We all know and love vitamin C for its skin brightening effects, antioxidant protection, and ability to encourage collagen production while providing a shield against damaging UVB rays. Though vitamin C in skincare does wonders on its own, to take it to the next level, experts agree that certain skincare ingredient pairings can give your vitamin C superpowers. We had Dr. Naana Boakye, a board-certified dermatologist, owner of Bergen Dermatology, and best-selling author of Inside Out Beauty, talk to us about her favorite vitamin C combinations to achieve your skincare goals so you’ll know how to pair our new C.E.O. Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Gel Cream (featuring powerful THD ascorbate) with other products in your routine.
For ultimate hydration: vitamin C + hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid on its own is known for its amazing ability to bind water and give your skin that plump, glowy, healthy-looking appearance that we all crave. “It’s a wonderful humectant that rehydrates your skin,” says Boakye. If you have super-sensitive skin, hyaluronic acid could provide a calming effect when using an active like vitamin C. Though vitamin C generally plays well on most skin types, “if you’re experiencing any inflammation, there’s some form of dryness and scaliness that’s happening with your skin. So, the fact that you’re now drawing water to the skin through hyaluronic acid, the combination feels soothing and more rejuvenating,” she says. (Pssst… Sodium hyaluronate in C.E.O. Afterglow similarly has a great hydrating effect as hyaluronic acid).
For brightening: vitamin C + niacinamide
Vitamin C and niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) are brightening ingredients, “but they work in different ways,” says Boakye. “Vitamin C inhibits the
For free radical protection: vitamin C + vitamin E
Both vitamin C and vitamin E provide a natural form against harmful sun damage — and together, they make great partners in crime. “They’re both antioxidants that protect against free radicals,” says Boakye. Vitamin E is also a hydrating ingredient that attracts and retains water in your skin. Together, they tackle a number of skin concerns, whether your skin needs moisture, healing, or protection.
For smoothing wrinkles and fine lines: vitamin C + retinol
“Retinol is a form of vitamin A that helps with fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and pigmentation. Since it encourages cell turnover, it helps drive your other skincare products deeper into your skin,” says Boakye. Because of retinol’s potency, some experts are in the camp that if paired together in the same routine as vitamin C — especially in the form of L-ascorbic acid — you should consider using your vitamin C product in the morning and your retinol product at night to make sure your skin avoids irritation. “L-ascorbic acid is water-soluble whereas retinol is oil-soluble, so when layered together on your skin, they repel each other,” says Craig Starling, Sunday Riley education and training manager. “However, if you take a more stable and oil-soluble derivative of vitamin C like THD ascorbate found in C.E.O. Afterglow, it can work in harmony with retinol without causing irritation,” he says. When you do pair vitamin C and retinol together in a thoughtful way, the “retinol pushes all that new skin to the surface while vitamin C creates an antioxidant shield over it to prevent the look of premature aging — resulting in glowy, younger-looking skin,” says Starling.
For extra sun protection: vitamin C + SPF
Though vitamin C is great at preventing sun damage, it’s not a replacement for your daily SPF. When you layer them together, your vitamin C gives your sunscreen extra UV protection benefits to combat your exposure throughout the day. In return, sunscreen also prevents your vitamin C from oxidizing, making it more effective. “I always recommend combining vitamin C with a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30,” says Boakye.
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