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Layering Salicylic Acid and Retinol

A Guide to Layering Salicylic Acid and Retinol

Discover more on how to maximise your skincare routine with your salicylic acid and retinol serum!

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Taking care of your skin is a noble mission, but it can get a little confusing at times. With so many different skincare ingredients to choose from, it can be tricky to keep track of all the dos and don'ts, especially when it comes to which ingredients work well.

Even if you already know how to apply and layer skincare serums, specific ingredients combos like salicylic acid and retinol might leave you questioning the best thing to do. Should you use salicylic acid before retinol? Or can you use salicylic acid and retinol together at all? There are lots of factors to consider, which is why we've put together a guide on how to use retinol and salicylic acid together in the most beneficial way possible.

Keep reading to learn the answer to 'can you use salicylic acid with retinol?' and much more. We'll also teach you how salicylic acid and retinol work, what kind of products you can find them in and the benefits they can create for your complexion.

What are the benefits of salicylic acid?

We know you're wondering 'can I use salicylic acid with retinol?', but before we get there it's important to understand the benefits of salicylic acid for skin and how the ingredient actually works. Salicylic acid was originally derived from willow tree bark, however these days it's usually synthesised in a lab. It falls into the category of chemical exfoliants, which means it dissolved the bonds between dead skin cells, making it easier to keep your face fresh and clean.

Dead skin cells can lead to clogged pores and inflammation, playing a major role in blemish formation. Thankfully, salicylic acid simultaneously reduced excess sebum (skin oil) and unclogs pores. For this reason, it's a common ingredient in face serums for blemish and acne-prone skin.

For example, our Bye Bye Breakout Salicylic Acid Face Serum helps reduce spots and post-blemish marks, thanks to the benefits of salicylic acid.

What are the benefits of retinol?

Before we learn the secrets of salicylic acid and retinol, let's get out heads around the second member of this duo. In the world of anti-ageing skincare, retinol is a big deal. Of all the anti-ageing skincare ingredients and benefits, retinol is one of the most potent options out there.

So, what does it actually do? Retinol is a vitamin A derivative and it works by speeding up skin cell turnover, regulating sebum production, stimulating collagen production and strengthening skin. The visible results include brighter, more even looking skin, fewer blemish due to less dead skin cells hanging around, visibly minimised pores and plumper looking complexion.

You'll usually find retinol in a serum or cream formula. Our Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream takes the best of both - the anti-ageing benefits of a serum and the hydrating benefits of a cream, in one skin-loving product. This formula features both free and encapsulated retinol for firmer, more even looking skin.

Can you use salicylic acid and retinol together?

So, now you know that retinol and salicylic acid are both great for targeting common concerns for combination skin, oily skin and mature skin. You must be wondering more than ever about using salicylic acid with retinol. It's true that using both salicylic acid and retinol equals an enhanced ability to clear skin and target acne-prone skin, but you should combine them with care to best harness their benefits and avoid overwhelming the skin. Here are some tips on combining there two ingredients:

Can you mix salicylic acid and retinol?

Due to the potential for irritation, we don't recommend mixing products containing salicylic acid together and applying them at the same time.

Can you layer salicylic acid and retinol?

Using salicylic acid straight after or over the top of one another can lead to irritation for some people, so we advise against this method.

Can I use retinol and salicylic acid together?

The good news is you absolutely can use retinol and salicylic acid together. The solution to minimising the chances of irritation is simple - use one ingredient as part of your morning skincare routine and the other at night.

Skincare routine with retinol and salicylic acid

Retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's always recommended to use this ingredient at night. Therefore, the best way to go to apply your salicylic acid serum in the morning followed by SPF to protect your skin against day-to-day UV exposure. Before bed in the evening, use your retinol cream to maximise its benefits at a time when you won't be exposed to any sun. Read on for our retinol and salicylic acid skincare regime.

In the AM:

  • Use a gentle facial cleanser like Confidence in a Cleanser to refresh skin.
  • Press 3-4 drops of Bye Bye Breakout Salicylic Acid Face Serum into skin and allow to absorb.
  • Supply skin with all-day hydration with your favourite IT Cosmetics moisturiser.
  • Finish with a broad-spectrum SPF

In the PM:

  • Cleanse the day away and pat skin dry.
  • Dispense a pea-sized amount of Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream and apply to the face and neck, avoiding the delicate eye and lip areas.
  • Nourish the eye area with Confidence in an Eye Cream Peptide Eye Cream - a little goes a long way!


Loved this guide on how to use salicylic acid with retinol? Read our next article to learn about the benefits of ceramides in skincare.


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