Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
Should I apply hyaluronic acid before or after retinol?

Should I apply hyaluronic acid before or after retinol?

You should use your hyaluronic acid serum after retinol to maximize anti-aging benefits in your skincare routine.

Because retinol speeds up the turnover of dead skin cells, it can cause side effects like irritation and sensitive skin.

Thankfully, hydrating skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid can help soothe irritation and even reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by plumping your skin.

Curious to know more?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to use hyaluronic acid and retinol together.

What is hyaluronic acid?

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluornics

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a humectant used in skincare to help your skin retain moisture.

In fact, your body naturally makes its own hyaluronic acid but production decreases as we age.

Therefore, topical hyaluronic acid serums formulated with different molecular weights can hydrate through multiple layers of your skin.

This leads to softened fine lines, youthful plumped skin, and a lovely, hydrated glow.

What is retinol?

Naturium Retinol Complex Serum

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative known for its ability to increase collagen production and spell up skin cell turnover.

Further, it can promote smoother, firmer skin by fighting hyperpigmentation and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

You can find it over-the-counter in the form of a retinol serum or even a retinol cream at any beauty supply or drug store.

Do I apply hyaluronic acid serum before or after retinol?

To maximize retinol’s ability to penetrate the skin and work its anti-aging magic, apply your hyaluronic acid serum after retinol.

By applying it after retinol, hyaluronic acid hydrates your skin, seals in moisture, and can prevent the potential dryness we typically associate with retinol.

Can I use hyaluronic acid and retinol together?

Yes, you can use hyaluronic acid and retinol together.

In fact, studies show that doing so can help skin hydrated and prevent the side effects typically associated with retinol use, such as:

  • Skin irritation

  • Dryness or flaking skin

  • Compromised skin barrier

Using both ingredients can improve your results by enhancing absorption and targeting multiple aging concerns.

Can I use retinol and hyaluronic acid at the same time?

FaceTheory Hyaluret Serum

Yes, you can use retinol and hyaluronic acid at the same time.

In fact, they complement each other beautifully!

Applying hyaluronic acid hydrates your skin while retinol provides anti-aging and smoothing benefits.

Just remember that while hyaluronic acid is safe to use both morning and night, retinol is only suitable to be used at night.

Benefits of Using Hyaluronic Acid With Retinol

Hyaluronic acid is a powerful tool to help prevent the side effects typically associated with retinol.

In fact, using them together has benefits like:

  • Boosting hydration to counteract dryness caused by retinol

  • Potentially enhancing penetration and efficacy

  • Reducing irritation and inflammation

  • Plumping skin

  • Minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Overall, the two ingredients make a perfect pair!

Do you use retinol or hyaluronic acid first?

To maximize the anti-aging benefits of retinol, you should use retinol first before hyaluronic acid.

This will help ensure that retinol maximally absorbs into your skin.

Alternatively, you can apply hyaluronic acid before retinol to hydrate your skin and provide a buffer.

The latter is the better method if you have particularly dry or sensitive skin.

Can you put hyaluronic acid over retinol?

Yes, you can put hyaluronic acid over retinol.

Putting hyaluronic acid on post-retinol will help seal in moisture and prevent potential dryness.

How to Layer Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid

La Roche Posay Hyaluronic Acid B5 Serum

To layer your retinol and hyaluronic acid correctly, follow these steps.

Morning Routine

First, rinse your face with water or a cleanser.

Then, apply your hyaluronic acid serum and finish with moisturizer and sunscreen.

Evening Routine

In the evening, first, cleanse your face.

Then, apply a pea-sized amount of retinol and gently rub in until it absorbs.

Finally, you can apply a moisturizer after retinol.

What should I not mix with hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a wonderful hydrating ingredient that plays well with almost anything in skincare.

Pairing with strong exfoliating acids like glycolic or mandelic acid can even help fight dryness and irritation, similar to pairing HA with retinol!

What should I not mix with retinol?

Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Booster

Retinol is a strong, drying ingredient that can be tricky to layer with.

A general rule of thumb is to avoid using retinol with:

Generally, you don’t need to exfoliate if you use retinol unless you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation or dull skin.

The one exception here is with wash-off products.

For example, you can use retinol after a salicylic acid cleanser as long as it doesn’t cause excessive dryness.

Use your best judgment when starting out with new active ingredients, and be sure to patch test first.

What else can I use with retinol?

Because retinol is a drying ingredient, you’ll want to pair it with nourishing or hydrating ingredients.

These can include:

  • Glycerin or aloe vera for hydration

  • Ceramides to strengthen your skin barrier

  • Soothing ingredients like niacinamide or green tea

  • Peptides to enhance collagen production

The Bottom line: Using Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid Together

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum and Skin Renewing Retinol Serum Boxes

Hyaluronic acid and retinol are a match made in skincare heaven.

To use them together, be sure to apply your retinol first and allow it to absorb before applying your hyaluronic acid serum.

You can always add in supporting ingredients like other humectants or ceramides to further nourish your skin barrier as well.

However, be sure to avoid mixing retinol with other exfoliating acids as this combination can cause dryness and irritation.

When used correctly, your skin will reap incredible anti-aging benefits from these wonderful skincare ingredients!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you apply hyaluronic acid or retinol first?

To maximize anti-aging benefits, you should apply retinol first and allow it to absorb before applying your hyaluronic acid serum. Be sure to finish off with a moisturizer as well.

Can I apply retinol after hyaluronic acid?

Yes, you can apply retinol after hyaluronic acid. In fact, hyaluronic acid will hydrate your skin and create a protective buffer from the potentially drying and irritating effects of retinol.

How should you layer retinol and hyaluronic acid?

First, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and apply a pea-sized amount of retinol. Rub in the retinol until absorbed. Then, apply your hyaluronic acid serum. Finish with a good moisturizer, and you’re all set!

Do you put retinol on before or after hyaluronic acid and niacinamide?

First, apply a pea-sized amount of retinol on clean skin. Then, follow up with your niacinamide serum and hyaluronic acid serum. Finish off by applying a layer of your favorite moisturizer, and you’re good to go!

How can I layer hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, retinol, and vitamin C?

In the morning, wash your face and then apply vitamin C serum, hyaluronic acid, moisturizer, and sunscreen in that order. In the evening, cleanse your face and then apply your retinol serum and niacinamide before moisturizing.

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