How to use acids and retinoids

Y’all know I love a good BHA toner. It’s a staple in my skincare routine because my pores easily get congested. So even though I introduced Retin- A to my routine, I’m still using BHAs too.

Using retinoids with an effective acid can increase the benefits of both products i.e. clearer, smoother skin.

Retinoids increase collagen production and skin renewal and acids exfoliate to reveal brighter, healthier skin. So I’m game.

My current PM schedule looks like this.

  • Sun and Thur - Retin-A + skin repairing moisturizer
  • Mon, Wed, Fri - no actives, just moisturizer
  • Tue and Sat - BHA + alpha arbutin + moisturizer

As you can see, I never use acids and retinoids at the same time. I also give my skin a break in between actives because otherwise it would flake like crazy. Yours probably would too because the moisture barrier would be compromised.

The moisture barrier is layer on the skin that protects it, keeping it healthy, hydrated and moisturized. Using too many active ingredients can strip it and cause flaky, irritated skin. So you need to go slow.  

If you want to use hydroxy acids and retinoids, I’d suggest:

  • Using acids in the morning and retinoids at night.

  • Using acids and retinoids on alternate nights (I do this).

  • Or using the acid, waiting 30 minutes to an hour, then applying the retinoid.   

It all depends on how sensitive your skin is. So yes, you can use hydroxy acids and retinoids, just not at the same time. Because: Your poor moisture barrier!

Have you used hydroxy acids and retinoids at the same time before? Comment and let me know!

Skin Care TipsClare Oparo