Retinol Vs Vitamin C

Woman with 4 eyedroppers of different liquids being applied to her face

Vitamin C serum has a long history. It was first used by Tibetan women around the 7th to 10th centuries AD. They relied on the buckthorn plant which has an oil rich in Vitamin C as their source. Native American women made a paste from rose petals and applied that to their skin to help them look younger.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is made from Vitamin A giving it a healthy source. It needs a few chemical additives, if any, to help it work on your skin. This product’s main purpose is to work on wrinkles, fine lines as well as some minor acne issues.

Because it is an over-the-counter medication, it is priced at an affordable level allowing just about everyone to pick it up when they want to look a few years younger. Retinol is the weakest and slowest skincare medication in the retinoid group. Results can take up to half a year to show themselves.

What is Vitamin C?

Background of orange slices with a brown toned eyedropper bottle laying on top

You all know what Vitamin C is, but do you know anything about the serum made from this essential vitamin? This is an effective and healthy skincare medication that works on wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation.

Plus, it contains natural antioxidants that are good for your health as well as your skin. The serum also works on blemishes, acne scars as well as protecting you from free radicals. The main drawback to this serum formula is that it may irritate sensitive skin.

It should protect your skin from the damaging UV rays you encounter in sunny weather.

How Are They Different?

Bowl of vitamin A capsules on a blue background with small letter beads spelling out "Vitamin A"

Their main difference comes in their source. Vitamin serum comes from Vitamin C or the ascorbic acid that vitamin is found. Whereas retinol comes from Vitamin A. Another difference is that retinol is very mild to all skin types and should not have any side effects.

Vitamin C serum can irritate sensitive skin and may not be a good ageing solution for those people. Then Vitamin C serum will protect you from free radicals that can harm your skin and body. Retinol does not provide that extra security or protection. Vitamin C serum does have some side effects to them and Retinol does not.

How Are They Similar?

Eyedropper dripping clear liquid back into a brown toned bottle

Both of these products are topical medications that can be freely applied to your facial troubled areas. They work on the same facial issues for the most part and help develop collagen in your skin.

Both seem to be over-the-counter medications which helps keep their cost low and accessibility high. Then they will help fight the skin ageing problem keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay for some time.

Another positive that shows their similarity is that the two medications can be combined to double your anti-ageing efforts. That is except for those people who have sensitive skin.

What’s Better About Retinol?

Man having gel applied to face using a paintbrush

The first thing that makes retinol better than Vitamin C serum is that it has no side effects. Being the least powerful of the retinoids does have its benefits. Plus, it can be used by all skin types. That is a plus.

Then this product can increase collagen, skin cell turnover as well as increase your skin’s hyaluronic acid levels. Also, this product is the most researched of all skin treatment medications. It is a proven anti-ageing medication that seems to work even though its results are slow in coming.

What’s Better About Vitamin C?

Eyedropper dripping clear liquid onto a finger

The first sign of superiority would be the antioxidants that are found in Vitamin C. These antioxidants do more than just help your skin look better, they fight off damaging free radicals.

Then you can get Vitamin C from different sources so that any skin irritation issues may be solved with a different formula. Vitamin C serum does work on acne better than Retinol can. Acne is not Retinol’s strong suit and you may need a stronger retinoid medication to fight your acne problem.

Then you do not need to buy medication to get the benefits of Vitamin C. You just have to eat right.

Who Should Get Retinol?

Woman having gel applied to face using paint brush

Those people with sensitive skin should turn to this product first. The Vitamin C serum is known to have some side effects that cause a problem for people with that skin type.

Then those people with mild acne issues but lots of wrinkles and fine lines should look to this product to help smooth out their skin and look younger.

Who Should Get Vitamin C?

Close up of a woman with an eyedropper dripping liquid onto her cheek.

Since this serum does the same job as Retinol, then just about every group of people should buy this product. That is except for those groups that have sensitive skin. If you are vulnerable to irritation, etc., go for Retinol instead.

Also, those people who spend a lot of time in the sun should reach for this serum as it can help protect you from free radicals.

Comparison Chart

  Category  Retinol  Vitamin C
  Source of product  Vitamin A  Ascorbic acid+
  Side effects  No  Yes, for sensitive skin
  Reduce acne  Possible but not its main purpose  Yes, it can
  Reduces other skin issues  Yes  Yes
  Helps Skin hydration  Yes  No
  Cost  Reasonable & affordable  Reasonable & affordable
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