Difference Between Vitamin C Serum and Retinol Serum (With Table)

Skin Care is essential for everyone at any age. Be it when you are in your 20s or 30s, good skincare shall help you look bright and presentable as you age. Preparing yourself for old age is prudent when it comes to self-care as well. As with anti-ageing and skincare serums, Vitamin C and Retinol plays a major role in a women’s dressing table.

Vitamin C Serum vs Retinol Serum

The difference between Vitamin C Serum and Retinol Serum is the result that it can offer as you use regularly. Vitamin C is an excellent protector of the skin, while Retinol Serum helps cure many skin ailments too. Though both can be used together, there are further differences in their respective results.

Vitamin C Serum is a skincare antioxidant serum that helps your skin from getting damaged. The damages due to the UV rays, pollution can be avoided if the serum is used regularly. In the process, the Vitamin C serum helps reduce the wrinkles and thereby making you look younger than ever.

Retinol Serum, on the other hand, is an excellent skincare serum that unclogs the pores and reduces wrinkles drastically. Retinol is the Vitamin A that your skin needs. The regular usage of Retinol serum shall help reduce the fine lines. It also assists in skin turnover that makes you look a lot younger as you age.

Comparison Table Between Vitamin C Serum and Retinol Serum

Parameters of ComparisonVitamin C SerumRetinol Serum
Prescribed time to applyVitamin C Serum is advised to be applied on the day.Retinol Serum is suggested to be applied at night.
SunblockThough Vitamin C protects from UV rays, it is not as effective as retinol.It is an effective sunblock but always considered second to an actual sunblock cream or serum.
Blackhead treatmentVitamin C Serum cannot help in this case.Retinol Serum is always preferred and gives excellent results.
Collagen SynthesisNot effectiveVery Effective
Skin irritationVitamin C is safe and has consequences for using it in the longer run. The skin might turn dry but not as worse as the Retinol.Retinol serum can cause your skin to dry and cause severe irritation upon regular usage.

What is Vitamin C Serum?

Vitamin C Serum is an excellent skin protector. It helps your skin from getting damaged due to

  1. UV Rays
  2. Pollution
  3. Smoke

These are the ones that cause damage to the skin. The free radicals can break the collagen in your skin. This might lead to the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and spots too. Vitamin C Serum shall help your skin to get protected from these harmful effects.

Though not a sunblock, the vitamin C serum shall reduce the sunspots and also discolouration of the skin. The serum helps in maintaining the skin texture. The already existing wrinkles shall be reduced and also protect your skin from new wrinkle formation.

The skin absorbs the Vitamin C quickly and starts functioning. This means to say that the serum has rapid results. Many cheap skincare products use different forms of Vitamin C that may cause skin damage too. However, the serums with Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is considered to be the best Vitamin C serums in the market.

Vitamin C is indeed not as stable as other Vitamins. Storing it for a longer period shall not give the right results. It is always recommended to buy the Vitamin C serum, which has other antioxidants present in it, like the Ferulic Acid that shall keep the Serum stable for a longer time.

What is Retinol Serum?

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that is widely used in premium skincare treatments. Retinol Serum is an incredible anti-ageing serum that shall help you look younger than ever. Unlike Vitamin C, retinol serum not only reduces wrinkles but also fights other types of skin damages.

Like Acne or Comedonal, acne is completely cured when the serum is used regularly. The retinol serum works on your skin steadily but not as fast as the Vitamin C serum. The pores in the skin are unclogged. This improves the production of collagen. Once it is done, the fine lines start getting reduced.

Retinol serum helps largely in cell turnover. This helps the skin to get smoother, and new skin formation shall give you a bright look too. The anti-ageing ingredients in the retinol serum make it a perfect skincare serum as you age.

As such, Retinol increases the sensitivity of the skin. It might be counterproductive if you apply it in the morning. It is medically recommended to apply it at night.

As you purchase Retinol serum, it is suggested that you find a product that comes with a moisturizer. Applying retinol serum shall dry your skin. To combat this, you might need to apply a moisturizer. The dryness in the skin can irritate. It is also recommended to apply the moisturizer first and then the retinol serum to avoid any damage because of Vitamin A properties in the serum.

Main Differences Between Vitamin C Serum and Retinol Serum

  1. The main difference between Vitamin C Serum and Retinol Serum is the time of day you apply to your face. Vitamin C serum must be applied in the morning, while the Retinol serum must be applied at night.
  2. While Vitamin C serum predominantly protects your skin from damage, retinol serum actively heals the damage on your skin.
  3. Vitamin C serum protects the collagens while the Retinol serum helps in cell turn over thereby creating new collagens.
  4. Vitamin C serum fights dry skin, while Retinol serum may dry out your skin upon regular usage.
  5. Vitamin C serum is not as effective as the Retinol serum in anti-ageing therapy.


Though the conditions to apply the serums at different timelines in the day, it is also observed that people apply them together. It is not harmful that way either. However, you must give some time once you apply Vitamin C serum. Applying it back to back shall reduce the effects of retinol on your skin. You are advised to stay at least 30 minutes after applying Vitamin C serum before applying the retinol. 

Look for the right product with the right combination. As Vitamin C products are vulnerable. Attempt to purchase the premium serums. After all, skin damage can be really painful, mentally as well as physically.


  1. https://europepmc.org/article/med/25607555
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5996635/
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