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.
In short: yes, you can use vitamin C and retinol together; try retinol at night and vitamin C during the day—always with sunscreen.
Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol. As for benzoyl peroxide and retinol, they cancel each other out.
AHAs and BHAs, such as glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids should never be used with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an acid, too, and is unstable, so the pH balance will be thrown off by layering these ingredients together and might as well be useless.
This means that you're safe to use both niacinamide and vitamin C, either together in the same product, or combined from different products that you layer one over the other.
Well, when it comes right down to it, the choice is really in what you're looking to do for your skin. While vitamin C is incredible for the skin because of its ability to help brighten and improve hyperpigmentation, the best active ingredient for wrinkles is retinol.
To reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging, vitamin C and retinol are two key ingredients to keep in your arsenal. Vitamin C is known for its brightening benefits, while retinol boosts cell turnover.
Vitamin C and retinol are both found in topical products, so you use them by applying them to cleansed skin like you would most skincare. “Vitamin C is generally used in serums to allow for better absorption,” explains Thomas. “Retinol is also mainly used in serums and moisturizers.”
While Vitamin C serum predominantly protects your skin from damage, retinol serum actively heals the damage on your skin. Vitamin C serum protects the collagens while the Retinol serum helps in cell turn over thereby creating new collagens.
Many people wonder when the best time is to use their Vitamin C products. While some associate Vitamin C with daytime, others believe nights and evenings are best to use their Vitamin C-infused products. The truth is, Vitamin C can work effectively in the days or evenings.
Is it a good idea to combine Vitamin C, Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid in a skincare routine? Yes. These ingredients work well when used individually and even better when paired together.
Niacinamide and retinol can be combined in one product, which may be easier and more convenient. But they're also available as separate products. If you're using these ingredients in separate products, it's recommended to apply niacinamide first and to then follow with retinol.
1. Use your vitamin C serum first, and let it dry. Since vitamin C is notoriously unstable, you always want to apply it on clean, dry skin. Then "Let vitamin C completely dry prior to placing niacinamide," says Lamm.
Now that we know it's a perfectly safe combination, feel free to mix niacinamide and vitamin C to your heart's content. However, if you still feel nervous about combining the two ingredients on your sensitive skin, you can always use niacinamide in the morning and vitamin C at night, or even alternate days.
Emer agree that you shouldn't mix retinol with certain ingredients. If your lotion has alpha-hydroxy acids or benzoyl peroxide in it (commonly found in acne-fighting products) then you may not want to mix the two. They can make retinol less effective and may worsen irritation.
Not only can you use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid together, but when you do, they can help create a more effective skincare routine. Each one has skincare benefits, some of which we mentioned, but when combined, they can form a more potent formula that offers increased results.