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If you've been active in the skin care industry lately, you would have noticed that vitamin C and retinol are some of the most sought-after ingredients. There are many misconceptions surrounding what these products can do to your skin, and here, we will dive deep into the matter. Even though using retinol and vitamin C together can be very tempting, it is better to know the real effects of using these two products on your skin both separately and together before making this decision.
For example, did you know that while many see short-term benefits with retinol, in the long run this ingredient damages the skin, making skin age quicker than it should?
What Does Retinol and Vitamin C Do?
Retinol is a skin care ingredient widely used by people who wish to rejuvenate mature skin. At Annmarie Skin Care, we believe that retinol, despite it being a popular skin care ingredient, is not a safe option for your skin. We find it better to use a high-quality alternative, like our Bioactive-A Complex, which offers comparable results that retinol promises without the side effects.
Misconceptions of the benefits of retinol include:
- Helps reduce skin redness
- Revitalizes the appearance of mature skin
- Evens the appearance of skin tone
Retinol can negatively affect the skin with continual use hence why in our Concentrated Boosting Elixirs, we use Bioactive-A Complex, as it is safe for the skin, giving you all of the above benefits without any of the damaging effects.
The side effects of retinol include:
- Irritated skin
- Sun sensitivity
- Flaking or peeling skin
On the other hand, Vitamin C is a common ingredient in anti-aging serums and lotions. That’s because it helps maintain a smooth and glowy complexion on your skin. It is best to use your vitamin C topically for best results since consuming foods rich in vitamin C doesn’t assure you the same immediate benefits.
Benefits of vitamin C include:
- Safe for most skin types
- Hydrates the skin
- Brightens and lightens your look
- Evens the appearance of skin tone
- Decreases the appearance of dark circles under the eyes
- Firms and tightens the appearance of skin
- Renews the look of beautiful skin
- Acts as a natural skin protector
The only side effect of vitamin C is that it can be a little irritating when applied on extremely sensitive skin or in excessive amounts.
Misconceptions surrounding vitamin C
There are some common misconceptions about what Vitamin C can do to your skin. These include:
- It can make your skin sensitive to the sun and only be applied at night. Even though in its pure form, it can be acidic, that doesn’t mean topical use can cause the skin to be sensitive. Vitamin C is great at offering protection to outdoor lovers.
- Vitamin C won’t work for sensitive skin. Vitamin C is great for all skin types, and if yours is a little sensitive, you should find the right vitamin C for your skin, like Tetrahexyldecyl-ascorbate (THDA).
- The higher the percentage of vitamin C, the more effective it is. For vitamin C to be effective, it is dependent on its pH levels. When starting off using vitamin C, it’s better to use it at lower percentages to prevent irritating your skin.
- Vitamin C can discolor the skin. Vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase which helps even out the appearance of your skin tone.
- You can't use Vitamin C with other active ingredients. Vitamin C is compatible with other active ingredients that can benefit your skin. But, it would help if you did not combine it with AHAs, BHAs, or retinol as they are exfoliating in nature and can cause irritation. When combining vitamin C with them, you’ll need to be extra cautious.
- All vitamin C is the same. Various forms of vitamin C are used for skin care, but Tetrahexyldecyl-ascorbate (THDA) is the purest, most effective, and most researched form of vitamin C. Unlike the other types of vitamin C, it is highly stable, it can penetrate both layers of the skin, and its optimal pH (7) allows it to benefit your skin without irritating it.
Can I Use Retinol and Vitamin C Together?
Even though vitamin C is a great product for your skin, we can't truly say the same for retinol. So, we don’t recommend using these products together. Instead, use vitamin C during the AM and your retinol alternative (Bioactive-A Complex) at night. Mixing these two with this schedule will help enhance the appearance of your skin.
In our Concentrated Boosting Elixirs, we offer both vitamin C (Tetrahexyldecyl-ascorbate) and Bioactive-A Complex to boost the results you will get on your skin when compared to using your ordinary serum or facial oil alone. For best results, use your vitamin C (Brighten) in the morning and your retinol alternative, Revitalize, in the evening.
When shopping for skin care products, it can be a little hard to find the perfect product that contains high-quality vitamin C and other ingredients for your skin. That's why we recommend you use products with the most natural form of vitamin C, which we offer at Annmarie Skin Care. Even though retinol has excellent short-term effects on the skin, we prefer to recommend products that will give you the best skin both in the short and long run.
What Happens If You Mix Retinol and Vitamin C?
Well, to start, these two actually don’t even really mix well. When retinol and vitamin C mix, they behave similarly to how water and oil mix; so, it is best to use them separately. Even if you have the urge to use them together, they tend to prevent the absorption of each into the skin, which would defeat the purpose of applying these products in the first place.
Here at Annmarie Skin Care, we use a great and pure retinol alternative (Bioactive-A Complex) which works harmoniously with vitamin C, providing you with all of the benefits you need for your skin.
Is It Bad to Use Retinol and Vitamin C Together?
Not exactly. It matters which form of retinol and vitamin C you use, as well as the timing of application. If you’re using a retinol alternative like Bioactive-A Complex—which has impressive benefits without all of the harsh effects—and using the best type of vitamin C (Tetrahexyldecyl-ascorbate), too, then you’ll have no issue using both products.
But, we do recommend applying them in different skin care sessions, applying vitamin C in the morning and your retinol alternative in the evening. In incorporating these two safer products, you’ll enhance the high-quality serum and/or facial oil formulas you already have and see the benefits of brighter, more rejuvenated skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need vitamin C if I use retinol or a retinol alternative?
Yes, because they do entirely different things for your skin. Use vitamin C during the day and your retinol or retinol alternative at night.
2. Is vitamin C or retinol/retinol alternatives better for the skin?
We recommend including both products (vitamin C and a retinol alternative) in your skin care routine as they serve different purposes—vitamin C helps brighten, while your retinol alternative helps rejuvenate. Both vitamin C and retinol alternatives are good for your skin, as long as you get products that use high-quality sources and feature ingredients that are truly safe for skin (both in the short and long term). Check out our Concentrated Boosting Elixirs, which includes Brighten, high-quality vitamin C (Tetrahexyldecyl-ascorbate) with seabuckthorn, and Revitalize, a safer and more beneficial retinol alternative (Bioactive-A Complex) with astaxanthin, which we offer at Annmarie Skin Care.
3. Can I use my retinol or retinol alternative and vitamin C at the same time?
It is better to apply vitamin C in the morning and retinol (or better versions of retinol, i.e., Bioactive-A Complex) at night.
Annmarie Gianni is a mother, health activist, entrepreneur, and founder of 3 successful businesses. Over ten years ago, she and her husband, Kevin, formed a team and Annmarie Skin Care was founded to provide a clean, skin care made with natural ingredients experience using natural, organic and wildc…
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