Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol. As for benzoyl peroxide and retinol, they cancel each other out.
The best product you can use in conjunction with retinol, according to Dr. Zeichner, is a moisturizer, which can help hydrate skin and reduce the risk of irritation from retinol. “Some people even prefer to mix their retinol with a moisturizing cream to dilute it out,” he says.
It's perfectly safe and okay to use hyaluronic acid and retinol together. Using skin care products that contain these ingredients together shouldn't cause any interactions or side effects. Hyaluronic acid and retinol are one of the most popular skin care combinations.
The truth: You can use vitamin C with retinol and retinoids. Get them as separate products so you can tailor the concentration of each and use them at the right time of day. Although vitamin C can be used day or night, it is ideal for daytime use, while retinol and retinoids should be applied at night.
Pairing the two ingredients is safe and can make retinol easier to use. Niacinamide helps hydrate the skin, which reduces the risk of irritation caused by retinol. Niacinamide and retinol can be combined in one product or used as separate products.
Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide
These water-based treatments are a great pair and are made for all skin types — especially babes with dry, acne-prone skin. You'll find niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, in my Rewind Retinol Serum. Use hyaluronic acid first, followed by my retinol for the best results.
You should use hyaluronic acid after retinol. And to maximise the benefits, you should use retinol first and then wait at least 30 minutes before applying hyaluronic acid.
Using niacinamide before retinol works well. So does combining them into one product. A 2016 study found that a product containing retinol, niacinamide, hexylresorcinol, and resveratrol improved fine lines, sallowness, wrinkling, hyperpigmentation, and skin tone.
STEP 4: APPLY YOUR HYALURONIC ACID
If you are using it in serum form, you'll apply it immediately after your retinol. If it is part of your moisturizer, it will be your last step. That allows it to truly harness its power as an emollient and seal in both your other products and moisture.
Retinoids and serums can be used together, especially if the serum is soothing or hydrating. Be careful using very aggressive face oil serums with retinoids.
Also avoid retinol if you're going to be spending a lot of time in direct sunlight without proper sun protection. Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's important to use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day — even when it looks cloudy.
Can you use retinol and glycolic acid at the same time? Yes and no. You can use them at different times on the same day if your skin can tolerate it, but generally speaking it's best to alternate days to avoid sensitivity.
For prescription retinols, you'll typically apply this step onto dry skin before your moisturizer—but always check with your dermatologist. You may be advised to use it after a moisturizer, which buffers the retinol and lessens risk of irritation.
Is it a good idea to combine Vitamin C, Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid in a skincare routine? Yes. These ingredients work well when used individually and even better when paired together.
Second, avoid anything with harsh ingredients like alcohol and fragrance, or anything with a high acid concentration. “The majority of over-the-counter (OTC) cosmetic creams, lotions, and serums are water based and contain less than 2 percent hyaluronic acid,” Frey explains.
According to skincare guru and best-selling author, Caroline Hirons, you should allow 20 plus minutes before moving on to the next step of your routine.
We love pairing our retinol serum with L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum to ensure the skin is hydrated. Apply the hyaluronic acid serum first, then use the retinol.
Norwalk, CT, dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, stresses these ingredients are great when they hit your skin solo, but a definite no-no when applied together. “A mixture of retinoids/retinols with alphahydroxy acids, like glycol, can lead to extreme irritation and redness.”
Just take care to avoid using both ingredients at the same time of day, as this can easily lead to irritation. Instead, if your skin can handle both ingredients on the same day, you can try using an AHA in the morning and retinol at night, or vice versa.
And washing your face is necessary to remove any retinol or AHAs you wore overnight. Bottom line: Not washing your face in the morning is a mistake. A thorough a.m. cleanse ensures your products will work like they're supposed to.
If your skin can tolerate both ingredients with no dryness or irritation, you can eventually begin using one in the morning and one in the evening. Just take care to avoid applying any products containing active ingredients, like vitamin C, directly after using glycolic acid.
Peeling, redness, and irritation are common onset reactions for some people when they first start to use retinol. Some reactions get so bad that the common term used to describe the list of effects has been dubbed the “retinol uglies”. Note from a skincare expert: Many things in life get worse before they get better.
Retinol is best applied at night, since it can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. When you do go outside, be sure to use sunscreen to protect your face. Also, keep in mind that you don't need to use retinol on a daily basis for it to be effective at treating acne. Two to three times per week may be enough.