Can You Layer Vitamin C & Retinol? How To Use Them Together

by Jerald Dyson

So now you know what retinol and vitamin C do for the skin separately, but what happens when you combine them? Well, you might just hit the jackpot of skin care when utilizing the power of both products, but it’s important to do it right. 

Board-certified dermatologist and YouTube content creator Andrea Suarez, M.D., FAAD, cautions against using the two at the same time. “The two ingredients and their respective formulations can sometimes be very irritating if used together,” she says. Not to mention, layering them one after the other might render them ineffective.

As a general rule of thumb: Use retinol at night and vitamin C in the morning. “To get the most benefit from vitamin C, you want to use it during the day to protect the skin while exposed to environmental stressors such as the sun and pollution,” celebrity esthetician and skin expert Shani Darden tells mbg. On the flip side, retinol can promote cell turnover while you snooze. Not to mention, it’s much safer to apply retinol in the evening, as it can sensitize your skin to sun exposure.

Here’s a quick breakdown, if you’d like to see the routine all planned out:


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