Glycolic Acid vs. Retinol: Which is better for your skin type?

In the pursuit of more flawless-looking skin, it can be difficult to know which products to use. It  is helpful to start with your skin type and understand the concerns you may have with your skin. Those might include issues with premature aging, dark spots, dullness, clogged pores, or just a general lack of radiance where you long for better-looking skin. The way to achieve your goals in skincare is to find the right products that will make a real difference in your skin. You need ingredients that have been proven to be effective and will work well with your skin type. It’s easier than you may think when you consider Cosmedica Skincare, which strives to produce significant results in how your skin looks and feels with our vegan, cruelty-free products. 

There are several key ingredients that we use in our skincare products that will give you the results you are looking for in your skin. Two of those ingredients that have been known to work wonders on the skin are glycolic acid and retinol. Let’s explore what these two stand-out skincare ingredients can do for your skin and some of the best Cosmedica Skincare products to add to your skincare routine. 

What Is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is a type of sugar-based acid, also called an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Due to its smaller molecular weight, it can penetrate the skin easily and is considered a chemical exfoliant. Glycolic acid will produce more effective results in exfoliating the skin by shedding dead skin cells and resulting in more flawless-looking, glowing skin. Other acid types in skincare provide this function too, like lactic acid and salicylic acid. 

Many skincare products contain different levels of glycolic acid. It can be in the form of a cleanser, serum, toner, or moisturizer. Or you can use it on its own in a solution that has a significant percentage of glycolic acid. The higher the percentage, the stronger the exfoliation you will get. 

Another benefit to using glycolic acid is its ability to stimulate collagen production by getting deep within the layers of skin. When you use a product that stimulates collagen production, it will help the structure of your skin perform better. As the skin ages, natural collagen production decreases, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Using skincare products and ingredients that are geared towards boosting collagen production is very important to achieve anti-aging benefits. 

What Is Retinol?

Retinol is a form of pure vitamin A that works because it gets converted into an effective retinoic acid. The way that retinol works in skincare products is by going deep down into the dermis to help fight against free radicals. The retinol works to stimulate beneficial collagen and elastin production to fight off premature aging. It can reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines and plump up the skin for a more youthful look. 

Another benefit of retinol is its ability to help reduce dark spots or hyperpigmentation, smooth out uneven skin tone, and reduce acne and blemishes because it speeds up skin cell turnover. 

You can find retinol in many skincare products, but it’s helpful to have a product with a high percentage of retinol for the best results. It may take your skin a few weeks of using retinol to get used to it, but the results are worth it. Retinols can truly solve a litany of skincare concerns. Just be careful to use an SPF during the day because retinol can cause extra sun sensitivity.  

Similarities Between Glycolic Acid and Retinol

Glycolic acid and retinol are similar several ways. They are both geared towards skin rejuvenation by stimulating collagen production and skin cellular turnover. When properly used on the skin, they will help change the skin’s texture, reducing uneven pigmentation, dullness, and making the skin glow, even though the way that each ingredient does this is a little different.  

Differences Between Glycolic Acid and Retinol

The biggest difference between the two ingredients is the way in which they work. Glycolic acid uses an exfoliation-type action to promote cellular turnover by removing debris and dead cells from the skin. Retinol stimulates cell regeneration and collagen to lessen the appearance of fine lines. In skincare chemistry, they work differently to achieve similar results. 

Which Skincare Ingredient to Use for Your Skin Type or Concern

In looking at which skincare ingredient to use for your skin type or concern, glycolic acid or retinol, the answers are clear. 

1. Oily Skin

For oily skin, go with glycolic acid. It will get rid of dead skin cells, excess oil and, in the process, unclog pores. You’ll find that your oil levels are more balanced once you start using glycolic in your skincare regimen. 

2. Acne-Prone Skin

With acne-prone skin, you may be used to using benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid (beta-hydroxy acid) products on your skin. You may achieve better results by clearing up acne with retinol. It can reduce swelling and smooth out the skin tone, diminishing the appearance of acne scars or dark spots.  

3. Normal Skin

For normal skin that has an even balance of oil and hydration, you can use either glycolic acid or retinol. If you are more concerned with aging, go with retinol. For all-around brighter skin that is glowing and radiant, choose a glycolic acid. 

4. Dry Skin

Dry skin is more prone to premature aging, so it’s best to use retinol on dry skin. That way you’ll prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, setting your skin up to look better now and in the future. 

5. Sensitive Skin

Since glycolic acid is less drying and irritating than retinol, it’s better to use that exfoliant on sensitive skin. Many people with truly sensitive or reactive skin have trouble using retinol because some of its side effects. 

6. Anti-Aging

Your anti-aging best bet is always retinol. It goes deeper and does more at a cellular level with collagen production to help with all signs of aging. Plus, it fades dark spots caused by long-term sun damage. 

Can You Use Glycolic Acid and Retinol Together?

Yes, you can use glycolic acid and retinol products together. Just be careful about when you use them. Don’t use them together on the same day, especially products with a higher concentration of each ingredient. 

Try to alternate each skincare ingredient. It’s also important to figure out how much your skin can handle without getting skin irritation. Start slowly and build up your tolerance of each ingredient. Think of these two ingredients as a slow and steady way to experience the benefits of a chemical peel for improved skin texture and tone. 

Cosmedica Skincare Products to Try

Cosmedica Skincare offers several highly effective products that contain retinol and glycolic acid. Plus, we have a whole bounty of amazing skincare products for every skin type and concern, including ones with l-ascorbic acid or vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, as active ingredients.

cosmedica skincare products to try: hyaluronic acid serum, retinol serum, retinol night cream, glycolic facial scrub

1. Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Hyaluronic acid is a superstar skincare ingredient to use with any skincare routine. It binds moisture to the skin for a plumped-up and youthful look. Cosmedica Skincare’s Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum is meant to go on the skin after you cleanse, twice a day, as part of your morning and night skincare routine. This is an especially helpful product to use when you add retinol or glycolic acid to your regimen, since it’s going to make every skincare product work better and more effectively. 

2. 2.5 % Retinol Facial System

When you’re ready to explore everything that retinol products can do for you, the answer is our 2.5 % Retinol Facial System. This fab duo jump starts collagen production in your skin for total improvement you can visibly see. In the kit, you get the Advanced 2.5 % Retinol Serum and the 2.5 % Retinol Night Cream. Both contain active retinol to target discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles, and refine skin tone and texture. Plus, they include vitamin E and soothing green tea to help with any sensitivity you may experience at the beginning of a retinol regimen. 

3. 2.5 % Glycolic Facial Scrub

If glycolic is more suited to your needs and skin type, it’s time to try Cosmedica Skincare’s 2.5 % Glycolic Facial Scrub. This is a chemical exfoliant and manual facial scrub that is going to buff away skin imperfections, dead skin cells, and stimulate the skin’s intricate renewal process. It’s going to totally give your skin a complete refresh that will look bright and glowing. Use it 2-3 times per week for best results. It’s gentle enough to use with the 2.5 % Retinol Facial System, which is the best news for double the skin benefits. 

Browse all our vegan, cruelty-free skincare products online at Cosmedica Skincare.

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