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Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin C and Retinol

Whether you’re a brand-new beauty enthusiast or a mature makeup connoisseur, anti-aging products are likely on your list of go-tos. No matter your level of skincare knowledge, you’ve probably tried two of the most common miracle ingredients: vitamin C and retinol. These elements boast impressive benefits, like lightening dark spots and fading hyperpigmentation, banishing acne, and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles

Many wonder if they can use vitamin C with retinol to extend the efficacy of these products. While it’s safe to do so, retinol is a powerful ingredient — so it’s best to learn how to use vitamin C and retinol together to avoid skin damage. 

November 16, 2022
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What are retinol and vitamin C?

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative used to address various skin concerns. Retinoids come in multiple forms, including creams, gels, and serums. This ingredient encourages skin cell production to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making skin look more youthful.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin we often consume naturally in our diets. It’s a favorite skincare ingredient for dermatologists because it can drastically improve skin health. The benefits of vitamin C for skin include reducing dark spots for an even complexion, treating breakouts with its anti-inflammatory properties, and regulating oil production, reducing clogged pores and acne.

Using vitamin C with retinol

Think of retinol and vitamin C as the power couple of anti-aging ingredients. Both are great additions to any skincare routine, but mixing vitamin C and retinol in the same routine could cause irritation. We recommend using vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night to avoid damage or discomfort. 

Morning routine

  1. Thoroughly cleanse with your favorite face wash.
  2. Apply your vitamin C serum, letting it sink in thoroughly. 
  3. Apply face moisturizer.
  4. If your moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF, apply sunscreen. This should go on before makeup. 

Night time routine

  1. Remove makeup with micellar water or makeup remover.
  2. Wash your face with warm water.
  3. Apply your retinol, giving it time to soak in.
  4. Apply a night-time moisturizer on top. If you’re new to retinol or have sensitive skin, consider making a retinol sandwich: moisturizer, then retinol, then moisturizer.

Other ingredients to watch out for

Retinol is a powerful ingredient. Pairing it with other potent exfoliants and acne-fighting products may be too much for your skin. Here’s what not to mix with retinol: 

  • Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) used to exfoliate skin. It’s too strong to be combined with retinol without causing some irritation. 
  • Salicylic acid is an acne-fighting and exfoliating treatment that could irritate skin when combined with retinol. 
  • Benzoyl peroxide fights acne-causing bacteria. It’s mighty and could cause dryness and irritation if used alongside retinol. 

If you have these products in your routine, try to use them on alternating nights.

People also ask

How do I start using retinol?

Always incorporate new skincare products into your routine slowly — this applies to retinol. 

Start by using it twice a week during your nightly skincare routine. Slowly build up use, giving your skin time to adjust. 

To mitigate potential dryness, use moisturizer before and after retinol. Use retinol nightly once your skin has become accustomed to the product.

What are the different types of retinol?

Vitamin A derivatives like retinol come in different forms. Some are available over-the-counter, while others are prescription-based. Retinols contain a lower concentration of retinoic acid, while retinoids have higher concentrations and are usually prescription only. 

To find the right retinol product for you, consider your skincare concerns. Some products explicitly target signs of aging, while others were created to treat persistent acne.

  • Tretinoin is a prescription-only treatment used for anti-aging and acne.
  • Adapalene is an over-the-counter treatment for mitigating acne.
  • Retinol serums can be purchased online or in your local makeup department. These often include other anti-aging ingredients like collagen. Our go-to product is Pixi’s Botanical Collagen and Retinol Serum. It uses natural ingredients like rosemary and chamomile to calm skin while delivering amazing results. 
  • Retinol eye creams are easily accessible and designed to target under-eye concerns like dark circles, wrinkles, and pigmentation issues. We love Kate Sommerville’s Retinol Firming Eye Cream because the formula is simple, safe, and effective.

What are some vitamin C product recommendations?

Here are a few of the best vitamin C products on the market. These will seamlessly fit into your skincare routine. 

Enjoy healthy, happy skin

Both vitamin C and retinol are effective at reducing the signs of aging and clearing acne. While their efficacy is robust, this also means it’s essential to use them together in a safe way. Applying vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night reduces your risk of skin damage and irritation. 

To discover products that perfectly meet your skincare concerns, watch video reviews on Flip. Hear first-hand stories about the efficacy of these anti-aging miracle products, and feel excited about your advanced skincare routine.

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