Can You Use Retinol and Vitamin C Together? Derms Weight In – Slash and Scroll | Expert Advice for Busy People Like You

Can You Use Retinol and Vitamin C Together? Derms Weight In

By Victoria Hardin

Vitamin C and retinol, when used together, can create a powerful powerhouse of anti-aging and skin-rejuvenation! This powerful combination of ingredients can help to reduce wrinkles, brighten skin tone, and even improve the overall health of your skin. By using both retinol and vitamin C in your routine, you can help boost collagen production, reduce inflammation, and even protect against sun damage. Whether you’re looking to combat the signs of aging or just want to maintain a youthful and healthy complexion, this combination may be worth considering! Ahead, everything you need to know about combining retinol and vitamin C in your skincare routine, plus the best retinol and vitamin C products to try right now (and as an added bonus – tips to maximize their effects).


Azadeh Shirazi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist

Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon

Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist

What Is Retinol

Retinol is a powerhouse ingredient when it comes to skin care. It’s an active form of Vitamin A that works wonders to improve the texture and tone of your skin. It works by encouraging skin cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, resulting in brighter, smoother, and firmer looking skin. “By signaling cells to behave like younger cells, retinol can smooth fine lines and wrinkles, fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and improve skin’s tone and texture,” explains Dr. Engelman. Using retinol regularly can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging. It’s a skincare must-have for anyone who wants to look their best. Retinol can be used in a variety of ways to give your skin the treatment it deserves. From moisturizers and serums to night creams, there are plenty of retinol-infused products available to help you achieve a glowing complexion. Using even the tiniest amount of retinol can make a big difference in your skin, so don’t be afraid to give it a try!

What Is Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants available and an essential nutrient for healthy skin. It’s been known to reduce wrinkles, dark spots, and boost collagen production. Vitamin C helps your body naturally produce collagen, a protein in your skin that acts as a building block for healthier, more youthful skin. Shirazi says. “It’s like pac-man—it goes around and scavenges these highly reactive molecules that harm and stress the skin.” By providing your body with this nutrient, you can help keep skin looking younger and more vibrant. Vitamin C free radicals that cause damage to the skin, while also lightening dark spots and discoloration. It also helps protect your skin from sun damage and environmental toxins, keeping it healthy and strong.

How To Safely Combine Retinol and Vitamin C

Retinol and Vitamin C are two powerful ingredients that, when combined correctly, can give incredible results for your skin. Shirazi calls this combo a “power couple” when it comes to aging well.  “These ingredients are a dream team for tackling dullness, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, acne and acne scarring, and overall skin aging,” says Dr. Mraz Robinson “From a health perspective, vitamin C neutralizes free radicals and stressors on the skin, while retinol helps the skin to shed unhealthy and potentially pre-cancerous skin cells, so they’re very complementary.” To get the most out of this combination, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Start slow — If you’re new to using Retinol and Vitamin C together, begin with a low concentration. You can always increase the concentration as your skin adjusts.

2. Use them at different times of the day — Use Retinol in the evening and Vitamin C in the morning. This will help prevent skin irritation as your skin adjusts to the combination of ingredients, Shirazi recommends.

3. Don’t overdo it — Be sure to follow the directions for each product and don’t use too much. Overusing either ingredient can cause skin irritation, so start with a small amount and adjust as needed.

4. Hydrate — Retinol and Vitamin C can both be drying, so it’s important to stay hydrated and moisturize regularly.

Tips To Maximize Retinol’s and Vitamin C’s Effects

1. Always apply sunscreen after using either Retinol or Vitamin C, as both of these products can make skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Glowscreen SPF 40
Formulated with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and vitamin B5 to hydrate and perfect, this cult beauty fave creates a dewy, glowy base without any visible glitz or glitter.
Liquid Sun Shield
Non-nano zinc oxide-based formula that provides the skin protection from UVA/UVB rays, blue light from devices, infrared radiation and pollution.  
Daily Sunscreen Gel
This broad spectrum sunscreen provides skin with daily SPF 30, as well as protection from the damaging effects of pollution & blue light—a must have for indoors & outdoors. 
SPF 30 Sunscreen
SPF 30 Sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Mineral formula, containing Zinc Oxide, is non-greasy and leaves a natural, mattified finish on the skin.

2. Start slow with Retinol and Vitamin C products; use them every other day at first to see how your skin reacts, then gradually increase usage every few days.

Time Rewind Retinol System
Unleash the scientist in you! Just mix the ingredients to create your serum in seconds. Push-and-twist, mix, and apply.
Calendula Bio-Retinol Serum
The added Calendula comforts and soothes skin while boosting skin elasticity so you can receive the same skin-improving results as traditional retinol, without the irritation.
Dynamic Skin Retinol Serum
Gentle enough for nightly use, this serum features a 3.5% Retinoid Complex + Squalane to minimize the appearance of pores, smooth texture, even tone, and reverse the look of wrinkles.
1% Retinol Treatment
A potent and uniquely formulated retinol solution that hydrates and delivers remarkable anti-aging benefits with a controlled-release delivery system to allow for even, consistent absorption.
Vitamin C Gel Cream
Instant glow with visibly brighter, firmer and plumper skin after 7 days. Boost brightness without exfoliation – perfect if your skin is on the more sensitive side.
C15 Super Booster
This concentrated booster with 15% pure vitamin C dramatically brightens uneven skin while improving the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Vitamin C Serum
Powerful, multi-functional antioxidant and skin brightening ingredient. Our Vitamin C Serum helps to tackle the appearance of hyperpigmentation, dullness and fine lines.
Violet-C Brightening Serum
A 20% vitamin C and 10% AHAs brightening serum with pure ingredients and gentle strength that helps soften and smooth for more radiant, even-toned skin. Fragrance-free.

3. Incorporate LED light therapy into your routine, as it can help activate Retinol and Vitamin C for a deeper penetration in the skin.

The Vellgus Red Light Elite Therapy Device is an incredible way to experience the benefits of multiwave technology.
With its reliable performance and unbeatable convenience, this device is ideal for anyone looking to enjoy all the benefits of red light therapy.

4. Pair Retinol and Vitamin C with other skin care products designed to enhance the effectiveness of the two, such as peptides and hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide Lip Booster
Anti-aging lip treatment that smooths away fine lines and keeps lips looking youthfully full with a powerful blend of moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid, firming peptides & hydrating squalane.
Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a powerful moisture-binding and non-sticky ingredient that works beneath the skin surface and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water. ​
Hyaluronic Serum
This versatile serum fits seamlessly into your daily skincare routine and is great for all skin types (not just dry and dehydrated).
Hyaluronic Face Cream 2.0
A refreshing, cream-gel that locks in moisture to hydrate and replenish skin for up to 72 hours, and rejuvenates skin for a more plumped, youthful look. 

5. Change up your routine; alternate Retinol and Vitamin C every other night, or use one in the morning and the other at night. This can help your skin stay balanced and prevent it from becoming too sensitive over time.

6. Be sure to drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep; healthy skin is always key to helping maximize any product’s effects.

7. Sauna-ing is the way to go; Sauna treatments can also help maximize the effects of Retinol and Vitamin C, as they open up your pores and allow for deeper penetration of the two products. Considering investing in a infrared sauna blanket that you could use at home for a relaxing and rejuvenating spa-like experience. Not only will you enjoy the warmth of a sauna session, but it can also help keep your skin looking youthful and glowing. Enjoy the warmth of a sauna session, where you can relax and let your skin soak up the goodness of Retinol and Vitamin C! It’s the perfect way to give your skin a boost, while also winding down after a long day. Plus, infrared saunas are known to help reduce stress, improve circulation and purify your skin – making it a total win-win! So, why not add sauna treatments to your skincare routine? You (and your skin) will be glad you did!



Transform your home into a luxurious spa and experience the powerful therapeutic effects of infrared sauna therapy with the Vellgus Infrared Sauna Blanket!

8.Don’t forget to exfoliate; using an AHA or BHA every few days helps to remove dead skin cells and further enhance the effects of Retinol and Vitamin C.

(BHA) Serum
BHA serum is a great choice for oilier skin as its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties can help calm breakout prone skin without any burning or tingling sensation.
AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
An ideal addition to your cleansing regimen 2-3 times a week. Chemical and physical exfoliation helps clear dull, dry skin from the surface for a fresher appearance and to improve penetration of treatment ingredients that follow. 

9.Lastly, don’t forget the basics; use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer in between retinol and vitamin C applications.

Mild Cream Cleanser
Exfoliates dead skin cells and moisturizes the skin
Rich, lathering formula leaves skin feeling soft, smooth and clean.
Evercalm™ Cleansing Milk
A creamy, emulsion cleanser to help calm redness, itchiness, dryness, and irritation, leaving sensitive and stressed skin feeling clean and comfortable. Infused with Blackcurrant Seed Oil, Omega 3, 6 and Vitamin E
Ultracalming Cleanser
Gentle cleansing gel/cream for reactive skin. This pH-balanced, non-foaming cleanser helps calm and cool reactive, sensitized or overprocessed skin.
Evercalm™ Cleansing Gel
Calms and comforts sensitive or stressed skin in a single step, with a non-drying or stripping formula that helps maintain skin’s moisture level, and soothing bioactives to help strengthen the protective skin barrier. 
The Dewy Skin Cream
A rich, moisturizing cream with plumping hydration and antioxidant-packed Japanese purple rice for a dewy, healthy glow. Ideal for dry skin. 
Colloidal Oatmeal Cream
Your daily defense moisturizer with a proprietary blend of colloidal oatmeal, niacinamide and mondo grass sugars locks in critical moisture and lipids to strengthen skin from within, while prolonging relief from eczema flare-ups and deeply hydrating.
Skin Smoothing Cream Moisturizer
A dynamic Hyaluronic Acid Complex with Mallow, Cucumber and Arnica distributes hydration throughout the skin, helping to lock in moisture for lasting hydration.
Moisturizing Gel-Cream
Looking for bouncy skin? This lightweight moisturizing gel-cream with a jelly-like texture absorbs instantly and disappears into your skin, leaving it feeling refreshed, never greasy.
Ultra-Rich Moisturizer
This luxuriant cream moisturizer relieves dryness with soothing antioxidants and nourishing plant oils to keep skin thoroughly hydrated, soft, and comforted.


Q. Is Retinol and Vitamin C used together safe?

A. Yes, when used properly and with caution, Retinol and Vitamin C can be used together safely. Start with a low concentration and adjust as needed, keeping in mind that both of these products can be drying and can cause skin irritation if overused.

Q. Does Retinol and Vitamin C used together actually work?

A. Yes, using Retinol and Vitamin C together can be beneficial for your skin. Both of these ingredients contain antioxidant properties, which help protect the skin from environmental stressors and can even help improve the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration. However, it’s important to start slow, as overusing either of these products can lead to skin sensitivity and irritation.

Q. What should I use Retinol and Vitamin C for?

A. Retinol and Vitamin C can be used to help improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars and hyperpigmentation. However, it’s important to understand that these products will not completely erase wrinkles or discoloration, but may help slow down the aging process and make your skin look brighter and more even toned.

Q. How often should I use Retinol and Vitamin C together?

A. It’s best to start with one application per week and adjust as needed. It’s important not to overuse either product, as overusing Retinol and Vitamin C can lead to skin irritation. If you experience any redness, dryness or sensitivity, back off the frequency of use or reduce the concentration of either product until your skin adjusts.

Q: Are there any other benefits to using Retinol and Vitamin C together?

A: Yes! Retinol and Vitamin C can also help improve the appearance of skin tone and texture, as well as reduce oiliness and blemishes. Additionally, these products can help fight free radicals, which can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. Overall, Retinol and Vitamin C used together can be a powerful tool for maintaining glowing, healthy looking skin.

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