Can you use retinol with vitamin C?

I've heard that you are not suppose to combine retinol with glycolics but I've also heard that vitamin c can also disturb the vitamin a molecule. So can you or can't you use them together and is there a difference in stability of prescription vitamin a and OTC retinols when it comes to combining ingredients?

Doctor Answers 1

Can you use retinol with Vitamin C?

It is true that it is best not to combine Retinol with glycolics or Vitamin C, but not because it disturbs the molecular structure of retinol. Rather it is because adding an acidic product like glycolic and Vitamin C temporarily lowers the skin's pH significantly and prevents the skin from optimally converting retinol into tretinoin (its active form). Comparatively, topical prescription Vitamin A (tretinoin) does not need to be converted by the skin because it is already in active form. It should be clarified that it is good to use these three products together in a skin care routine, but separately to improve skin texture, reduce hyperpigmentation and promote collagen growth. I would recommed using Retinol/Retin-A at night and glycolic or Vitamin C during the day, or alternate their use on different days.

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