Pairing Retinol with Hyaluronic Acid Makes Perfect Sense

Retinol is universally recognized as an extremely effective anti-aging multitasker — but it can be strong.

Enter hyaluronic acid: this intensive hydrator not only tempers some of those side effects, it also helps minimize signs of aging.

Here’s a breakdown of this power pair — how they benefit your skin, and how to combine them for maximum effect.

Combining retinol and hyaluronic acid serum textures by SLMD Skincare

How does retinol fight aging?

Retinol is an over-the-counter retinoid — a group of potent antioxidants derived from vitamin A. This powerful ingredient speeds cell turnover and prevents collagen breakdown, perfect for addressing:

  • Acne
  • Fine lines
  • Sun damage
  • Hyperpigmentation

What does hyaluronic acid do for skin?

Hyaluronic acid is a substance produced naturally by the body to hydrate and lubricate tissues — including skin. This multitasking magician holds many times its weight in water, which makes it ideal for:

  • Hydrating
  • Plumping
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

How to combine retinol and hyaluronic acid

Retinol is a highly potent ingredient, but it can be strong. Though typically redness, flaking and irritation subside after several weeks, sometimes these side effects lessen, but still linger.

That’s where “sandwiching” comes in: applying soothing hyaluronic acid before and after retinol helps boost benefits while reduce redness and irritation from retinoids. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Better balance. Hydrating hyaluronic acid helps alleviate the potentially drying effects of retinol, enhancing your skin’s equilibrium.
  • Enhanced results. Retinol boosts collagen production, while hyaluronic acid binds water to collagen — both result in firmer skin. Using a time-release formula that includes skin nourishing ingredients, like SLMD Skincare Retinol Serum, then layering a product like Hyaluronic Acid Serum, can help even sensitive skin types tolerate retinol.
Combining Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Retinol Serum for anti-aging by SLMD Skincare

Dr. Lee’s last word

Retinol slows down the breakdown of collagen, while simultaneously encouraging rapid cell turnover in our skin — but it can cause some drying and irritation. Look for formulas that also contain soothing ingredients. And keep your skin hydrated! Adding in a hyaluronic acid serum will help alleviate any flaking or redness...and the added hydration means you're going to see enhanced results from your retinol, too.

—Dr. Sandra Lee


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