Retinol increases cell turnover and treats acne & hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C fights off environmental stressors & free radicals to give you bright skin, boosts collagen & tackles uneven skin tone.
Now you want all these qualities together by layering retinol and vitamin c one after the other. wait. don’t do that. You will probably look like this.
Do Retinol and Vitamin C work well together?
If you mean layering Retinol and Vitamin C or mixing them at the same time then no, they don’t work together at all. Together, Retinol & Vitamin C will rip off your skin really bad!
The science-backed answer is, the PH of Vitamin C i.e., L-Ascorbic acid is 3.5 which is very acidic & PH of Retinol is around 6 which is alkaline. When you have ingredients going in completely opposite directions, how can they work for your skin together?
What happens when you mix Vitamin C with Retinol?
In order for Vitamin C to work on your skin, it has to be in acidic PH, on the other hand, Retinol performs better at basic PH. If combined, retinol and vitamin c over-exfoliate the skin, compromising your stratum corneum i.e., the outermost layer of the skin which absorbs or retains skin’s moisture & protects your skin from all kinds of bacteria, dirt & pollutants. The result, your skin might look red, scaly, patchy, flaky, dehydrated or rough.
Can you incorporate Vitamin C & Retinol in your skincare routine together in any way?
Yes, but at different times of the day. Use Vitamin C in the morning & Retinol at night-time before sleeping. This way you can rob all the lovely qualities of Retinol and Vitamin C on a daily basis.
What is Vitamin C & how does it make your skin bright?
Vitamin C in skincare is basically a topical antioxidant & that’s how it prevents all the free radical damage of your skin. Free radical damage is caused majorly by UV radiation. So, your melasma, pigmentation, dark spots & fine lines are all treated using Vitamin C resulting in bright glowing skin. It helps a lot in the formation of collagen which leads to youthful supple skin & with the consistent usage of Vitamin C, you’ll also notice how the problem of blackheads on the nose starts decreasing. Vitamin C honestly is a must-have in your bathroom cabinet!
Meet the complete vitamin C family, to know what works for you & where not to spend money.
|L-Ascorbic acid||Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate||Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate||Ascorbyl Glucoside||3-0 Ethyl Ascorbic Acid||Ascorbyl Palmitate|
|Description||The most effective & a total gold standard Vitamin C||It can be a support ingredient in your pigment fighting routine but don’t expect anything more.||It can help with tackling acne||Fights off hyperpigmentation & boosts collagen||Helps in Hyperpigmentation||Useless ingredient|
|PH||Under 3.5||7||7||5-8||5.5||Under 3.5|
|Drawback||It is the best. The only drawback could be if it doesn’t suit your skin type.||It does nothing major. It’s only a support pigment fighting ingredient||It’s weakest in collagen boosting production.||Bad antioxidant||Buy it only if you can’t get your hands on any other forms.||Just walk away|
Vitamin C Family
Which ingredients are Vitamin C friendliest with?
- Vitamin E
- Ferulic acid
- Azelaic acid
- Hyaluronic acid
- Salicylic acid (how to correctly pair, check the article)
Vitamin C packaging matters a lot!
Vitamin C oxidizes easily if it’s susceptible to sunlight, water & oxygen. Regardless of any form you choose, Stability is the most important. Clear yellowish color is the starting fresh point of Vitamin C, when it turns to turn brownish whiskey color, let it go! Always buy serums in a dark packaging bottle & store it away from sunlight & heat in your bathroom cabinets perhaps.
How to use Vitamin C correctly?
- Do a patch test first.
- Cleanse your face nicely & pat it dry
- Then start with the lowest concentration of Vitamin C if you are using it for the first time.
- Don’t mix Vitamin C with any other ingredient except the ones I mentioned.
- Just a few drops are enough to cover the whole face & neck
- Layer it with moisturizer followed by sunscreen.
Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A which directly affects our gene expression, regulating all our age-related issues by eliminating old dead skin cells & allowing fresh, young skin cells to come up to the surface. It goes deep into the layers of the skin & exfoliates it from within resulting in clean pores from bacterial growth or sebum & cleared acne.
Why is Retinol the most researched ingredient?
Because everybody wants to stay young & Retinol does the job by slowing skin aging. Yes, it does! Retinol actually builds the collagen & elastin in the skin by going & working on & in the deep layers of the skin. Retinol eliminates fine lines & wrinkles, reduces the appearance of uneven skin tone, sagging skin & improves the protective barrier of the skin with consistent usage.
What is Retinol & what is Retinoid? Are these the same?
It’s a lot of confusion out there with the whole Retinol family. Oh yes, Retinol has a big family and the head of the family is Retinoid. Retinoid has 7 children & Retinol is one of them. When it comes to who’s stronger? Obviously, the father is! Retinoid is 20 times stronger than Retinol. Well, this was the least frightening way I could clear your doubts about these heavily confusing scientific terms.
Moving on, nothing this amazing comes so easy peasy, Retinol is not like any botanical ingredient which you apply however you want & will get away with that. There are rules to always follow when you’re starting your Retinol journey otherwise Retinol has all the potential to backfire on the skin’s health!
Retinol Rules!! (Applied for all the Retinoids)
- Use Retinol only at night.
- Do not use it very close to your eyes, mouth, or nose.
- Never exceed the quantity more than a pea size.
- Don’t forget to apply it on the neck as well.
- Don’t apply it on damp skin. Pat, the skin dry first.
- Don’t forget to layer it with a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
- Try & avoid any other actives or chemical peels when you have just begun your retinol journey. Retinol itself is very new and strong for your skin right now. Let the skin adjust first.
- Always wear sunscreen when you’re out in the day. Using retinol makes your skin highly photosensitive which means the skin is very sensitive to UV light.
- Don’t Mix retinol with any other actives except Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid & Azelaic acid. It doesn’t gel up with most of the ingredients. SNOB
Who shouldn’t use Retinol?
- Pregnant/Nursing women should definitely avoid Retinol
- If you have Eczema/Rosacea skin conditions, avoid Retinol because it increases skin sensitivity & irritates dry skin more.
How much Retinol to use?
For sensitive skin types & beginners, always start with a low concentration, like .25% & gradually increase to 1%. Start using it twice a week & slowly increase to every other night.
Also, People with Ivory skin should start using Retinol from their mid 20s as their skin is more prone to early signs of aging compared to dark skin.
Now, what if you get any of the Retinol backfires? It can happen & it does happen to people every day in the world. Don’t panic & heal the skin with these tips
Fix Retinol damage/burns
- Avoid using cleansers or moisturizers with fragrances.
- No makeup till you heals back
- Use Thermal spring water to calm the skin (Try from La Roche Posay)
- Take cold showers or ice your face (wrapped in a thin cloth). Avoid hot showers at any cost.
- Don’t use any exfoliating fancy gadgets to wash the face, simply hands.
- Give a lot of moisture & hydration to the skin for it to feel better. Like moisturizers loaded with ceramides (Helps in skin barrier) & Hyaluronic acid.
- Now, seal the skin with a light layer of Vaseline. It locks in all the goodies we’ve given & heals the skin faster.
- Stop using any other exfoliants, acids, AHAs, BHAs, peroxides, salicylic acid, or vitamin c until you are completely healed.
- Glycerin & Aloe vera, both are great soothing & calming agents for the skin
- Product suggestion – Try Avene- Cicalfate + restorative protective cream
- DO NOT forget to apply sun block before stepping outside. Your skin is already in a vulnerable state. UV rays can make it worse.
Retinol usage results
Does the Packaging of Retinol Products matter?
Yes! Retinol Products are very unstable & sensitive in nature; hence Retinol packaging is literally everything, which surprisingly very few people know of. Air Exposure means retinol death. So read on.
There are 4 types of packaging in the market:
- Tubes (Best)
- Pump bottles (Better)
- Serum bottles (Okay)
- Jars (NAH)
Tubes are undoubtedly the best & the safest form to use Retinol products. Retinol, when stored properly in tubes, has a much longer shelf life than another packaging. Beware of the Jars with those big lids. They don’t make sense at all.
Does storage condition of Retinol matter?
Very much, Retinol is not a stable ingredient in nature & perhaps it likes staying in cool, dark places. Quite away from Sunlight, to maintain its shelf life. Hence, your bathroom cabinets work just fine.
Retinol and Vitamin C – Should this combination be used together?
NOPE! Retinol and Vitamin C should not be used together at the same time because of extreme differences in PH levels but Vitamin C is superb for daytime use & Retinol for nighttime. This daily skincare routine will work wonders for your skin.
& don’t forget to load on sunscreen in the daytime guys!!
Love~ Beauty Stroll
A few related Articles
If you loved reading this article, you will probably also enjoy reading:
- Can you use Glycolic Acid with Retinol?
- Should you apply Retinol before or After Moisturizer
- Can you use Benzoyl Peroxide with Retinol?
- Can you use Azelaic Acid and Retinol Together
- Can you use Retinol And Hyaluronic Acid Together?
- Can you use Niacinamide with Retinol?
- Can you use Salicylic Acid and Retinol Together?