Difference Between Retinol and Vitamin C

Earlier, people used to apply homemade products to their skin to keep it healthy and glowing. But nowadays, there are several ingredients that are being used as part of daily skin routine. Some of them are consumed from edible substances.

Some of them are directly applied to the skin, while others can be taken in both forms. Example of such substance or product is retinol and vitamin c, both of them can be consumed or applied directly to the skin in the form of serum.

Both of them make the skin glow by reducing the problems and making it healthy. 

Retinol vs Vitamin C

The main difference between Retinol and vitamin c is that Retinol is included in the night care routine while vitamin c is included in the daycare routine.

Vitamin c protects the skin and collagen, whereas Retinol is used for healing the damage and is responsible for the production of collagen.

Vitamin C is indeed used for the protection of sun rays, but if compared to Retinol, it is a secondary also Retinol is the best for treating the blackheads as well, while vitamin c is not useful for treating them.

Vitamin C has no reaction on the skin. It is safer for all skin types, whereas Retinol can be irritating for sensitive or some types of skin. Other differences between them are mentioned below.

Retinol and Vitamin C

Retinol is a retinoid that is applied to the skin for exfoliation purposes. It is very effective for treating blackheads. It has chemicals that are also one of the reasons that it can be reactive to the skin.

It is not mostly recommended for dry skins as it may lead to breakouts. It can also be used for healing the skin of all the damaged skin. 

Vitamin C is also very useful for hydrating the skin. It is used as an ingredient for sunblocking and treating sunburns. There are many benefits of using this. For example, it is used for treating hyperpigmentation, fine lines, skin sagging, wrinkles, etc. 

Comparison Table Between Retinol and Vitamin C

Parameters of ComparisonRetinol Vitamin C
BlackheadsVery effectiveNot effective
Blocking sun raysVery effectiveComparatively less effective
ReactiveCan be reactive to some skin type.Not reactive in most cases.
Recommended for dry skinIt should be avoided in case of excess dry skin.It can be used for all skin type.
Main motiveHealing of skinProtection of the skin

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a part of skincare which is a vitamin A. it is used for the exfoliation process. Following are the benefits of using Retinol:

  • Anti-aging properties: the main reason for using Retinol is its anti-aging properties. It is responsible for binding the retinoid receptors on the skin. It also promotes the production of collagen.
  • Retain Water: it retains Water on the skin but deepens the layers of the skin. It promotes healthy and glowing skin by treating wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
  • The tone of the skin: it is a great product of balancing the tone and texture of the skin by a cornified epithelial layer of the skin.
  • It is also used for the treatment of hyperpigmentation issues on the skin. Along with this, it normalizes the oil glands of the skin and further controls the acne on the skin.

Along with all the above benefits, there are certain side effects of this as well, such as:

  • Irritation on skin: it can cause redness, itching, and irritation, etc.
  • It can cause excessive dryness on the skin. This also can result in breakouts. Therefore proper care of the skin should be taken.
  • It increases skin sensitivity in the sun.
  • It should be avoided completely by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C has many benefits on the body of the individual, but when it comes to the skin, it is essential to keep it healthy. It has all the following benefits:

  • Hydration: it provides hydration to the skin. This fact is not clear with many people that along with the body, skin of the individual to be hydrated. Otherwise, the skin will break out and can cause many serious problems.
  • Pigmentation: it also leads to treating the problem of hyperpigmentation but making the skin balanced in terms of tone.
  • Redness Treatment: Some people have skin that turns red on applying make-up or any chemical. This problem can be treated by using redness of the skin.
  • Under-eye Circle: it can plum or reduce under-eye problems. Due to many reasons, circles are formed under the eyes of individuals. This can be treated by using vitamin C.
  • It can also help in preventing skin sagging.
  • Vitamin C is a great product for blocking the harmful sun rays from entering the layers of the skin. Along with this, it can also be used for treating sunburns.

There are no such harmful side effects of using vitamin C, but in case of an allergic reaction, dermatologists should be seen immediately.

Main Differences Between Retinol and Vitamin C 

  1. Both of them are applied at different times of the day or at different times of skin routine. In the morning routine, vitamin c is applied to the skin, whereas Retinol is applied in the night routine.
  2. Both of them have different reasons or functions in the skin. Vitamin C is primarily used for protecting the skin from any damaged to the skin, whereas Retinol is primarily used for the healing of the damage that has already been done to the skin. Further, Vitamin C protects the collagen from getting damaged, while Retinol is responsible for creating the collagens.
  3. Both of these products have a different reaction towards dry skin type. For example, vitamin C can be used for curing dry skin, whereas Retinol should be avoided if the person has dry skin as it can further cause dryness to the skin on daily usage.
  4. Although both of them are used for anti-aging therapy, if compared, Retinol is a more effective nutrient for anti-aging feature, whereas vitamin is a relatively less effective nutrient for this thing.
  5. Both of them have a certain deficiency as well. For example, a few deficiencies of Retinol are. It causes dry skin, it can cause night blindness, it can cause chest and throat infection, it can cause trouble in conceiving, and some deficiencies caused by vitamin C are tooth loss, damaged skin, bleeding sores, etc.
  6. In the case of blackhead treatment, vitamin c is not a recommended product or skin compound as it does not treat them, while Retinol is very great for treating blackheads.
Difference Between Retinol and Vitamin C


Therefore, there should not be any confusion between Retinol and vitamin c.

Both of them are important nowadays as there is so much pollution and an unhealthy diet is taken by people which results in degrading the health of their skin, and in curing this both retinol and vitamin c plays an important role.

Before using any of these products, a person should read the instructions and their suitability to avoid any kind of allergic reaction to their skin.

Proper procedure must be followed to apply or intake them, as in case of applying in the form of serum in the wrong procedure they can further cause damage to the skin and in case of any such damage immediate help or dermatologist should be taken.


  1. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/83708
  2. https://europepmc.org/article/med/27050703
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2012.690927
  4. https://www.nature.com/articles/6691968
  5. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/103/2/454/4569376
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