Retinol vs Vitamin C Serum: Which One Should You Use?

Retinol VS Vitamin C Serum

Determining which one to use between these power products is dependent on what you want to achieve.

With a close look into the world of beauty and skincare, you will discover that there are tons of products that you can purchase. It almost feels like products are released into the market every day. While it may be tempting to pick just any product and use it for your skin, you must have a really good knowledge of whatever product you want to use.

Retinol and Vitamin C Serum are two highly recommended products in the skincare world. We know you must have heard of them; they are all everyone seems to be talking about, including dermatologists.

Over time, a major question has been raised concerning these two active products, and that is the question of which one should you use? Before deciding on which one to stick to between this duo, you need to know what they are and what they do. Read on to find out.

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a term used for any product that is applied topically, that contains vitamin A derivative. It helps the body in the process in which the body is prompted to shed skin cells and develop new cells. Also known as skin-cell turnover. This process helps to get rid of fine lines, dull skin appearance, etc.

Every day, the skin is faced with challenges, dirt, pollution, etc. all of these, in turn, make the skin develop acne, eczema, aging, fine lines, etc. The use of retinol sheds off the damaged skin and prompts our body to produce new skin.

Benefits Of Using Retinol

  1. Clears Acne: Retinol is very effective in clearing off acne and protects the skin from further outbreaks. It also clears the acne scars.
  1. Even Skin Tone: Retinol prompt the production of new skin cell, and when this is done, old, dull, uneven skin cells, make way for a new one.
  1. Anti-Aging: Retinol, is one of the most used ingredients for anti-aging. As new skin is generated, the skin stays young and flawless.

What Is Vitamin C Serum?

Vitamin c is a very important part of skin health, it is also known as ascorbic acid, it is an antioxidant and it works to neutralize free radicals and protects the skin from the sources of free radicals. Vitamin c also boosts the production of collagen in the body. Although we consume vitamin c in food and fruits, we cannot be sure it is going directly to the skin, hence the need for serum.

Benefits Of Using Vitamin C Serum

  1. Hydrating: One of the vitamin c derivatives is magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which has been discovered to have hydrating effects on the skin. This derivative, allows the skin to absorb and retain moisture.
  • Fade Hyperpigmentation: Sunburn, age spots, occurs when the melanin production is more in some parts of the skin. Applying vitamin c serum can help fade the dark spots and make your skin tone, even.
  • Collagen Production: Vitamin c is known for boosting the production of collagen in the body. Collagen is the protein in charge of structure in the body. Collagen in the body reduces aging, boosts hair production, and makes the skin look healthier.
  • Protects From Sun Damages: Vitamin c is rich in antioxidant properties, which means that it can protect the skin from sun damages and free radicals.
  • Boosts Cell Turnover: Vitamin c serum boosts the production of new cells in the body.

Which One Should You Use?

The decision on which one to use is highly dependent on the purpose of using them. If you are searching for a product that can prevent your skin from free radicals, then vitamin c serum is the one for you. However, it is recommended that you include both in your skincare routine.

Using both together, at the same time, can cause irritation and sensitivity to your skin, and since you do not want this, you can split them into morning and night skincare routines.

Vitamin C Serum can protect your skin from UV rays and other damages of free radicals; hence it is best to use it in the morning before you head out. On the other hand, Retinol is known to stimulate cell turnover, which is the production of new skin, this is why the right time to apply it is at night when you are about to go to bed. The body is also known to regenerate when you are asleep.


Which is better serum or retinol?

In some cases, retinoids are considered stronger in creating skin barriers that help prevent moisture loss compared to serums. If you have dry skin then retinol might be considered a better option for you. However, serums tend to be light to the touch compared to topical retinoid cream. So in that case, a serum is the better choice over a topical retinoid cream.

How fast does retinol work?

Retinol can take up to 6 months to give results. However, with strong prescription strength, you may see results in a matter of weeks. Signs of aging and sun damage might take a while but you may notice a change in conditions such as acne after 12 weeks.

How long should you wait to apply moisturizer after retinol?

You should wait at least 20 minutes for your skin to fully absorb the retinol cream before applying a moisturizer.

Do I need both serum and moisturizer?

Yes, you do need both you don’t have to. Serum and moisturizers provide the skin with different benefits and for some who do not have dry skin, serum alone can be used. For dry or sensitive skin, you might have to use a serum and moisturizer.

Can I Skip Serum

You can skip serums on your lazy days but not to skipped completely from your skincare routine. Using serum in the morning provides your skin from the sun and it should come after cleansing and before moisturizing.

Is it OK to use retinol every night?

Yes, it’s okay to use retinol every night but it does need time to work but is safe to use. It definitely has a fair share of side effects hence you should do a patch test to ensure it’s safe for everyday use for your skin.

Can teens use retinol?

Yes! Retinols are used to control and get rid of breakouts and they are especially common in teens. Retinoids are safe for acne-prone teens and their young skin to avoid and prevent signs of aging.

Final Thoughts

For any skincare products you use, it is best to start slowly, especially if they are powerful products like Retinol and Vitamin C Serum. These products can cause a reaction to your skin when you introduce them, however, it should get better as you proceed.

Depending on your skin type, it is best to use this product twice a week in the beginning, this will help your body adjust properly. If you notice further reactions or irritation. You should consult your dermatologist.

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