So, perhaps you’re new to skincare, or fancy stepping your routine up a notch and want to introduce retinol into your daily skincare regime. Only problem is, just what exactly can you use with retinol? Or more importantly, what can you not mix with retinol? Don’t worry as in today’s blog I’ll be sharing with you how to use this popular skincare ingredient and give you an idea of what not to mix with it!
What can you combine with retinol?
I know that it often feels there are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to retinol. Understandably as it is one of the most potent ingredients out there you’ll want to use it effectively without any worry of skin irritation or allergic reactions. The best ingredients to combine with retinol are peptides and hyaluronic acid, here's why:
Retinol and peptides
When using a product enriched in peptides you are forming a power duo of ingredients that will help to improve the firmness of the skin and boost the collagen production. Signs of premature ageing, such as fine line and wrinkles, will be significantly reduced and thanks to the exfoliating properties of retinol you’ll be left with a glowing complexion. The benefit of teaming peptides with the powerful form of vitamin A will lower the risk of skin irritation due to the fact they contain plenty of emollients that keep the skin hydrated and moisturised. The best way of applying these ingredients to gain optimal results is to apply a serum first of all containing retinol followed by a moisturiser rich in peptides. This is ideal for an evening routine as exposure to UV rays can render retinol useless and unable to have any effect on the skin.
Retinol and hyaluronic acid
Much like the hydrating benefits of using peptides hyaluronic acid is also great at keeping the skin surface moisturised. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant ingredient meaning it is able to absorb water from the area surrounding the face and other product formulations applied onto the skin. With this talent of locking water into the skin you will find that hyaluronic acid is able to ward off any signs of dryness. One great way of ensuring you’re reaping the rewards of both these is to apply the hyaluronic acid first as this will help the retinol to penetrate into the lower layers without having to combat a barrier of dry skin or dead cells.
As you can probably see by the previous suggestions that teaming hydrating ingredients with retinol is the best idea for combating any dryness or flaky patches of skin whilst still reaping the anti-ageing and anti-blemish benefits when using retinol in your daily routine.
Can you mix niacinamide and retinol?
You can indeed use niacinamide and retinol together, just like the ingredients I have already mentioned, you’ll find niacinamide carries with it some impressive skin hydrating properties. In fact, you can combine both of these ingredients into one product formulation making it easier and more convenient for the retinol to work its magic whilst niacinamide keeps the skin happy. If you’re using both these ingredients in separate products, I would advise you to apply niacinamide first followed by retinol to help protect the skin from the effects of retinol. If you are wanting to know more about using niacinamide and retinol together you can check out our dedicated blog post about it to help clear up any questions you may have.
Do you put vitamin C on before or after retinol?
It’s generally considered best to avoid using vitamin C and retinol together either in the same product, or with a short amount of time between application. For me personally, I always find the glow you get from applying vitamin C shouldn’t be wasted in the evening before you head off to bed, instead apply it in the morning to give your complexion a boost. You can then follow this with retinol applied during your evening skincare routine, this will not only give your skin plenty of time in between application, but will also allow the retinol to work undisturbed whilst you catch your beauty sleep.
If after that you still fancy using your vitamin C in the evening, first apply it and then wait about 10 minutes to let it absorb into the skin this will allow the pH levels to become more balanced and avoid any unwanted skin irritation once you have applied the retinol. One important point I wanted to mention is the fact that both of these ingredients increase the skin’s overall sensitivity to UV exposure so applying an SPF every day, without fail is vital for keeping the skin protected from harmful sun damage.
What moisturiser should I use with retinol?
This is something that depends really on your skin type, those prone to frequent breakouts and acne would see the best results when teaming a lightweight, gel like moisturiser containing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and other non-comedogenic ingredients that won’t block the pores but will still counteract the dryness that comes with using retinol. For dry skin types you can go for moisturisers that are a lot thicker in consistency containing nourishing plant oils and butters such as shea butter that dry skins adore.
When using retinol and moisturiser together it is best to remember the best routine to follow when applying these products. If you are using a retinol that has been formulated into a serum then this needs to be applied before moisturiser as it is thinner in consistency and would have difficulty penetrating through the thicker formula of your moisturising cream. If you’re using a retinol that comes in an oil then this can be applied before or after a moisturiser depending on how you normally apply your skincare products.
How often should you use retinol?
Introducing retinol into your daily routine is something that takes some time and shouldn’t be rushed, no matter how excited you are to see your skin results. To avoid severe skin dryness or irritation you should start by using retinol once or twice a week then as your skin builds its tolerance to the potent retinoids, you will be able to increase this to every other day or up to three times a week. Ensuring you use retinol in the evening will also help keep it working effectively without any exposure to UV rays. Don’t forget we have a full blog post about retinol and how to introduce it into your routine, so be sure to check that out if you have any more concerns with using it your daily regime.
So, I hope that you are feeling a lot more confident about what to use and what not to use with retinol, I know at times you may feel like a mad scientist mixing these ingredients and products together, but it really is remarkable how your skin improves once you get the hang of it!