What You Need to Know About Combining the Anti-Aging Powerhouses: Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid

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By Vicki Laninga

I love building an awesome skincare routine, but these days it’s easy to feel like you need to be a chemist to really understand how to incorporate multiple active ingredients. With so many formulas to choose from, understanding where to begin with mixing ingredients can be a daunting starting point for building a routine that fits your skin.

Sometimes, it’s helpful to focus on the pairings that do work well together, then working backwards to fill in your remaining products. In terms of skincare superstars, Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid are the ultimate BFFs. Both ingredients are well-loved for their anti-aging properties and ability to even the skin.

You may have heard some warnings in the past about what not to combine with vitamin C. Vitamin C is acidic, so pairing it with AHAs and BHAs (think salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids) can create instability and disrupt the ingredient’s ability to perform. On the flip side, pairing vitamin C with ingredients like niacinamide and retinol is a recipe for inflammation and irritation.

With so many frenemies, you’re probably wondering how the heck you can actually incorporate vitamin C into your skincare routine without causing damage (or spending your hard-earned bucks that isn’t performing for you). Never fear: using a few key tips, you’ll be incorporating these rockstar ingredients into your routine like a pro.

Why Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is packed with antioxidants that are amazing for fighting off free radicals, which add an extra layer of protection from toxins and pollutants. It’s also well-loved for its ability to promote collagen and elasticity, which results in a brighter and more even skin tone.

Why Hyaluronic Acid?

When it comes to retaining moisture, hyaluronic acid is unparalleled. Retaining water in the skin is a key part of keeping skin supple and youthful, and it’s seriously unmatched in its capacity to keep moisture in the skin, while also being gentle enough to incorporate in multiple products and steps in your skincare routine.

Because vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are so compatible and tackle similar skincare concerns, they’re often found side by side in products.

A Note on Shelf Stability

Here’s the bad news: Vitamin C in its pure (ascorbic or L-ascorbic acid) form is a pretty unstable ingredient. It’s quick to oxidize at the first sign of light exposure, heat, age… generally just as soon as it senses a bad vibe. Because of this, it can be a finicky product to work with, as it’s challenging to ensure that it will remain shelf-stable.

Here’s the good news: Biology is amazing. Many of the skincare products that you know and love actually use Vitamin C derivatives, which ensures that your products continue to work at their maximum impact for longer.

For example: one of my favourite Vitamin C-based products, the Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, uses an incredibly shelf-stable form of Vitamin C called Stay-C 50, which actually bio-converts into Vitamin C upon contact, ensuring that the product doesn’t oxidize or age more quickly than it should. Check out the science about how this process works if you’re a skincare nerd like me.  

When to Use Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid

Vitamin C is a great ingredient to incorporate into your morning or evening routine. I love to use my more concentrated serum in the morning so that I can really take advantage of the elemental protection that it offers. A super important caveat: vitamin C can make your skin more susceptible to UV rays, so make sure to layer on that sunscreen as the last part of your skincare routine!

Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid both add so much value for skin revitalization, and layering them at the same stage in your skincare routine is a great way to capitalize on the shared benefits of both. I often love to layer a hyaluronic acid moisturizer over my vitamin C serum.

The Acure Seriously Soothing Cloud Cream is my go-to moisturizer pick to layer over my vitamin C product. I’ve found this formula to be equal parts soothing and nourishing. I also love concentrated products that incorporate both ingredients for a quick boost of freshness, like the Orgaid Vitamin C & Revitalizing Organic Sheet Mask.

A Note on Shelf Stability

Here’s the bad news: Vitamin C in its pure (ascorbic or L-ascorbic acid) form is a pretty unstable ingredient. It’s quick to oxidize at the first sign of light exposure, heat, age… generally just as soon as it senses a bad vibe. Because of this, it can be a finicky product to work with, as it’s challenging to ensure that it will remain shelf-stable.

Here’s the good news: Biology is amazing. Many of the skincare products that you know and love actually use Vitamin C derivatives, which ensures that your products continue to work at their maximum impact for longer.

For example: one of my favourite Vitamin C-based products, the Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, uses an incredibly shelf-stable form of Vitamin C called Stay-C 50, which actually bio-converts into Vitamin C upon contact, ensuring that the product doesn’t oxidize or age more quickly than it should. Check out the science about how this process works if you’re a skincare nerd like me.  

A Note on Shelf Stability

Here’s the bad news: Vitamin C in its pure (ascorbic or L-ascorbic acid) form is a pretty unstable ingredient. It’s quick to oxidize at the first sign of light exposure, heat, age… generally just as soon as it senses a bad vibe. Because of this, it can be a finicky product to work with, as it’s challenging to ensure that it will remain shelf-stable.

Here’s the good news: Biology is amazing. Many of the skincare products that you know and love actually use Vitamin C derivatives, which ensures that your products continue to work at their maximum impact for longer.

For example: one of my favourite Vitamin C-based products, the Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, uses an incredibly shelf-stable form of Vitamin C called Stay-C 50, which actually bio-converts into Vitamin C upon contact, ensuring that the product doesn’t oxidize or age more quickly than it should. Check out the science about how this process works if you’re a skincare nerd like me.  

When to Use Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid

Vitamin C is a great ingredient to incorporate into your morning or evening routine. I love to use my more concentrated serum in the morning so that I can really take advantage of the elemental protection that it offers. A super important caveat: vitamin C can make your skin more susceptible to UV rays, so make sure to layer on that sunscreen as the last part of your skincare routine!

Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid both add so much value for skin revitalization, and layering them at the same stage in your skincare routine is a great way to capitalize on the shared benefits of both. I often love to layer a hyaluronic acid moisturizer over my vitamin C serum.

The Acure Seriously Soothing Cloud Cream is my go-to moisturizer pick to layer over my vitamin C product. I’ve found this formula to be equal parts soothing and nourishing. I also love concentrated products that incorporate both ingredients for a quick boost of freshness, like the Orgaid Vitamin C & Revitalizing Organic Sheet Mask.

When to Use Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid

Vitamin C is a great ingredient to incorporate into your morning or evening routine. I love to use my more concentrated serum in the morning so that I can really take advantage of the elemental protection that it offers. A super important caveat: vitamin C can make your skin more susceptible to UV rays, so make sure to layer on that sunscreen as the last part of your skincare routine!

Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid both add so much value for skin revitalization, and layering them at the same stage in your skincare routine is a great way to capitalize on the shared benefits of both. I often love to layer a hyaluronic acid moisturizer over my vitamin C serum.

The Acure Seriously Soothing Cloud Cream is my go-to moisturizer pick to layer over my vitamin C product. I’ve found this formula to be equal parts soothing and nourishing. I also love concentrated products that incorporate both ingredients for a quick boost of freshness, like the Orgaid Vitamin C & Revitalizing Organic Sheet Mask.

Go Forth and Brighten!

I’ve been so excited by the results that I’ve seen by incorporating vitamin C and hyaluronic acid into my skincare routine. If you’re looking for brighter and more hydrated skin, I think you’ll be excited about them, too.

About the Author

Vicki Laninga

Vicki is a Content Strategist, Blogger, and Communications pro based in Ottawa, Ontario. She's passionate about helping beauty fanatics find sustainable, vegan alternatives to the products they love without compromising the quality they need.

When she isn't writing (which isn't often!), Vicki loves weightlifting, running, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Monty.

Follow Vicki on Instagram: @vickilaninga

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