The doctor has prescribed me glycolic acid cream for melasma. Kindly help me with how to use this.

Q. How to use a pack containing vitamin C serum, Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, and Retinol on the face?

Answered by
Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 28, 2022 and last reviewed on: Nov 09, 2022

Hi doctor,

My friend gifted me a pack that contains vitamin C serum, Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, and Retinol. I need to learn how to use it. The doctor prescribed Glyco 12 (Glycolic acid cream) for melasma.

Please advise me on how to use these products.



Welcome to

First, the product kit gifted by your friend is a perfect combination for treating skin disorders. These skin disorders include discoloration, textural variations, mild acne, skin tone differences, dark spots due to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and excessively oily or dry skin, as seen in the case of melasma.

The order of application of skin care products:

1. Skin care products are to be applied according to their viscosity or thickness after using a face wash. Therefore, the first product to be applied needs to be the one in the most liquid form (toner); following the product with a thicker consistency (serum) may be applied, then creams and sunscreens.

2. Vitamin C serums and Hyaluronic acid serums or creams are to be applied in the morning. Since vitamin C serum consists of Ascorbic acid, which is an antioxidant that helps in protecting your skin from sun exposure and helps with worsening dark spots, it also supports very gentle peeling (not visualized to the naked eye). In addition, it helps fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation on the skin due to scavenging free radicals, leading to dark marks and aging.

Hyaluronic acid serums and creams are to be used twice daily to help bring up skin smoothening and rejuvenation and make skin look younger and plumper.

3. Retinol serum or cream are vitamin A derivatives. Therefore, they lead to mild to moderate peeling of the skin, which may sometimes be noticed evidently; they help remove dark spots, acne, textural repair of skin, and tone differences. However, since they are solid, first-time users may experience skin irritation, redness, evident peeling, and burning sensation. Therefore, it is advised to be used once a week initially for at least two months, and once you notice that your skin is not sensitive, they may be increased in frequency to twice a week for three weeks, then every two days for three weeks and later alternate days also for life long. Also, since they may cause mild skin sensitivity to sunlight, they are always applied at night before sleep and should be washed off well in the morning.

4. Niacinamide serum or cream is to be used at night. It helps in removing hyperpigmentation and textural imbalances on the skin by rejuvenating and nonvisual, very gentle peeling that makes the skin glowy and smoother. They may be applied at night except when retinol is used.

5. Since there is no mention of the medium of the product except for vitamin C, which is mentioned as a serum, I request you provide the details in a query.

6. Assuming that the Hyaluronic acid and Niacinamide are serums and the rest are creams, the order of application mentioned as A.M. (morning) and P.M. (night) routine includes :

AM :

Face wash containing vitamin C serum (four to five drops) to be applied all over facial skin. Please wait for one minute till it gets well absorbed. Next, four to five drops of Hyaluronic serum are to be used, then wait for one minute and later sunscreen is to be applied every two hours without washing off the previous layers of the product as sunscreens lose efficacy every two hours.


Face wash, Niacinamide serum, and Hyaluronic acid serum or cream.

Retinol serum (two to three drops) or cream (if cream, then use a pea-sized amount) once a week and avoid Niacinamide on those days. Also, apply Retinol on a clean and dry face. There must not be any dampness or water on your face and hands before applying. Apply only a pea-sized amount of the product, mix it with a moisturizer of the same amount, buffer well and apply on the skin. Dab the product into the skin and do not rub. Ensure the dabbing is done until the product is absorbed into your facial skin well. Wait for ten minutes, and then apply a great moisturizer on top of the layer. If using Hyaluronic acid serum, use the serum (four to five drops) first after using the face wash. Again, please wait ten minutes and apply the Retinol product once it is dry.

As mentioned in history, Glycolic acid cream is not required if Retinol is used, as both are extremely strong. One of the either to be used. Retinol is a very beneficial product. Therefore, if Retinol is used, you can avoid Glycolic acid cream.

In case of further queries, do follow up. Also, kindly provide more product details if additional information is needed.

Hope the details were informative and precise.

I hope I can help. Stay happy, healthy, and safe.

Thank you.

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