This is How You Should Use Vitamin C and Retinol
That being said, you need to strike the right balance between the two as both vitamin C and retinol are powerful anti-ageing ingredients. When you use them in the right way for your skin, the results are incredible, but if you go too hard too soon, you run the risk of irritating your complexion. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Our speedy skincare guide lays out the difference the two ingredients, as well as how to use vitamin C and retinol together.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals and environmental stressors. It’s almost like a protective barrier around your skin, keeping pollution and other aggressors from damaging your skin. Brand founder and New York dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross explains: "Not only does vitamin C protect against damaging free radicals, but it also helps to lighten and break up pigmentation you might already have, as well as preventing sun spots from forming and increasing overall radiance.”
What Does Vitamin C Do In Skincare?
Vitamin C brightens your skin and evens out your skin tone. We know that dealing with pigmentation can be tough but adding this ingredient to your morning routine can help to slowly fade out these dark spots, while also giving your skin a radiance boost. The skincare heavyweight also helps to boost collagen production, which in turn ensures your skin looks plump and bouncy.
As we mentioned, vitamin C is a power antioxidant which protects your skin from environmental stressors like pollution. If you live in the city, we highly recommend using a vitamin C serum or cream within your daily routine. It can make your skin slightly more sensitive to sunlight, so always make sure you wear SPF – whether you’re using vitamin C as part of your morning or evening routine.
Our Favourite Vitamin C Products
There are hundreds of vitamin C serums and creams on the market. Finding the right one for you depends on your skin type and concern. Here are a couple of our favourites.
For A Potent Dose Of Vitamin C: Medik8 C-Tetra Luxe, £59
This potent Vitamin C serum brightens and nourishes the skin. Expect daily antioxidant protection and a serious boost in brightness.
If You Have Sensitive Skin: Darphin Ideal Resource Renewing Pro-vitamin C And E Capsules, £76
In need of a serious radiance boost? This encapsulated blend of vitamin C and vitamin E stays stable and highly potent until the moment you use it.
What Is Retinol?
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, alongside retinoids or retin-A. The difference between the various derivatives is the potency. Unless you’ve battled with acne and received a prescription from your doctor or dermatologist, it’s likely that you’ll have only come across retinol and retinoids. Both are widely available in over-the-counter skincare products and are regularly referred to as the Holy Grail of anti-ageing.
“It is the gold standard of anti-ageing skincare since it helps increase cellular turnover which stimulates your body’s production of new skin cells,” says Dr Dennis. When used correctly, retinol can leave you with that baby skin look. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to opt for a gentler alternative like bakuchiol.
The Benefits Of Retinol In Skincare
Retinol is one of the most well-regarded skincare ingredients in the anti-ageing category. While you can use retinol to help to smooth out fine lines and fade unwanted pigmentation, the ingredient can also help get rid of hormonal acne breakouts as it helps to unclog pores and rebalance sebum production. It’s worth noting that while retinol can help increase your skin cell turnover, this can take four to six weeks. To reap the benefits of retinol skincare products you have to be consistent.
Our Favourite Retinol Products
Just like vitamin C, there are tons of retinol serums and creams at your disposal. If you’re new to vitamin A, opt for a lower concentration to ease your skin in.
If You’re New To Retinol: Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Stable Retinal Night Serum, £45
Designed for sensitive skin, this low-strength retinol is ideal for those who are only starting to use retinol. Once your skin is used to this one, you can build up to a stronger dose, from 0.03% to 0.1%.
If You’ve Used Vitamin A Before: Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment, £13
This gentle yet effective formula is the superhero your skin needs. From fine lines and wrinkles to pigmentation, this one will help you achieve your best skin yet.
How To Use Vitamin C And Retinol Together
How To Use Vitamin C
Vitamin C works wonders when used during the day. In the morning, after cleansing, apply your vitamin C of choice followed by your usual moisturiser and SPF. We’d recommend starting with a concentration of 10% or lower, and slowly increasing once your skin is used to it. Be consistent and you should start noticing a difference in a few weeks.
How To Use Retinol
With retinol, the rule of thumb is to ‘start low, go slow’. Founder of 111Skin, Dr. Alexandrides recommends easing your skin in and using retinol once a week in the evening. If the introduction goes well, you can up this to twice a week and slowly start using a stronger retinol. We recommend avoiding active ingredients such as AHAs or BHAs for a few days to give your skin a rest.
Make sure you apply a generous layer of SPF in the morning to keep the UV rays from damaging your skin. Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so don’t be tempted to skip this step.
The Final word On Vitamin C And Retinol
If you’re looking for the best combination to fight the first signs of ageing or to fade pigmentation, vitamin C and Retinol are the way to go. Vitamin C every morning and Retinol once a week, without forgetting your daily SPF, that’s the formula to achieve your skin goals.
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