Hyaluronic acid vs Retinol

These two ingredients are key in maintaining healthy, glowing, youthful skin. They are both excellent ingredients if you are looking for a smoother, even complexion and for preventing aging. How do they achieve similar results if they aren’t the same, do you use one or can you use both? Can you use them one after the other? They may be good for the skin but how? All of these questions are probably why I get DM’d this a lot – “should you be using both of them?”


Retinol is a vitamin, a form of vitamin A to be precise. You can get a good dose of it via food, however you don’t want to overdo it because for some people it’s too harsh and can cause some serious irritation on your outer most skin. It is also NOT pregnancy safe, bakuchiol, is a great alternative in this case. Like everything balance is key.

As a skincare ingredient has been extensively researched in order to ascertain it’s benefits and many industry experts have conceded this is the best skincare ingredient you can use to prevent/slow down the skin’s natural aging process.

It’s a pretty strong multitasker. As an antioxidant it can mitigate the damage that free radicals (generally attained from the environment, i.e the sun) can cause to your skin cells, it can function as a cell communicator to tell cells to behave in a ‘younger way’.

There mechanism of action involves cell turn over, it simply tells the cells to speed up the process that causes them to die and new cells to form. This is increasing the overall cell turnover, something that slow down as you age. Hence, retinol treated skin doesn’t just look younger it really is younger, at a cellular level .

This has advantages for acne/scarred skin too! Helping the cells to turn over here means that the scarring should dissipate over time.

Another great thing about retinol for aging skin – it increases the rate at which collagen is made. Collagen is a structural protein in our skin, it keeps the skin looking plump and bouncy. Its the thing that lets us smile and snap back without leaving lines when we are younger. As we age the rate at which collagen is produced is slowed down considerably. Retinol helps to keep increase the rate of collagen production, therefore the skin looks younger.

Hyaluronic acid

It’s cemented itself as an OG of the skincare world, kinda like LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson of Destiny’s Child, HA helped pique everyone’s interest in beauty science, but it’s now fading into the background.

Known for helping to improve the skin texture and therefore keeping the skin bright and bouncy. You may be getting the sense that you’ve heard of these wonderful qualities before, well yes you have, just a few sentences above. Retinol and HA have very similar benefits but they work in different ways.

HA is a carbohydrate molecule and a natural component of skin that has a unique capacity to bind to and retain water molecules. It’s that simple. HA attracts and locks moisture into your skin, holding up to one thousand times its own weight in water molecules – that’s a lot.

As you age we lose the amount of HA we have naturally in the skin. So, synthetically made HA in skincare is how we restore it. This prevents dehydrated, dry skin.

So the answer is yes. Use both of them, they’re great for keeping aging skin healthy and you CAN use them in conjunction. This is because they work in different ways and won’t interfere with one another. They may even work in synergy to help you achieve your softest, smoothest skin.

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