Can You Mix Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C?

Can You Mix Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C?
by Truly Beauty

Glycolic acid and vitamin C are both powerful active ingredients that can brighten skin, fade hyperpigmentation, and reduce the appearance of fine lines. They can even treat and prevent breakouts by sloughing away pore-clogging dead skin cells.

Can you combine glycolic acid and vitamin C? Here’s everything you should know about using glycolic acid and vitamin C together. We’ve also rounded up the best products containing vitamin C and glycolic acid.


What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and chemical exfoliant that gently removes dead skin cells to reveal fresh, glowing skin. It’s especially helpful for treating hyperpigmentation and uneven skin texture. Glycolic acid also has antibacterial properties that specifically target bacteria tied to blemishes (P. acnes). It not only exfoliates the skin to keep the pores clean, but also reduces the risk of getting breakouts. You’ll find glycolic acid in everything from cleansers to toners and serums.


What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps defend against free radical damage from stressors like pollution and UV rays. Studies show it can help minimize the look of hyperpigmentation while giving skin a glow boost. Vitamin C also enhances skin cell renewal, which makes skin look and feel noticeably smoother. What’s more, thanks to its free radical protecting properties, vitamin C can make your daily sunscreen work even harder. Vitamin C is most commonly found in serums and moisturizers.


Can You Use Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C Together?

Yes, you can use glycolic acid and vitamin C together in your skincare routine. In fact, they complement each other very well. Glycolic acid supercharges vitamin C’s benefits by removing dead skin cells to accelerate cell renewal for smooth, glowing skin. Used together, these skincare ingredients help to soften fine lines and wrinkles, fade dark spots and discoloration, and unclog pores to clear blemishes.

Additionally, glycolic acid and vitamin C work synergistically to combat free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cellular structures, leading to signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C, being a powerful antioxidant, helps neutralize these free radicals, preventing oxidative stress on the skin.

By incorporating both glycolic acid and vitamin C into your routine, you not only address specific skin concerns but also create a comprehensive defense against environmental aggressors. This combination promotes a more robust skin barrier, protecting against the damaging effects of daily exposure to pollutants and UV rays.



glycolic acid and vitamin c | super star routine

Shop Truly's Super Star Routine

Formulated with retinol, glycolic acid + vitamin C


Can You Mix Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C?

While you can use these two ingredients together in your skincare regimen, not all skin types will benefit from mixing vitamin C and glycolic acid. People with sensitive skin, for instance, may experience dryness and irritation when mixing these two ingredients.

The pH levels of glycolic acid and vitamin C are integral to their efficacy, as glycolic acid functions optimally in a slightly acidic range (pH 3-4), while vitamin C, particularly L-ascorbic acid, is most effective at a lower pH (around 2.5-3.5).

For those with dry skin or sensitive skin, the acidity of these products might cause irritation, redness, or dryness. It’s best to always patch-test new products and introduce them slowly into your routine to increase skin tolerance. Those with oily skin can benefit significantly from using glycolic acid and vitamin C together as they can both help to resurface skin, unclog pores, and decrease excess sebum production.


Benefits of Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C

Combining glycolic acid and vitamin C in your skincare routine can address multiple skin concerns including dullness, discoloration, and uneven skin tone. Here are some benefits of using glycolic acid and vitamin C together.


Enhanced Collagen Synthesis

Both glycolic acid and vitamin C stimulate collagen production, promoting skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Using them together can maximize the collagen-boosting effects.


Skin Brightening

Vitamin C is known for its skin-brightening properties, while glycolic acid helps in reducing hyperpigmentation by lifting dead skin cells and promoting evenly pigmented cells. Combining them can enhance the overall brightening effect and contribute to a more even skin tone.


Antioxidant Protection

Vitamin C provides potent antioxidant protection, neutralizing free radicals that can cause premature aging. When used with glycolic acid, it can enhance the skin’s defense against environmental damage.


Sun Damage Prevention and Repair

Vitamin C helps protect the skin from UV damage while glycolic acid can assist in repairing sun-damaged skin by promoting cell renewal. Together, they help promote sun damage prevention and repair.


Hyperpigmentation Reduction

Both ingredients play a role in reducing hyperpigmentation. Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin and fades dark spots, while vitamin C inhibits melanin production. Using them together can target hyperpigmentation and promote a more even skin tone.


Improved Product Absorption

Glycolic acid enhances the penetration of skincare products by removing surface dead cells and vitamin C can boost the efficacy of other antioxidants. Using them in combination ensures that other beneficial ingredients in your skincare routine are absorbed more effectively.


Acne Prevention

Glycolic acid helps to remove dead skin cells and impurities that clog pores, preventing blemishes from forming. Vitamin C speeds up the healing process of active breakouts while reducing inflammation associated with acne.


Shop Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C Skincare

Here are some of the best glycolic acid and vitamin C products for brightening, smoothing, and clarifying your skin.


glycolic acid and vitamin C | 3-in-1 routine

Truly’s The 3-in-1 Routine


Get your daily dose of both glycolic acid and vitamin C with this brightening trio. Scrub, polish, and patch with our most loved brand staples. You get: an exfoliating whipped body scrub, resurfacing polish, and blemish-clearing patches to reveal your clearest, most radiant skin. Formulated with powerhouse ingredients like vitamin C, glycolic acid, retinol, and hydrocolloid.


glycolic acid and vitamin C | vegan collagen booster set

Truly’s Vegan Collagen Booster Set


This complete anti-aging routine targets fine lines, dullness, and uneven skin texture in five easy steps. You get: a facial cleanser, serum, and mask plus a body polish and cream. It ticks all the boxes for exfoliation, hydration, and full body rejuvenation. Powered by retinol, vitamin C, and vegan collagen.


glycolic acid and vitamin C skincare | bodne routine

Truly’s Bodne Routine


Harness the breakout-busting powers of glycolic acid and salicylic acid with this 4-step bodne routine. You get: a body cleanser, mist, and lotion, plus acne patches to leave you visibly clearer all over. Formulated with alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, and niacinamide.



How to Use Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C Together

For best results, always use glycolic acid before vitamin C. Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acid remove dead skin cells and open pores, which will allow your vitamin C product to absorb more efficiently. Start with a glycolic acid cleanser or pads, followed by a vitamin C serum or cream.


Glycolic acid and vitamin C are a powerhouse combination for those dealing with acne, hyperpigmentation, or fine lines and wrinkles. Just make sure you always follow up with SPF 30 after using your vitamin C and glycolic acid products as these ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.





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