Medically Reviewed

Here’s Why Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Make a Great Team

Using vitamin C and hyaluronic acid together can promote skin health and help keep skin moisturized.

Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are often paired together in skin products – and for good reason.

Vitamin C and skin

Your skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid), which serves important functions in protecting and preserving the health of your skin. One of these functions is that vitamin C stimulates the synthesis of collagen, one of your skin’s main building blocks. Another is that vitamin C provides antioxidant protection against harmful UV rays. Vitamin C also inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, thereby preventing excess skin pigmentation.

Topical vitamin C – as in, vitamin C that you apply to the skin – is an antioxidant that can protect the skin from UV radiation and hyperpigmentation. By reducing oxidative stress, it can also have an anti-aging effect, protecting the skin from harmful free radicals. It can also help regenerate your vitamin E levels.

Studies show that topical vitamin C can be used in dermatology to address changes associated with photoageing and hyperpigmentation (such as dark spots). To get the most photoprotection, researchers recommend that you apply topical vitamin C every 8 hours. (Note: Topical vitamin C is not a substitute for actual sunblock.)

H2: Hyaluronic acid and skin Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that your body produces naturally, and it’s a key molecule in your skin; indeed, about 50% of the hyaluronic acid in your body is stored in your skin. As a humectant, it helps the skin retain moisture. Here’s what this means for your skin. When you have youthful skin, you have skin that has high water content that helps it stay resilient. Just by living your life day-to-day, your skin can start to undergo the process of aging and lose some its moisture. Hyaluronic acid keeps moisture locked in the skin, thereby improving the skin’s texture and alleviating the skin’s fine lines and wrinkles.

Some dermatologists will recommend hyaluronic acid injections to address skin conditions. However, new research supports the use of topical hyaluronic acid to help moisturize skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, boost skin firmness, and generally regenerate skin. Since hyaluronic acid levels drop as we age, topical hyaluronic acid may also boast helpful anti-aging effects. One study found that hyaluronic acid-based creams led to significant improvements and overall elasticity compared to the placebo; these creams likewise were associated with improvements in wrinkle depth and roughness.

Can you use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid together?

Yes! In fact, they work together synergistically.

Benefits of combining vitamin C and hyaluronic acid

Here’s a simple way to think of combining vitamin C and hyaluronic acid: Vitamin C protects the skin, while hyaluronic acid helps keep the skin moisturized – both essential aspects of maintaining healthy, vibrant skin.

When you use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid together, the hyaluronic acid can help drive the antioxidant properties deeper into the skin. Moreover, studies of the effects of these two skincare ingredients have yielded promising results. For example, one study found that a serum combining the two ingredients protected skin against oxidative damage, resulted in perceived increases in skin brightness and hydration, and reduced wrinkles.

How to use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid for optimal benefits

There are a few different ways you can use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. If you’re applying them separately, it’s recommended that you apply the vitamin C first, so that the hyaluronic acid can strengthen the skin barrier and help the skin retain its moisture. Many of the available vitamin C lotions on the market actually include hyaluronic acid; check the label before using, in case you don’t need to take any extra steps. If using a combined product, you can apply it before applying moisturizer.

Can you use niacinamide with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C?

Yes, you can! Studies have shown that niacinamide can have some antioxidant-like effects and can lead to improvements in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, and elasticity. It is safe to combine niacinamide with other serums and creams, including hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.

Potential side effects

Whenever you’re trying a new face product, it’s a good idea to apply some of the product to a small patch of skin first; this will help you assess your skin’s sensitivity to the product before applying it to your whole face. That said, there really aren’t any known side effects to using vitamin C and hyaluronic acid together. Quite the contrary: Using them together has been shown to help promote skin health.

Final takeaways

As we age, our skin can start to show signs of aging – fine lines, wrinkles, UV damage, hyperpigmentation, and so on. Topical vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that can help address some of the oxidative damage your skin endures. Pairing vitamin C and hyaluronic acid can lead to even better skin care outcomes, since the hyaluronic acid will help keep the skin moisturized. If you have questions about what skin care routine would be best for you, you should consult a dermatologist.

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