The latest skincare ingredient debate: Should I use vitamin C or retinol? Or both?
Updated August 2, 2022
Smooth. Youthful. Firm. Healthy. All words we want to hear about our skin. Two of the hottest skincare ingredients out there right now—vitamin C and retinol—can help us get to this skin nirvana. But you might be asking: Which one is right for me? Read on for a quick 101 on how to decide.
The benefits of vitamin C
- Preventing visible skin damage like hyperpigmentation, dullness and uneven tone
- Diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Shields skin against environmental stressors, like free radical damage
The benefits of retinol
Retinol has earned a reputation as the ultimate wrinkle fighter over recent years. It’s a form of vitamin A that can help:
- Reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and signs of aging
- Speed cell turnover to shed dead or damaged skin cells and replace them with new, healthy cells
- Enhance skin brightness and tone
- Smooth texture
So the question remains: Should I use vitamin C or retinol?
Like so many other questions in life, the answer is: It depends. The choice should come down to what you’re looking to do for your skin. While vitamin C is most notable for helping to brighten and improve hyperpigmentation, retinol is typically considered best-in-class for wrinkles and fine lines.
And if you really want to give your skin a one-two punch to get noticeably healthier, you can certainly try incorporating both into your routine. Start by using each ingredient 1-2 times per week, applying vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night. And always pair your routine with an SPF, especially when using retinol since it can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.