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What not to mix with Retinol

07.09.2022 | Skincare

Retinol: A derm favorite in the industry, and a buzzword for skincare shoppers alike. Popularized as an anti-aging lifesaver, we're here to share how to best incorporate the popular retinoid into your everyday life, what you should know about it, and how to best use it to achieve the most benefits and results.

What exactly is retinol?

Retinol is a type of retinoid, a derivative of Vitamin A, which is the group of fat-soluble vitamins commonly found in carrots, eggs, and sweet potatoes. While many people are under the impression that retinol is an exfoliant, it is actually an antioxidant.

What does it mean and what does it do?

Using Retinol Serum in your skincare routine helps promote skin cell turnover, which can help issues such as: improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin texture, dark spots, and combating acne. However, it can be extremely irritating on the skin, which is why we highly recommend slowly integrating it into your routine by first starting to use it a few times a week, and then slowly building a tolerance for it.

What not to mix with retinol?

Since retinol is such a powerful ingredient, it's important to be cautious about what you are pairing this with in your daily routine. To be specific, you cannot mix retinol with AHAs (Glycolic Acid Toner, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid Treatment, Apple Cider Vinegar Acid Peel), BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acid Serum, C-50 Blemish Night Treatment), PHA Toner

What all of those ingredients listed have in common is that they are all exfoliating, which means they are likely to cause more irritation and dryness when paired with Retinols. If you are using either of these alongside retinol, we highly suggest using them on alternate evenings and starting off slowly. 

Can you use retinol with Vitamin C?

Vitamin C Serum is an antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental pollutants, whereas Retinol Serum rebuilds the skin. Essentially, this means that using both simultaneously would cancel each other out. Our recommended approach is that it's best to use Retinol Serum in the PM, regardless of what other skincare products you're pairing with it. And if you're using Vitamin C too, then we would recommend using it in the morning to get the most of both products.

Can you mix hyaluronic acid with retinol?

Yes, you can! In fact, you can mix retinol with Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Ceramide Night Treatment, which is good for hydration, and SPF, which is even more important to use since Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Lastly, we highly recommend that if you are using any prescription skincare to first check with your dermatologist/doctor prior to using retinol.

Chat to our askINKEY team about skincare ingredient pairings specific to you.

Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.