Retinol and Vitamin C - The correct approach to simple and highly effective skincare routine

It is a well-known fact that consuming fruits and coloured/green vegetables is the way to go. And that is because they are highly nutritious and they are an excellent source of Vitamins and Minerals. But ever wondered why you need these vitamins? And that it may be Vitamins that you need which can help you boost that skin glow you have been aiming for.

Importance of Vitamins

  • Vitamins come under micronutrients, which means that you need them in little quantities only. Still, these are nonetheless essential for the proper functioning of your body.
  • Vitamins are mainly responsible for cellular repair. Vitamins ensure that the new skin formation occurs correctly and that any wound or injury is also adequately healed.
  • This is also one of the primary reasons why the cosmetics industry has taken a great interest in Vitamins.
  • Two widely popular Vitamins are A and C.

Role of Vitamin A or Retinol

  • Often used as a dietary supplement, it is used to treat Vitamin A deficiency. Your body is not capable of producing Vitamin A on its own, and hence you need to take it externally.
  • But apart from oral administration, this retinol finds a significant role as treating skin complications due to Measles. This is administered via oral or topical injection.
  • The reason why retinol is popular in the skincare industry is because of its ability to promote collagen formation. This collagen is the primary skin protein which makes you skin tighter and makes you look younger.
  • Retinol, when applied topically promotes the epidermis proliferation and thickening, which further prevents your skin from external injury.

Skincare benefits of retinol

When applied topically, retinol has been proven to promote many positive effects such as –
  • It is anti-ageing in nature and tightens your skin
  • It drastically reduces wrinkles
  • Retinol accelerates wound healing
  • It maintains the skin hydration and prevents drying and flaking
  • While retinol is proven for its effects, it can take months before you can actually see some result
  • For Dry Skin – Using a retinol-based serum can help you prevent your skin from drying out, and the additional emollients in serum will make sure your skin remains soft and supple
  • For Oily Skin – Using a retinol-based gel can be beneficial for this skin type as gels have more water content which is desirable to keep a moisturized skin
  • While retinol is perfect for anti-ageing, using it along with sunscreen can have a better effect if you tend to travel under direct sunlight

Role of Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C is another crucial vitamin that you need to take externally as your body isn’t able to make it.
  • It is widely known as the scurvy or bleeding gums curing agent. But apart from this, Vitamin C has many skincare benefits which make it another essential choice of vitamin for the skincare industry.
  • Its absorption in your gut is limited, and only a limited amount of it gets absorbed and distributed for further cellular processes. This decreases the bioavailability of Vitamin C for skincare.
  • And so, direct topical application of Vitamin C is preferred to gain its skincare benefits.


The good old Vitamin C has multiple skincare benefits which include the following -
  • It is an excellent anti-oxidant which can get rid of excess free radicals, thus preventing your body from going into an oxidative stress
  • It can reverse skin damage done by UV, which tends to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS’s), which particularly damage your skin cells. Vitamin C protects your skin from these ROS’s.
  • This further aids in making your skin more youthful and hence promoting anti-ageing
  • It also promotes collagen synthesis, which makes your skin tighter and makes you look younger.
  • This vitamin is perfect for depigmentation. Often due to sun exposure or acne problems, you might develop dark spots. Vitamin C can treat them.
  • It is also anti-inflammatory in nature, which is essential to reduce unwanted redness and even allergic reactions.

Can they be used together?

While it is quite understandable that you would probably go that extra mile in attaining a younger and brighter skin, there is a line that you need to draw when it comes to using the number of products on your skin. Particularly when it comes to using Retinol and Vitamin C. While Vitamin C is water-soluble and is formulated on a highly acidic environment of pH of less than 3.5, retinol is oil soluble. Retinol is formulated on a moderately acidic environment of pH of 5-6. The only disadvantage and quite concerning one at that is that using these two products of different pH will reduce the efficacy altogether. Basically, the probability of the formulation of the product breaking on your skin will increase, which means neither will get absorbed on the skin. Thus, nullifying the purpose of utilizing it. So, No! Don’t layer products containing these two.

How to gain advantage of both

But not to worry, there is an alternative way in which you can extract the benefits of the products containing these vitamins without breaking the formulation. You could use Vitamin C in the morning and layer it with a sunscreen. Then later at night, you could apply your retinol cream and go to sleep. You could alternatively apply it on alternative nights. Retinol particularly should be applied at nights because the UV rays might break the bonds in retinol, rendering it ineffective. While using these Vitamins are proven to be beneficial, exploiting them can do more harm than good. So do not overuse or misuse them. Always read the labels before applying these on your skin and the best way is to follow the instructions as mentioned on the labels.

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