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Is it Safe to Use Retinol and Alpha Hydroxy Acids Together?
The Esthetician SaysEstheticians generally advise against using potentially irritating ingredients at the same time. Although not everyone is sensitive to either retinol (Vitamin A) or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs, the most common of which are glycolic, lactic or citric acid), many people do experience redness or irritation, especially upon initial use. In the case of retinol and AHAs, it is particularly important to use them at different times. Retinol is an effective ingredient, but not particularly stable, and AHAs can render it inactive.

That is not to say that retinol products such as DDF Retinol Energizing Moisturizer or SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex cannot be used in conjunction with AHA products like Abella Renewal Gel 10% Glycolic. They should simply be used in separate regimens. For example, you might use glycolic acid products in the morning, with a good broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Coola Face SPF 30 Cucumber, then use a retinol based product in your nighttime regimen.

Most dermatologists and estheticians recommend using retinols at night as you may become more sensitive to the sun, and in some cases, sun exposure will make retinol-based products less effective. Packaging is also an important consideration; you should look for a closed (air tight pump or capsule), dark colored container as both light an air can create problems with the efficacy of a product.

If you are adding either retinol or AHAs to your skin care regimen, go easy on your skin and start out slowly, perhaps once or twice a week, working up to five or more days. A little patience will pay off and you’ll soon see the results you’re looking for.

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