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Does Your Skin Need Vitamin A Or Vitamin C? Or Both?

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Ah the world of skincare ingredients, a beauty minefield that can leave even the most knowledgeable a little dazed. Let’s talk about two of the most common (and powerful): vitamin C and vitamin A. Read on to find out why these two vitamins deserve a place in your routine…

Skincare Benefits Of Vitamin C

“Because it is so versatile, vitamin C is one my favourite skincare ingredients,” explains brand founder and leading dermatologist, Dr Dennis Gross. “Not only does vitamin C protect against damaging free radicals, it also helps to lighten and break up pigmentation you might already have, as well as preventing sun spots from forming and increasing overall radiance.” Yup, it’s a real brightening and radiance-boosting hero. “Vitamin C also helps to diminish existing fine lines and wrinkles, while protecting against future damage making it a great anti-ager too,” he adds.

“There are many different forms of vitamin C – some more effective than others,” says founder of Allies of Skin, Nicolas Travis. “We (at Allies of Skin) are big believers in ethylated l-ascorbic acid and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate as they are both extremely stable and able to penetrate deep in to the cells for brighter, plumper skin.”

Did you also know that when antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are exposed to air, they can break down. Therefore, it’s always best to look for individual vials or air-tight, dark packaging. We love Darphin’s new Ideal Resource Renewing Pro-Vitamin C and E Capsules as they help to maintain the stability of the ingredients and boost efficacy – as do Oskia’s Super C Smart Nutrient Beauty Capsules.

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Another of our favourite vitamin C heroes is this C-Tetra Intense, which comes from NEW brand Medik8. As you might gather from the name, it’s a more intense version of their original C-Tetra. It helps to brighten and nourish your skin thanks to super potent formula of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. You can expect daily antioxidant protection and a serious brightness boost in the short term. A more even-toned and youthful-looking complexion with fewer fine lines will follow after continued use.

Skincare Benefits Of Vitamin A

Retinol (a derivative of vitamin A) is another well-regarded skincare ingredient – particularly when it comes to anti-ageing. “It is the gold standard of anti-ageing skincare since it helps increase cellular turnover which stimulates your body’s production of new skin cells,” says Dr Dennis.

Retinol can also come in many different forms and strengths. “We like to use the most effective form we can which is why our 1A Retinal + Peptides Overnight Mask and Bright Future Sleeping Facial use retinaldehyde – a form which is 20 time more potent than retinol,” explains Nicolas. “Our retinaldehyde is encapsulated and time-released so it provides all the great benefits of retinol without any irritation.” Similarly to vitamin C, vitamin A is also great for controlling breakouts and fading unwanted pigmentation.

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If you’re completely new to vitamin A, we recommend building up a tolerance as retinol comes in varying different strengths. For complete newbies, try the Medik8 Crystal Retinal in strength 1. The formula is packed with retinal that delivers results comparable to clinical-grade vitamin A. It also uses hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to really help firm, clear and resurface your skin whilst you sleep.

The brand’s Retinal 1 is gentle yet effective and ideal for those with sensitive skin looking for a low-strength (0.01% retinaldehyde) retinol that’s also really effective. You can gradually build up to a stronger dose with their 3 (0.03%), 6 (0.06%), and 10 (0.1%) versions.

How To Use Vitamin C And A In Your Routine

“Vitamin C and vitamin A should be an important part of any well-rounded skincare routine,” says Dr Dennis. “I recommend using vitamin C during the day to protect skin from UVA/UVB and pollution when you are out and about,” suggests Dr Dennis. “Use vitamin A combined with a soothing moisturiser at night.”

Regardless of your skin type, it is always best to build up a tolerance to retinol. Try mixing a low concentration retinol with your usual moisturiser three times a week and gradually increasing. This will stop any redness or overly dry patches. Oh, and don’t forget your SPF. Vitamin A can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so wearing an SPF every day is an absolute must.

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