Should I Use Retinol or Hyaluronic Acid First?

Should I Use Retinol or Hyaluronic Acid First?

In the vast and ever-evolving landscape of skincare, two ingredients have emerged as essential components of a well-rounded routine: retinol and hyaluronic acid. 

Each has its unique benefits and functions, making them indispensable in the quest for youthful, radiant, and healthy skin. However, a common question arises: should I use retinol or hyaluronic acid first?

We recommend using hyaluronic acid first, as it hydrates the skin and prepares it for other treatments like retinol, which can be more potent but potentially drying.

In this blog post, we'll explore the answer to this question and delve into the intricacies of incorporating these powerful ingredients into your skincare regimen.

Retinol: A Powerful Anti-Aging Ingredient

Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, is renowned for stimulating collagen production, enhancing cellular turnover, and reducing sebum production. These properties make it an effective anti-ageing ingredient, helping to diminish fine lines, wrinkles, and acne. 

Retinol is typically recommended for nighttime use due to its potential to increase sensitivity to UV rays. When using retinol, it's advisable to begin with lower strengths and gradually build up to prevent irritation and ensure your skin becomes accustomed to the ingredient.

Hyaluronic Acid: A Gentle Hydration Powerhouse

Hyaluronic acid, a humectant, is a gentle and hydrating ingredient that retains moisture, keeping the skin plump and hydrated. 

It's suitable for all skin types and ages, making it an ideal addition to any skincare routine. Hyaluronic acid can be used daily, providing essential hydration and helping to maintain the skin's barrier function.


Maximizing the Benefits of Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid

Your skin comes first. When deciding whether to use retinol or hyaluronic acid first, it's essential to consider your skin's needs and tolerance. Retinol is typically recommended for nighttime use due to its potential to increase sensitivity to UV rays. 

Hyaluronic acid, gentle and hydrating, can be used daily and is suitable for all skin types, ages, and times. Both ingredients play crucial roles in skincare, with retinol focusing on renewal and hyaluronic acid on hydration.

Combining retinol and hyaluronic acid can be beneficial for an effective skincare routine. Retinol aids in cell turnover and collagen production, while hyaluronic acid provides essential hydration, creating a balanced approach to skincare. 

To incorporate both ingredients, applying hyaluronic acid first for hydration, followed by retinol at night, can maximize their benefits without overworking the skin.

Can I Use Hyaluronic Acid with Retinol?

Yes, you can use hyaluronic acid with retinol. Combining these two ingredients can create a harmonious and beneficial skincare routine. Just be mindful of the application timings. 

Hyaluronic acid's hydrating properties complement retinol's collagen-stimulating and renewing effects, ensuring your skin remains nourished and balanced.

Remember, there is still time to give your skin the care it deserves!

Can I Use Hyaluronic Acid with Retinol at Night?

Whether to use hyaluronic acid or retinol together in the morning or at night is vital for those looking to optimize their skincare routine. While both ingredients offer unique benefits, they have different ideal usage times and methods.

Retinol is primarily used at night due to its potential to increase sensitivity to UV rays. Introducing retinol gradually into your routine, starting with lower strengths and building up to prevent irritation, is essential. 

Retinol is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient that stimulates:

On the other hand, hyaluronic acid can be used both in the morning and at night, as it's a gentle and hydrating ingredient suitable for all skin types and ages. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin by:

  • Retains moisture
  • Keeping the skin plump and hydrated
  • It can be used daily to maintain the skin's barrier function. 

Apply hyaluronic acid first, followed by retinol at night. It allows the hyaluronic acid to provide hydration, which can help reduce the adverse side effects of retinol, such as dryness, flakiness, redness, and discomfort.

Can You Mix Hyaluronic Acid with retinol ? Potential Side Effects?

Combining hyaluronic acid and retinol can provide a synergistic effect, enhancing the benefits of both ingredients. Whatever loss lifestyle factors have caused to your appearance, using these skin-friendly ingredients wisely can make a huge difference. 

However, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects, particularly those associated with retinol use.

Retinol can stimulate collagen production, decrease inflammation, and promote skin cell turnover. These properties make it an effective acne treatment and anti-ageing ingredient. However, it can cause side effects such as:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Peeling
  • Excessive dryness (a condition known as retinization)

On the other hand, hyaluronic acid retains moisture, helping maintain skin firmness and elasticity. It can retain up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it an excellent hydrating ingredient.

When using hyaluronic acid and retinol together, it's crucial to introduce retinol gradually into your routine, starting with lower concentrations and building up to prevent retinol burn or irritation. Applying hyaluronic acid before retinol can help reduce the drying effects of retinol, making it easier to tolerate.

Sunburn with Retinol

It's also important to note that retinol can increase the risk of sunburn, so it should only be applied at night, and sunscreen should be used during the day. Additionally, if you're pregnant, you should avoid retinol and only use hyaluronic acid.

How Long Should I Wait After Applying Hyaluronic Acid Before Applying Retinol?

When combining hyaluronic acid and retinol, the order of application is crucial to minimize side effects. Hyaluronic acid serum, best applied morning and night after cleansing and toning, is a protective barrier when layered before retinol, particularly beneficial for those with dry or sensitive skin. 

User tip: Avoid using exfoliating acids alongside retinol to prevent skin damage and irritation.

Key Takeaway

We now know that while using hyaluronic acid and retinol together can provide enhanced benefits, we must be aware of potential side effects and take appropriate precautions. 

Gradually introducing retinol into your routine, using hyaluronic acid to reduce dryness, and avoiding direct sun exposure can help minimize any adverse effects and ensure you reap the full benefits of these powerful ingredients.

Is it Safe to Use Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid While Pregnant?

It's best for women who are pregnant, nursing, or planning to conceive to steer clear of retinoids, such as retinol, due to potential risks of congenital disabilities. However, using hyaluronic acid during pregnancy is generally considered safe.


Understanding the unique strengths of retinol and hyaluronic acid and how they complement each other is crucial in creating an effective skincare routine. 

You can achieve optimal results by incorporating high-quality products carrying these powerful ingredients in the proper order and at appropriate times. It helps you maintain healthy, youthful, and radiant skin.