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salicylic acid and vitamin c

EXPERT GUIDE TO SALICYLIC ACID & VITAMIN C

Salicylic acid and vitamin C have become ubiquitous skincare ingredients, both performing different functions that ultimately work to improve skin clarity, tone and radiance. While using both salicylic acid and vitamin C in your skincare regime can yield impressive results, care should always be taken when exposing your skin to potent ingredients. So, how can you use salicylic acid with vitamin C to address your skin concerns while being mindful of increased sensitivity? In the following guide, La Roche-Posay shares their expert knowledge of salicylic acid and vitamin C, and top tips for integrating this efficacious combination into your skincare.

SA and Vitamin C

SALICYLIC ACID AND VITAMIN C IN SKINCARE 

Salicylic acid is a type of chemical exfoliant , specifically, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). As a lipid-soluble exfoliant, salicylic acid dissolves the bonds between dead skin cells that lead to blocked pores and hair follicles. Salicylic acid is popular for mild acne-prone skin because it deeply unclogs pores and encourages healthy skin cell turnover.

When applied to the skin topically, there are a number of benefits of using vitamin C. This potent ingredient encourages collagen production and brightens dull, uneven skin, helping to visibly diminish signs of ageing. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, working to neutralise skin-damaging free radicals.


vitamin c serum

CAN I USE SALICYLIC ACID WITH VITAMIN C?

Now that we have examined some of their individual benefits, you’re probably wondering, ‘can I mix salicylic acid and vitamin C?’ Yes, you can use these two ingredients together. But before incorporating salicylic acid and vitamin C into your skincare regimen, we suggest identifying your skin type to assess how you might tolerate this pairing – those with particularly dry or sensitive skin may find this combination too harsh. However, individuals with blemish-prone, oily or mature skin can find great benefit in using a combination of these ingredients, since salicylic acid exfoliates the skin to smooth texture and vitamin C can enhance skin brightness and firmness. In fact, La Roche-Posay’s Vitamin C 10 Brightening Serum is actually formulated with both ingredients to target irregular skin tone and texture for visibly improved radiance. 


vitamin c and salicylic acid

HOW TO USE SALICYLIC ACID AND VITAMIN C TOGETHER

It’s important to note that some ingredient pairings, while having harmonious effects, aren’t well-suited to layering; salicylic acid and vitamin C are one such pair. However, it is still possible to use both ingredients in your skincare ritual but with a few caveats to avoid potential dryness, tightness and redness. We recommend following the below guidelines:

  1. Introduce these products slowly. This will help you build a tolerance before increasing usage.
  2. Use salicylic acid and vitamin C on alternate days or morning and night to avoid sensitisation and weakening the skin moisture barrier.
  3. Use hydrating products and SPF in conjunction with these ingredients.

Let’s explore these application tips in more detail.


salicylic acid serum

START WITH GRADUAL USE

As with any new powerful ingredient, we suggest that you gradually introduce salicylic acid and vitamin C. This will allow you to observe your skin for signs of sensitivity and give your skin time to acclimate to the product. This is particularly important when using a serum concentrate, which can be formulated with a stronger potency.

As with all products in the wider Effaclar collection, the Effaclar Anti-Acne Salicylic Acid Serum can be used every day, but first-time users can begin with application 2-3 times per week before graduating to daily use after a few weeks. Similarly, you may want to start by using the Vitamin C 10 Brightening Serum every other day and monitoring how your skin adjusts.

ALTERNATE USE OF INGREDIENTS

You might ask, ‘can I use vitamin C after salicylic acid?’ As discussed, we do not recommend that you layer salicylic acid and vitamin C directly since this can heighten skin sensitivity and potentially lead to discomfort or a disrupted skin moisture barrier. Instead, you can alternate these ingredients across your AM and PM skincare routine. Since vitamin C helps to counteract free radical damage, it is most effective when applied to your skin in the morning. Conversely, salicylic acid is recommended for nighttime use since it can increase photosensitivity. 


combining hyaluronic and vitamin c serums

MITIGATE DRYNESS AND PHOTOSENSITIVITY 

Knowing that the combination of salicylic acid and vitamin C has the potential to dry out the skin, it’s important to keep the skin well-hydrated when using these ingredients. Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum can be applied to damp skin in the morning and night to help retain moisture in the skin’s surface, keeping it plump and supple. For individuals looking for a targeted moisturiser that amplifies the work of a vitamin C serum, consider the Redermic Vitamin C 10 Firming Moisturiser. Daily SPF application is essential to any skincare routine, but even more so when using salicylic acid. Opt for a lightweight Anthelios formula that’s tailored to your unique skin type.

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.

Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.

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