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The Ultimate Guide to Mixing Vitamin C with Acne Products for Glowing Skin

If you're anything like me, you're always on the hunt for the perfect skincare routine. And if you're dealing with acne, you know the struggle is real. Sadly, many acne-fighting ingredients (e.g., benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid) can't be used at the same time as active anti-aging ingredients like retinol and Vitamin C. This makes it hard to incorporate all of them into your routine.

The Ultimate Guide to Mixing Vitamin C with Acne Products for Glowing Skin

But what if I told you that you could incorporate Vitamin C into your routine without compromising your acne-fighting products? That's right! Today, I'm sharing my secrets on how to mix Vitamin C with acne products for that radiant, clear skin we all crave. So, let's dive in!

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Why Vitamin C is Your Skin's BFF

Boosts collagen production: When it comes to taking care of your skin, Vitamin C is in it for the long haul. It helps your skin stay elastic and firm by promoting collagen synthesis.

Fades dark spots: It's a natural brightening agent that can help fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation.

Antioxidant protection: Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals, protecting your skin from environmental damage and premature aging.

Choosing the Right Vitamin C Product


Vitamin C serums are the most popular and effective way to incorporate this wonder ingredient into your routine. Look for a serum with L-ascorbic acid, the most potent form of Vitamin C, and a concentration between 10-20%.


Vitamin C powders are a versatile option that can be mixed with your favorite moisturizer or serum. This is currently what I use and it mixes very easily with my favorite moisturizer. Just make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging for the correct mixing ratio.

Good Molecules Vitamin C Booster Powder

How to Combine Vitamin C with Acne Products

Timing is everything: Apply your Vitamin C product in the morning and your acne treatment at night. This way, you can reap the benefits of both without any potential interactions. 

If you're like me and want to use retinol at night, this can make things tricky. You can't use benzoyl peroxide with retinol; they cancel each other out. And using retinol with salicylic acid can overdry your skin. In this case, it would be better to use your acne treatment in the morning and Vitamin C at night. 

Just be careful since using retinol at the same time as Vitamin C has the potential to cause irritation. I have sensitive skin, so I prefer alternating them every other night so that I can get the best of both worlds!

Layering like a pro: If you're using a Vitamin C serum, apply it after cleansing and toning, but before your moisturizer. For powders, mix them with a water-based serum or moisturizer and apply after your toner and any other serums you may use (like hyaluronic acid).

Patch test, always: Before diving headfirst into this new routine, make sure to patch test both your Vitamin C and acne products to avoid any potential irritation.

Give it time: Just like Rome wasn't built in a day, great skin takes some time and patience too! I know waiting can be tough, but if you're consistent with your routine, you'll start to see the results you're looking for in just a few short weeks. So keep at it, and don't get discouraged! The perfect complexion is worth the wait.

Some things take time framed by Duane Mendes
Source: Unsplash

What to Avoid

Mixing Vitamin C with benzoyl peroxide: Just like using benzoyl peroxide with retinol is a no-no, using it with Vitamin C is also a no-go; they cancel each other out, making them less effective. As mentioned above, stick to using them at different times of the day or every other day if you can.

Over-exfoliating: Vitamin C can be mildly exfoliating, so be cautious when using other exfoliants like AHAs, BHAs, or retinol (again, why I like to alternate between them). Over-exfoliating can lead to irritation and compromised skin.

The Perfect Pairings

Vitamin C + Niacinamide: This dynamic duo can help fade acne scars, reduce inflammation, and brighten your complexion. Luckily, it's easy to find serums that contain both of them!

Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a hydration hero that can help your skin retain moisture, making it the perfect partner for Vitamin C. This is also another duo that's easy to find in a serum. 

You can even find some serums with these two ingredients plus niacinamide, although these often also include retinol or salicylic acid, which you may not want in your serum (be sure to check the ingredients list).

Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid Serums by Liubov Ilchuk
Source: Unsplash

That's a Wrap!

Now that you're armed with all the knowledge you need to mix Vitamin C with acne products, I want to hear from you! What's your favorite Vitamin C product, and how do you incorporate it into your routine? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!


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