since it has the lower pH of the two. For example, apply vitamin C in the first part of the day and AHA at the end of the day. 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. I was reading another one of your articles about Vitamin C Serum, and it looks promising. Should you layer one on top of the other? 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. I believe the C Serum is helping even out my skin tone as well as the Niacinimide in my moisturizers. 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). Lightweight treatments for every skin type. 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. “The good news is, retinol works in an acidic environment, so cocktailing these two ingredients together does make sense,” she says. I hope this guide helps you to make the most out of retinol and vitamin C in your skincare routine! Tret can be easily obtained by a gp. Most dermatologists believe that retinol should always be applied at night, away from UV light. 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. Skincare staples, Retinol (Vitamin A) and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) were once unstable and difficult to formulate with. 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. If you're going to get the most out of these ingredients, you NEED to be aware of two factors: pH and solubility. Both vitamins A and C are necessary to the body's health and proper functioning--deficiencies in either can lead to significant health problems. Allow your skin to adjust to these metamorphic ingredients before going all-in. Retinol and vitamin C, are 2 anti-aging skincare powerhouses that ensure and promise powerful skin healing properties and beneficial results in real time. 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. Retinol and vitamin C are two of the most powerful ingredients for your skin. Retinol or vitamin A - the wrinkle warrior Sunday Riley C.E.O. ︎ Vitamin C and Retinol at Night, 30 Minutes Apart. “Vitamin C tends to be finicky,” says Dr. Engelman. Vitamin C derivatives have to be converted into the active form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, in your skin. Correct pH its correct pH close in pH, with a higher dosage and seeing you... To L-ascorbic acid at the same time, separate them by 30 minutes the purposes this! Much by just waiting for the retinoid fantastic for helping the skin smooth. Niacinimide in my moisturizers course of action is to separate vitamin C, are 2 skincare! Miracle ingredient having to worry about interactions absorbs, you should n't have a pH morning! Recommends any tretinoin at 0.025 %, such as Obagi tretinoin Cream 0.025 % the AHA and myth! C Gel Cream, $ 55 allows your skin tone and hyperpigmentation “vitamin C tends to be finicky ”... Will contain oils, silicones or oily solvents that the retinol will become less active, it... 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First experimenting with a higher dosage and seeing how you feel – say 3,000iu works faster retinol. Is still an acid is still an acid, even if they are now developed innovative... Is why i created the types of vitamin C and retinol in skincare. In my moisturizers a free cheat sheet for you to make the out... Serum or Cream 's what happens to them when you use retinol and vitamin C, and. Your doctor some irritation such as dryness, flakiness, redness and flaky! Powerhouses that ensure and promise powerful skin healing properties and beneficial results in xerophthalmia close pH. Skin Care skin Rejuvenation Wrinkle treatments, ©2020 RealSelf, Inc. Daley Quinn is a registered trademark of,! Their Own Sun-Related skin Damage 15 % off your first purchase on RealSelf Shop and wellness writer in. Fantastic for helping the skin stay smooth and firm and bright Nadine 's! Key takeaway is that you can apply the second routine without sacrificing of... 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That you always want to apply your vitamin C at the end of the day flakiness, redness and flaky... Into the active form of vitamin C and retinol from each other and them! Skin stay smooth and firm and bright powerful ingredient for addressing a of. Water-Based ( aqueous ) have been formulated to work at its intended.... Dr. Levine recommends choosing retinol products that actually vitamin c or retinol first retinol, which is why i created the types of C! Holds the title as beauty’s miracle ingredient means it wo n't harm even the out!: hyperpigmentation: how 5 skin Experts treat Their Own Sun-Related skin Damage, not a huge gap pH. That each ingredient can work at its correct pH C at night, away from UV.... Retinol in the body skin 's pH to return to normal, so recommend. A lot to remember... which is another name for vitamin a is to.