Can you use Glycolic Acid AM and Retinol PM?

Can you use Glycolic Acid AM and Retinol PM?

As the years go by, it often feels that skincare routines are becoming more complicated. With multiple products containing a vast amount of active ingredients, some you may be familiar with, others you may have trouble pronouncing, let alone heard of before.

The good news is, once you have a better understanding of how these ingredients work together, the more confident you’ll be when applying them. So, don’t panic, as by the end of today’s blog post you’ll have a better understanding of how you can use glycolic acid in AM and retinol PM. You ready? Let’s get stuck in and find out more.

Can I use glycolic acid in the morning and retinol at night?

Absolutely, using glycolic acid in the morning and retinol at night is considered the most effective way of using these potent actives in your daily skincare regime.

You’ll find that the most common product formulas you’ll find glycolic acid in are face cleansers, exfoliating toners, and serums. With this variety you’ll no doubt find a product that fits into your routine and delivers results. You’ll also find that you are able to use glycolic acid twice a day, especially if your skin is prone to be oily and experience frequent breakouts. However, apply with caution if you are using retinol during your evening skincare routine as this mixture can be too drying for the skin.

The reason retinol should only be used at night is due to the ingredient being photosensitive and any exposure to UV rays will make it loose its potency and prevent it from performing to the best of its ability. You will also find that retinol is blended into formulas such as moisturisers and serums which remain on the skin for longer amount of time, compared to face cleansers that are rinsed off. Applying retinol in the evening to work uninterrupted by exposure to daily free radical damage whilst you sleep will result in a glowing, brighter, more youthful complexion.

Can you use glycolic acid and retinol on the same night?

Yes and no, the reason for this is because you must remember to leave enough time in between applications to allow the pH levels of the skin to rebalance. If you are wanting to use glycolic acid and retinol on the same night, the best way to benefit from this whilst avoiding irritation is to use the most suitable products. Here is an example of a nighttime routine that uses both glycolic acid and retinol. 

  1. Remove makeup with remover or micellar water
  2. Cleanse the skin to remove any remaining traces of makeup and impurities
  3. Soak a cotton disc with exfoliating toner enriched in glycolic acid
  4. Whilst the skin is still damp apply a serum containing hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture
  5. Follow this serum with another that includes retinol in its formulation
  6. Finally, apply a moisturiser enriched in nourishing ingredients, such as vitamin E, to keep the skin barrier supple and hydrated.

By following this routine, or one similar ensures you have enough time for the glycolic acid to slough away dead skin cells and allows the pH levels of the skin to rebalance before your retinol product.

Should I use glycolic acid in the morning or night?

You can use glycolic acid in the morning and at night, just ensure you have performed a patch test for 24 hours to ensure your skin is happy with the formulation. If glycolic acid is a new ingredient in your routine, I would suggest introducing by using a product that doesn’t remain on the skin, such as cleanser or exfoliating toners. This will give the AHA an opportunity to benefit the skin surface without causing too much irritation.

Do and don’ts with retinol?

Retinol is one of the most complex and misunderstood skincare ingredients. It often has a cloud of mystery surrounding it which leads to many using it incorrectly, or just avoiding all together. Here are some of the do and don’ts when it comes to using retinol in your everyday skincare routine.  

The Dos

  • Do use it only in the evenings
  • Do start slowly by only applying it once a week
  • Do take your time to build your skin’s tolerance
  • Do increase to applying it 2-3 times a week
  • Do go up in strength once your skin is accustomed to the potency

The Don’ts

  • Don’t use a high percentage before building the skin’s tolerance
  • Don’t layer on top of other potent ingredients such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid
  • Don’t forget to apply a SPF in the morning
  • Don’t continue to use if you are suffering from severe dryness, itching, and redness

There you have a brief rundown of how to use retinol, but if you are wanting to know more about this potent powerhouse, check out our blog post about retinol and its skincare benefits.

Can I use retinol in the morning?

No, it is a huge no-no to use retinol in your morning regime. This is because exposure to UV rays makes retinol completely useless and the potency and effectiveness of the ingredient are jeopardised. You’ll find that using retinol in the morning will only be wasted effort, but overtime will weaken the skin’s protective barrier making it more susceptible to damage caused by free radicals, such as pollution, central heating, and other environmental aggressors.

Can you mix BHA with retinol?

Nope, absolutely not, it’s considered best to completely avoid mixing BHA with retinol. Salicylic acid is the most used BHA in various skincare formulas and is often favoured by those with an oily and acne-prone skin type. One of the main benefits of salicylic acid is the fact it’s oil soluble meaning it can penetrate far down into the lower layers of the skin and unclog the pores of excess sebum, dirt, bacteria, and other impurities. Because of this, you should not follow a product enriched with salicylic acid with a retinol as this will result in dryness, increased sensitivity, redness, and rashes.

I hope that is clears up a few questions you have about glycolic acid and retinol. Don’t forget if you have any questions come and follow us on Instagram, you’ll find me in the direct messages!


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