Layering Retinol and Vitamin C 101

If you’ve ever browsed the skincare aisle of your local drugstore, you’ve probably seen products that contain retinol and vitamin C. They’re both incredibly popular skincare ingredients with unique capabilities.

Retinol is often used to fight wrinkles and discoloration while vitamin C is known for its brightening abilities. So why would anyone want to layer them together? Well, these two ingredients complement each other’s benefits. However, layering them can be tricky. But don’t worry, that’s exactly what we’re here for!

Layering retinol and vitamin C

Here’s everything you need to know about how these two powerhouse ingredients interact with one another:

Retinol and vitamin C: What are they?

Retinol is the most potent form of vitamin A, which means if you’re using it regularly, you’ll likely notice results faster than with other skincare actives. On the other hand, vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants out there—it can help your skin repair itself from various causes of skin damage.

While they aren’t exactly interchangeable, it’s possible to use them together in a way that maximizes their effectiveness while minimizing the risk of irritation.

The importance of proper usage

Even though the combination of retinol and vitamin C may seem like a dream team, not everyone is into it. Some people can actually experience redness, irritation, and dryness from this combo. If you’re someone who’s new to skincare and trying out retinol for the first time, then this is something to be especially aware of.

It’s important to note that there are definitely some people who can use both products together without any issues. The thing about skincare is that everyone’s skin is different—so your mileage may vary when it comes down to how well your skin responds with certain ingredients!

How to use retinol and vitamin C together

Alternate between the two each day

One great method to avoid irritation is to try alternating between retinol and vitamin C each day. By not using them on the same day, there is a significant reduction in the risk of irritation. This is by far the safest and most conservative method which is highly recommended for those who are new to both skincare ingredients.

Vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night

If you want to use each of the ingredients at different times of the day, it is best that you use vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night. Since retinol holds a higher risk for irritation, using it at night means your skin is safe from the harsh UV rays of the sun—this reduces the chance of your skin getting irritated.

An important thing to note is whenever you use vitamin C in the morning, you must never skip applying your sunscreen to prevent incurring any more skin damage.

Apply 20 minutes apart

If you prefer having both powerhouse ingredients in one routine, make sure that you allot 20 minutes in between applications to allow complete penetration of the first product before applying the next.

An efficient way to do so is to first apply a vitamin C serum, add some moisturizer, wait for 20 minutes, and top off with some retinol cream.


So there you have it! If you want to use retinol and vitamin C together, stick to this regimen. It will definitely keep your skin looking youthful and glowing for all the years to come.

Layering and vitamin C

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