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How does Vitamin C work with other ingredients?

Skincare Sidekicks (That Work Better Together)

How does Vitamin C work with other ingredients?

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Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, the bread and butter of your makeup routine.

The best skincare routines are built on strong partnerships, masterfully combining skincare ingredients that work better together, and ditching those that don’t. 

Ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) is no different. A simple daily dose of a potent anti-ageing, anti-pigmentation and skin brightening antioxidant will work wonders – the benefits of vitamin C for skin are real – but by pairing it with a hyaluronic acid you will create a skincare routine that leads to brighter, healthier, more radiant-looking skin. Together with sunscreen, vitamin C plays a huge part in prevention of further skin damage too. 

So, how do you find your perfect pairing? How does Vitamin C work with other ingredients? And which ingredients should not be used with vitamin C?

As with all good habits – repetition, discipline and consistency is key. The rest is down to science. We put your most FAQ to Consultant Dermatologist Dr. Andrew C Markey MD FRCP:

How does Vitamin C work with other ingredients?

Vitamin C Lotion

“The chances are you already know what order to apply vitamin C serum in your skincare routine - including how much and how often but vitamin C should never be underestimated as a skincare ingredient. Not only is it proven to work but it’s easy to introduce into most skincare routines. Formulated as serums or drops, it’s quick to apply and works incredibly well with overlying moisturisers, sunscreen and makeup.”  Dr. Andrew Markey.

The skincare ingredients (that vitamin C works best with)

Vitamin C Ingredients

1. The (Super) Power Couples

Antioxidants

Vitamin C effectiveness increases when combined with complementing antioxidants i.e. Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E. 

In fact, Vitamin C sits well with most other active ingredients.

  • Can I use Vitamin C with Ferulic Acid? Yes

Best for hyperpigmentation, melasma and acne (post-breakout pigmentation): Anti-inflammatory antioxidant ferulic acid helps to boost the stability and efficacy of ascorbic acid, offering double protection against free-radical damage. High concentrations of gold standard pure vitamin C (15%) and ferulic acid (.5%) work to help reduce pigmentation and redness as well as calming skin.

How to use Vitamin C with Ferulic Acid: A combination product does the hard work for you. Apply each morning and (optionally) evening, massaging 5-6 drops onto a clean face before applying a moisture lotion and broad spectrum SPF.

  • Can I use Vitamin C with Vitamin E serum? Yes

Best for hyperpigmentation: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant. By adding vitamin C and E serums into your routine – or using products that contain both – you’re giving your skin double the antioxidant ammunition to fight UV damage. Research shows that the combination of vitamins E, C, and SPF can even increase the effectiveness of sun protection.

How to use Vitamin C serum with Vitamin E: Layer under your moisturiser as-and-when-needed. SuperActive Capsules Pure Double Vitamin C & Vitamin E hold fresh-doses of stable 10% pure Vitamin C plus symbiotic Vitamin E to comfort as they brighten.

Superactive Capsules Pure Double Vitamin C and Vitamin E Serum
  • Can I use Vitamin C with CICA? Yes.

Best for dull/dry skin: A topical combination of vitamin C and antioxidant-rich Cica (centella asiatica) significantly improves skin suppleness, firmness, and hydration.

How to use vitamin C serum with Cica: Superdose Vitamin C Bio-Vitamin Brightening Body Lotion boasts all the brightening benefits of vitamin C, alongside the richness of Cica cream.

  • Can I use Vitamin C with Hyaluronic Acid? Yes.

Best for anti-ageing: Boost the anti-ageing benefits of vitamin C with azelaic acid, backuchiol or hyaluronic acid. Skin-replenishing (humectant) hyaluronic acid will plump up your skin and make fine lines look less noticeable.

How to use vitamin C serum with hyaluronic acid: Vitamin C should be applied after cleansing, due to its reactive properties. Apply your Hyaluronic Acid serum/cream next. Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid – or a product combining both – can be applied before bed (or before SPF if part of your morning skincare routine).

2. The (Other) Power Couples

Cell-communicating ingredients

Derived forms of Vitamin C work better if they’re mixed with other cell-communication products, like retinol or niacinamide.

  • Can I use Vitamin C with Retinol? Yes.

Best for anti-ageing: Studies have shown the Vitamin A and Vitamin C combination to be highly effective in reversing both natural ageing and photoageing.

How to use retinol and vitamin C serum: Either alternate their use (AM: Vitamin C; PM: Retinol) or up the efficiency and opt for a combination product. PM: Add 1-2 pumps of Super Retinol (+ Vitamin C) Night Moisturiser to your face after cleansing/toning.

  • Can I use Vitamin C with Niacinamide? Yes.

Best for skin brightening: These ingredients complement one another by improving skin radiance and evening skin tone and texture. Unless you’re seeing flushing, your skin is likely fine with the combination.

How to use Retinol and Vitamin C serum: You’re safe to use both Niacinamide and Vitamin C – either combined in one product, or layered. If you’re nervous, apply niacinamide at night and Vitamin C in the morning. Both Vitamin C and Niacinamide are safe to use during pregnancy.

Did you know?

Super Retinol (+ Vitamin C) Night Moisturiser has everything in it: encapsulated Retinol; Ferulic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid (plumping and hydrating) and Vitamin C. It's smoothing, moisturising, fine-line and wrinkle tackling, and brightening.

Super Retinol (+Vitamin C) Night Renewal Moisturiser

Which ingredients should not be used with Vitamin C?

Some chemical exfoliants and AHAs may cause skin irritation when used with Vitamin C, especially if used daily. 

“Though you’re unlikely to see a topical reaction with Vitamin C esters, Benzoyl Peroxide can oxidise ascorbic acid and may reduce its efficacy. If you need both ingredients in your routine, try alternating products or limiting your Benzoyl Peroxide to individual spots. If in doubt, ask your dermatologist which ingredient is most suited to your skin concerns,” recommends Dr. Markey. 

Reviewed by Consultant Dermatologist Dr Andrew C Markey MD FRCP.

Gilly Ferguson Avatar
Words by

Gilly Ferguson

2 years ago


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© 2023 Beauty Pie. All rights reserved.From The New York Times. © 2020 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved. Used under license.

© 2023 Beauty Pie. All rights reserved.From The New York Times. © 2020 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved. Used under license.