Did you know that I used to work in the skincare industry? I did for nearly four years, and in that time, I learned so much about ingredients and their benefits for your skin. Two of the most popular (and my personal favorite) skincare ingredients are retinol and hyaluronic acid. And while hyaluronic acid and retinol products have become super buzzy in the beauty world and in skincare routines, what are they and what do they actually do?
Benefits of Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid
Before I get into the benefits of retinol and hyaluronic acid, let’s get a little nerdy first.
Put simply, retinol is a form of Vitamin A. Vitamin A derivatives are called retinoids, and one of those retinoids are called retinol. When a retinol serum is applied to the skin, it converts into retinoic acid. That retinoic acid is what works its magic on skin to produce retinol’s skincare benefits. You may be familiar with stronger retinoids like Retin-A (also known as tretinoin); retinol is an effective, over-the-counter version with a smaller percentage of the active ingredient. Therefore, you don’t need a prescription and it’s widely accessible to consumers.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule found in our bodies and in natures. It’s the “liquid stuff” in our cartilage, eyes, and skin cells that keeps things lubricated. As a skincare ingredient, it is mostly found in and extracted from plants.
Both products have individual benefits, but their synergistic effect is what makes them a great skincare power duo.
Benefits of Retinol
Reduces the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
The most well-known and sought-after benefit of using a retinol is its ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is *THE* top ingredient I almost every single anti-aging product out there.
Applying retinol serum consistently, for at least several months increases cell turnover and stimulates collagen production, two things that slow down naturally as we age. Fresh skin cells = a brighter complexion, and more collagen = a plumper, more youthful appearance.
Reduces Dark Spots
If you’re struggling with dark spots, you may want to consider a retinol serum as well.
Thanks to its ability to encourage skin cell turnover AND regulate oil production, retinol works as an acne treatment, too. In fact, retinoids were first used as an acne treatment before researchers found other benefits to today’s number one skincare ingredient.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, so not only does it attract water, but it also retains it, too.
Fun fact I picked up in the beauty biz: hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. In other words, it is a water super magnet that majorly hydrates the skin.
Improves Suppleness of Skin
As skin gets hydrated, it looks plumper, and dewier. The result is a youthful, supple appearance (that just happens to work hand in hand with retinol.)
How to Use Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol Together
Retinol and hyaluronic acid are a match made in skincare heaven. Retinol can tend to dry skin, so the hydration from hyaluronic acid can help to soothe any potential irritation.
Because retinol is a retinoid, it can cause some initial skin irritation. Be sure you talk to a board-certified dermatologist before starting any type of new skin care treatment.
Although hyaluronic acid can be used any time you need a hydration boost, save your retinol for the evening. Since it increases skin sensitivity, a nighttime routine allows it to work its magic while you’re sleeping and out of the sun. Use a hyaluronic acid serum first, then apply your retinol. (And don’t forget the SPF the next day!)
Want advice on how to get naturally glowing skin? Check out this post featuring tips from my esthetician.
If you’re looking to switch things up with your skincare routine, or you’re new to retinol and hyaluronic acid, here are a few of my favorite products (click the arrows to slide between the items):