THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO INCORPORATING HYALURONIC ACID AND RETINOL INTO YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
Taking care of your skin not only keeps you looking your best but is an act of self-care. A simple daily skincare routine will have a cumulative impact in years to come.
Whilst we can’t change our genes or stop time marching on, we CAN play a role in slowing the signs of premature ageing. As well as pursuing a healthy, balanced lifestyle, we can incorporate anti-ageing skincare into our routine.
Retinol and hyaluronic acid are two of the most widely used and popular anti-ageing skincare ingredients in the beauty industry. In this article we explain what they are, what they do, and discuss how to use hyaluronic acid and retinol together.
Understanding Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol
WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?
Hyaluronic acid (HA for short) is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan (a large carbohydrate molecule) found throughout the body and especially in skin. As we age, skin’s natural HA levels drop, resulting in increased dryness. Topical hyaluronic acid hydrates dry skin and retains moisture for a visible reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Improved elasticity, firmness, and an overall plumping effect are also amongst the benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin.
WHAT IS RETINOL?
Retinol, a naturally occurring, fat-soluble compound, is one of several Vitamin A derivatives. Available as an over-the-counter alternative to prescription retinoids like retinoic acid, topical retinol increases epidermal (the outer layer of skin) thickness and promotes cellular turnover.
Retinol's small molecules penetrate deeply to reach the skin's dermis layer. Here it helps boost elastin and collagen production, which naturally decreases with age. Collagen is the fibre-like protein that gives skin much of its structure, and elastin is a coiled spring-like protein that provides skin elasticity. Together these proteins help keep your skin firm, plump and smooth-looking.
The Benefits of Retinol and Hyaluronic acid
Available in various fragmented or hydrolysed forms and differing size molecules, the greatest benefit of hyaluronic acid in skincare is its ability to absorb many times its own weight of water. The size and concentration of different HA molecules have an impact on its benefit. The smaller the molecule, the deeper it can penetrate the skin's layers. A high molecular weight HA is more likely to create a film on the surface than penetrate deeply.
Some products feature HA at higher concentrations because their main aim is to provide hydration and pro-ageing support. Others at lower concentrations are intended to target blemishes or improve skin tone.
An effective antioxidant, retinol combats oxidative stress in the skin. Oxidative stress occurs when UV exposure and pollution cause a buildup of free radicals. Over time, this causes cellular damage and accelerates skin ageing. Oxidative stress contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Applied topically, antioxidants like retinol and Vitamin C reduce oxidative stress to help delay onset of those visible signs of ageing.
Retinol’s ability to stimulate skin cell renewal means it’s effective at helping prevent spots and blemishes that have occurred because of pores or hair follicles becoming blocked with bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells to form a bump on your skin.
Effective against mild acne-prone skin, ketosis pilaris, psoriasis, and hyperpigmentation, retinol offers anti-wrinkle and wrinkle-smoothing properties, visibly refining and improving skin texture whilst reducing the appearance of sun damage, dark spots, and pigmentation.
How to Incorporate Hyaluronic Acid into Your Skincare Routine
Gentle and well-tolerated, HA is an ingredient that combines well with others and can be used once or twice daily.
Choosing the Right HA Product
HA Intensifier Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a triple action corrective HA serum for your face. The unique formula combines pure hyaluronic acid with botanical extracts and Proxylane™ to support and hydrate skin. It supplements natural production of the skin’s hyaluronic acid to help reduce signs of ageing – including crow’s feet, nasolabial folds and marionette lines.
Hydrating B5 Serum replenishes the nutrients required for skin to feel smooth and appear younger. An oil-free, hydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid along with the antioxidant Vitamin B5 (also known as pantothenic acid) to replenish moisture without clogging pores, help repair and rejuvenate skin, and restore radiance for a smoother complexion. Suitable for all skin types, but especially beneficial for oily, acne prone skin.
Hydrating B5 Hyaluronic Acid Facial Mask contains 1% hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to replenish depleted moisture levels in tired, dry skin. Vitamin B5 helps moisturise, soothe and stimulate skin repair. This mask can be applied to the face, neck, chest and body to restore moisture levels, visibly repair skin and leave skin feeling soft and supple. Ideal for all skin types and particularly beneficial for those over 40 years old whose natural HA levels are depleting and skin is dry.
Phyto Corrective Essence Hydrating Mist helps to visibly reduce redness in skin that may be sensitised following professional treatments, whilst also supporting the skin's natural protective barrier through a touchless soothing facial mist spray. A phytobotanical blend of other active ingredients support skin health, while a blend of glycerin and hyaluronic acid helps hold and retain water. Can be reapplied throughout the day, even over makeup. Suitable for use on skin post-treatment for minor cosmetic procedures and redness.
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Steps to Apply Hyaluronic Acid
Apply hyaluronic acid serum after using a gentle cleanser, morning and/or night. Follow with a moisturiser to lock in hydration, and always include sunscreen in your morning routine. Avoid products with a concentration of HA above 2% to avoid irritation or dryness.
How to Incorporate Retinol into Your Skincare Routine
Choosing the Right Retinol Products
Retinol 0.3 Anti-ageing Night Cream is non-comedogenic and fragrance-free, making it suitable for all skin types and recommended for first-time retinol users. It contains 0.3% pure retinol to promote cell turnover, improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration, pores and blemishes. This retinol cream is ideal for ongoing use or for conditioning skin prior to moving up to Retinol 0.5
Retinol 0.5 Anti-ageing Night Cream contains 0.5% pure retinol, slowly and evenly released to diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, blotchiness, blemishes, and discolouration. Recommended for first-time users of retinol creams and ideal for continued use or for conditioning as a prerequisite to Retinol 1.0. Non-comedogenic, so it won’t block pores, and suitable for all skin types, in particular ageing and acne-prone skin.
Retinol 1.0 Anti-ageing Night Cream is ideal for ageing and sun-damaged skin that's been pre-conditioned using Retinol 0.5. Formulated with 1.0% pure retinol and comforting chamomile-derived bisabolol to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, and discolouration, whilst minimising blemishes and the appearance of pores.
Important! 1% retinol is very high strength, so Retinol 1.0 should only be used after a period of pre-conditioning with Retinol 0.5 or similar. and should only be used in the evening. To avoid discomfort, use a lipid-rich moisturiser such as Triple Lipid Restore 242 Anti Ageing Moisturiser after application. Retinol increases cellular turnover and it's therefore essential to use a broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen such as Ultra Facial Defence SPF50 when using this product. We recommend you consult a healthcare professional before using Retinol 1.0.
Steps to Apply Retinol
Because skin does most of its repair work overnight, retinol skincare products are best used before bed. Apply after using a cleanser, followed by hyaluronic acid serum and then a moisturiser to minimise dryness or discomfort.
Combining Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol in Your Skincare Routine
When embarking on any anti-ageing skincare routine, it’s wise to introduce active serums or creams slowly and one at a time, and this is just as true when combining retinol and hyaluronic acid. Give the skin time to adjust by using products containing retinol once or twice a week to start with, building up to daily use.
Retinols and other vitamin A derivatives can lead to dryness and irritation, so applying hyaluronic acid moisturiser as a complementary product after retinol is both hydrating and comforting without affecting the retinol’s ability to do its job.
Skincare Routines for Different Skin Types
When used steadily and correctly, retinol can be beneficial to all skin types – including sensitive skin. Hyaluronic acid can work for people with any skin type — even those with sensitive skin or prone to breakouts.
Side Effects and Considerations
Retinol can cause dryness and skin irritation, especially after starting a new product. If your skin reacts, waiting 30 minutes after washing your face before applying retinol can help.
Using retinol every second or third night to begin with, and slowly increasing the frequency, can reduce the incidence of such effects. The risk may be greater if you're using more than one retinol-containing product at a time, so check product labels carefully — especially if using a combination of anti-ageing or acne skincare products, which are more likely to contain retinol.
If you continue to experience discomfort, see a healthcare professional.
In contrast, hyaluronic acid is generally very safe to use, since the body naturally produces it. Iif you do experience any reaction, this may be because of
● other ingredients in the product
● how often you apply them, or
● a concentration of hyaluronic acid that's too high
Hyaluronic acid and retinol are a powerful anti-ageing duo for any skin care routine that can be layered in serums or used at different times of day.
Retinol serum increases skin cellular turnover for a more even skin tone and texture, with visible improvement in fine lines and wrinkles.
Suitable for all skin types and compatible with most ingredients, HA helps enhance skin’s ability to retain moisture for a plumper, smoother complexion – particularly for dry or dehydrated skin. And because retinol can sometimes be drying, the hydration-boosting properties of HA applied afterwards will help combat this.