Can You Use Vitamin C and Salicylic Acid in the Same Routine? A Dermatologist Weighs InMarch 30, 2023
In the world of skincare, vitamin C and salicylic acid are buzzy ingredients; many powerful exfoliators and serums use at least one of the two. Salicylic acid is also known for its blemish-fighting benefits, while vitamin C is known for its ability to help even skin tone and improve the look of acne scars. But, powerful as they are, the question must be asked: Can vitamin C and salicylic acid be used together? And if so, how?
To answer all your questions, we tapped New York City-based board-certified dermatologist and skincare.com consultant Dr. Joshua Zeichner. Read on for his expert advice.
Can Vitamin C and Salicylic Acid Be Used in the Same Routine?
According to Dr. Zeichner, vitamin C and salicylic acid may potentially be used together. However, Dr. Zeichner notes that the combo could cause irritation at higher concentrations, so it’s important to assess how your skin is reacting to using both ingredients.
As with all skincare products, it is recommended to do a test patch on a small part of your forearm for up to seven days before applying any new ingredients products to your face all over to see how your skin reacts.
Those with sensitive skin might find the combination too harsh or drying. If you’re unsure if you should use both ingredients in your routine, reach out to your dermatologist.
What Skin Types Should Use Vitamin C and Salicylic Acid?
Salicylic acid is frequently recommended for oily and acne-prone skin types, as it helps to unclog pores. Vitamin C, while commonly gentle enough to be used on all skin types, might be used differently on various skin types.
What Order Should Vitamin C and Salicylic Acid Be Used?
Dr. Zeichner states that the order of application of vitamin C and salicylic acid depends on how consistently you’re using each product made with either of the ingredients.
“I recommend layering lightest products first followed by heavier ones so they don't block absorption,” he says. Again, the order and frequency you use these products depends on your skin type, and you should consult with a board-certified dermatologist to determine what’s best for your skin.
What Are the Benefits of Using Vitamin C and Salicylic Acid in the Same Routine?
According to Dr. Zeichner, these ingredients are also great for those who want to even their complexion. As Dr. Zeichner explains, these ingredients can help address discoloration — vitamin C helps to fade dark spots while salicylic acid provides an exfoliating effect.
One of our favorite products that does the heavy lifting for you by including vitamin C and salicylic acid in the formula is the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift 12% Pure Vitamin C Serum With Salicylic Acid. With 12% vitamin C and salicylic acid in the formula, this lightweight serum brightens the skin and evens tone while reducing the appearance of pores and improving skin texture at the same time.
Design: Juliana Campisi