Unless your skin-care routine doesn’t go beyond using the most basic cleanser and moisturizer (in which case, sounds like it’s time for an upgrade), there’s already a strong possibility that you’re using vitamin C, retinol and/or hyaluronic acid to help keep your skin looking its best. These popular ingredients can be found in loads of few skin-care products — and they aren’t tacked onto formulas just for fun. Each ingredient has its own set of skin-care benefits that make it a welcome addition to almost any skin-care routine.
When ingredients are this effective on their own, it makes you wonder how they can benefit your skin when used together. We consulted with board-certified dermatologists and Skincare.com consultants Erin Gilbert, MD, Dendy Engelman, MD, and Ted Lain, MD, to find out whether it’s a good idea to use all three in conjunction.
How Can Vitamin C, Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid Benefit Your Skin?
First things first, let’s review exactly why vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid are must-have skin-care ingredients.
Vitamin C: When used in skin-care formulations, vitamin C can make a major difference in your skin tone and hyperpigmentation. According to Dr. Gilbert, vitamin C has been shown to brighten the appearance of skin and help neutralize the damage from free radicals. “A vitamin C serum will be most effective in delivering to the cellular level,” says Dr. Engelman. “Serums have the highest concentration of active ingredients, and they have smaller molecules, which allows actives to penetrate further.”
Retinol: Retinol is a key anti-aging ingredient. Dr. Gilbert says, “Retinol causes the top layer of skin to turn over faster, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and gives your skin a fantastic glow.” If you’re not concerned about anti-aging yet, you can still benefit from using a retinol. This multi-tasking ingredient also addresses acne and uneven skin tone. “Retinol can deliver increased collagen production at prescription strength, improve tone and even skin’s texture,” adds Dr. Lain.
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a star in the skin-care scene, and for good reason. “Hyaluronic acid binds 1,000 times its weight in water,” shares Dr. Gilbert. “It provides your skin with fabulous moisture, making it feel hydrated and look dewy.” Hyaluronic acid is gentle and can be used on all skin types, including sensitive.
How Does Using All Three Together Benefit Your Skin?
You can — and should — combine all three skin-care ingredients in your routine, Dr. Gilbert says. By using vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid together, you’ll receive all of the benefits detailed above. That being said, introducing new skin-care products and ingredients into your routine isn’t always easy. Thankfully, our experts weighed in on best practices. Below, find a dermatologist-recommended morning and evening skin-care routine.
Your Morning Skin-Care Routine
Morning Skin-Care Step #1: Cleanse
No matter which ingredients you plan to pair together, you need to start with a freshly cleansed face. For the best results, look for a cleanser that’s formulated for your specific skin type.
Morning Skin-Care Step #2: Apply Vitamin C Serum
Dr. Gilbert suggests using a vitamin C serum immediately after washing your face, as it can increase the penetration of the product to help you achieve the best results. Try the Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum, formulated with 15% pure vitamin C. This serum is designed to help ward off signs of premature aging and is paraben-, fragrance- and silicone-free.