What Can You Not Mix with Vitamin C?

What Can You Not Mix with Vitamin C?

We have been making our way through the stream of questions that come to us all about layering and mixing skincare ingredients together, the dos and don’ts and what you can expect to see once you’ve got the right blend. So, let’s dive right in and find out more about what can you not mix with vitamin C.

What does vitamin C pair well with?

You all know by now how much I love vitamin C and the benefits it has on the skin. Not only does it combat pigmentation, signs of ageing and brighten the complexion. It can also protect the skin from free radical damage such as pollution, central heating, bad weather and exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Which certainly explains why so many skincare experts suggest applying vitamin C in the morning to allow the antioxidant properties to work throughout the day keeping the skin protected and safe from further damage.

Vitamin C and antioxidants

Whilst we are on the subject of antioxidants, these are the ingredients, such as vitamin E work well with vitamin C giving the ingredient a boost in results and efficiency on the skin. By teaming these two vitamins together you are able to protect the skin’s barrier that is found on the surface and has to endure constant exposure to damage as soon as you step foot outside your door. 

Vitamin C and SPF

By teaming vitamin C and SPF you are not only boosting the skin’s ability to combat free radicals, but you are using two skincare ingredients that are very complimentary of each other and protect the surface of the skin from excessive UV damage.

Using all these ingredients together will give you optimal results when it comes to protecting the skin. When using other skincare ingredients, such as AHAs/BHAs, retinol and niacinamide you can use them with vitamin C, it just means you need to alternate their application or leave a considerable amount of time between using each ingredient. This is mainly due to the difference in the pH levels resulting in some of these, such as glycolic acid, which can cause imbalance and irritation if used together with vitamin C. You can find out more about this over on our dedicated blog post can you use glycolic acid and vitamin C together?

Why can’t you use vitamin C and niacinamide together?

Niacinamide has a lot of benefits for the skin, from making enlarged appear less noticeable, combating signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles whilst helping to restore the skin back to its healthiest state. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin and rejuvenates the glow back whilst minimising the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation. You would think that using these two together would lead to impressive skin results, but sadly they just counteract each-others potency rendering them completely useless. To gain the full effect of both of these ingredients, its best to alternate when you use them, for example, vitamin C in the form of a serum and niacinamide applied later as a moisturiser.

It was during the 1960s when it was first discovered how vitamin C and niacinamide do not work well together. This may have had something to do with the fact that back then, pure ascorbic acid was used in skincare formulas which overtime changed to a more stable form of vitamin C which was a lot easier to blend into the vast amounts of products available now. Having said that, the modern-day vitamin C can be temperamental at times and prefers to work in low-pH levels, so more acidic. As for niacinamide, it works best in more neutral formulations.

Can you mix salicylic acid and vitamin C?

This is something that is also affected by pH levels, especially with ingredients that are so acidic such as the popular BHA, salicylic acid. By using this with vitamin C you are causing both ingredients to be less effective. There’s nothing stopping you from using salicylic acid and vitamin C together you’ll just find that you won’t gain the results you were hoping for and depending on your skin type, there could be signs of unwanted irritation, itchiness and redness. For complete peace of mind and reassurance that you will achieve the best results instead try using a vitamin C in the morning as this will allow it to combat free radical exposure throughout the day. Then use salicylic acid in the evening to have it work its way deep into the pores and rid them of impurities, dead skin cells and bacteria that build-up on the surface of the skin during the day.

Can you mix vitamin C and retinol?

I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to use both of these powerhouse ingredients together due to the fact they are packed with so many properties and benefits for the skin. Sadly, it comes down to the problem of pH levels again with vitamin C products formulated to be low up to 3.5 while retinol is known for working best at pH levels of 5.5 to 6. This leaves you with the only option of using retinol in the evening, which is ideal for this ingredient as it finds any exposure to UV light renders it useless. For vitamin C, as already mentioned works well on the skin when it is applied during your morning routine.

Can I use retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid together?

This may sound like a recipe for disaster, but surprisingly there is an effective and irritation-free way of using retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic together. So, what can these ingredients really do for the skin and what can you expect to see when combining them together.

Vitamin C: brightens and reduces the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation whilst boosting the production of collagen

Retinol: potent anti-ageing ingredient that can improve the overall appearance, texture and tone of the skin

Hyaluronic Acid: draws water into the skin and locks it in making it hydrated, plumped and healthy

When using these ingredients together, here is a quick cheat guide to help you figure out when to apply them for optimal results.

AM Routine

  1. Cleanse
  2. Toner
  3. Serum (enriched in vitamin C)
  4. Eye cream
  5. Moisturiser (enriched in hyaluronic acid)
  6. SPF

PM Routine

  1. Makeup Remover
  2. Cleanse
  3. Toner
  4. Serum (enriched in retinol)
  5. Moisturiser (enriched in hyaluronic acid)

By using all three ingredients in this way you can achieve your best-looking skin with little signs of irritation or allergies, not to mention each powerhouse is able to perform undisturbed and reach the correct areas of the skin whilst targeting any concerns leaving you with restored, rejuvenated and a glowing complexion.

Now that is the end of another skincare blog dedicated to layering and mixing active levels of ingredients and the best way to reap the rewards of an effective skincare routine. If you have any questions, don’t forget you can find me over on Instagram, so come and say hi!

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