Hyaluronic Acid Before Or After Retinol?

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Hyaluronic acid and retinol are absolutely amazing products for aging skin. One helps keep the skin hydrated while the other helps with collagen production. Both functions can produce youthful and healthy-looking skin. 

But can you use both products in your skincare routine? And do you use hyaluronic acid before or after retinol? Yes, you can use them both but the order will depend on your skin plus the products you use. 

Don’t worry, we’ll explain that in full detail below. But before we do that, let’s first get to know what these two really are and how they work to help you achieve better-looking skin.


What Is Hyaluronic Acid?

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid might sound harsh because it is an acid but it works differently from other known acids such as your AHAs and BHAs (Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids).

Unlike those two, it doesn’t help with skin exfoliation but for skin hydration. 

Hyaluronic acid has a very powerful water-retention property. That means it is able to hold a lot of water, up to 1000 times its weight. With much water available on your skin, it is better hydrated or moisturized. 

Hyaluronic acid works by absorbing moisture and making it available for the skin to help keep it hydrated.

However, there is still a possibility of drying out your skin in certain conditions. 

When the humidity is extremely low, it wouldn’t have any source of moisture to absorb than your skin. If your skin is very dry when you apply it, it can seep up the moisture from the deeper levels as well. 

To remedy that, you should use a moisturizer to seal the hyaluronic acid in your skin. The moisturizer also provides the moisture it should have absorbed from your skin. Also, it is best to apply hyaluronic acid to damp skin.

Although it is naturally produced by the body, diminished production is observed due to aging.

No worries, there are lots of different hyaluronic products on the market! 

From serums  to creams , lots of products are formulated with hyaluronic acid for its hydrating properties.

It is commonly used to help plump up dry skin. It is also able to make fine lines or wrinkles a bit less visible. Additionally, the skin becomes firmer, elastic, and smoother in appearance when it is used. 

See also:

What Is Retinol?

Retinol Cream

Retinol, like hyaluronic acid, is another component of skincare products that can help deal with wrinkles and fine lines. However, its similarities with the hyaluronic acid end there. 

Contrary to the hydrating properties of hyaluronic acid, retinol has drying properties.

However, it is still an effective solution for fine lines and wrinkles because it instructs your skin to produce more collagen

Many anti-aging products only help with the removal of dead skin cells on the topmost layer of the skin. Retinol does beyond that by working on the deeper layer of the skin. There it neutralizes free radicals so that collagen and elastin production could increase. 

Like hyaluronic acid, the increased collagen and elastin will also help plump up the skin to reduce those fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol also has an exfoliating property, which helps improve the tone and texture of the skin. 

It is not just great for wrinkles! It also helps with other skin conditions like acne, uneven skin texture, hyperpigmentation, sun spots or sun damage, and larger pores. 

One downside to using retinol is it has a tendency to dry the skin as it works as a good exfoliating agent. 

See also:

Can You Use Both Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol?

Both of these skin care treatments sound great! But can you use hyaluronic acid with retinol?

Yes, you absolutely can use both hyaluronic acid and retinol in your skincare routine. In fact, many advise this as a stellar combination. 

Retinol is a good anti-aging ingredient, as we’ve stated above. But it can cause dry skin. What better way to counter that than to use the strongest moisture magnet there is, which is hyaluronic acid?

Retinol is a good anti-aging ingredient, as we’ve stated above. But it can cause dry skin. What better way to counter that than to use the strongest moisture magnet there is, which is hyaluronic acid?

Just make sure to use hyaluronic acid correctly so you don’t end up drying your skin further!  

Should You Use Hyaluronic Acid Before Or After Retinol?

There is really no rule on which one you should first. Using hyaluronic acid before or after retinol will depend on your skin as well as the products you use.

If you have hyaluronic acid in the form of a serum and retinol in the form of a moisturizer , then this order will work. 

In that way, you get to seal the hyaluronic acid with the help of the moisturizer. When the retinol is in the moisturizer itself, it will also help counter the dryness. 

Even if your hyaluronic acid is in the form of moisturizing cream, you can still use it before retinol. To do this, you apply your hyaluronic acid moisturizer, your retinol serum , and then the moisturizer again. 

That’s called a “retinol sandwich”. It is usually used by those with sensitive skin. The hyaluronic moisturizer used before the product helps prepare the skin before the drying retinol is applied. 

Furthermore, the dryness is countered once again by applying the moisturizer after using the retinol. 

You can absolutely use hyaluronic acid before or after using retinol

The important thing is to use a moisturizer after using retinol to counter the dryness.

You also need to use a moisturizer if you are using a hyaluronic acid serum to seal in the moisture and prevent your skin from drying out. 

Final Thoughts

Both hyaluronic acid and retinol have different positive effects on aging skin. Using both in your skincare routine could provide a powerful combination that will fight various signs of skin aging like wrinkles and fine lines. 

So the answer to the question Should I use hyaluronic acid before or after retinol? is that you can generally choose which one you use first.

Just remember to use those in serum form first before those in moisturizer or cream forms. Both hyaluronic acid and retinol can come in either form. 

Also, remember to follow your serum hyaluronic acid or serum retinol with a moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).