There are several very popular and powerful active ingredients in the world of skincare. Team Jersey often gets asked which of these active ingredients can be used together, which one do you use in the morning and which is best in the evening? The last thing anyone wants to do is cause irritation to their skin by using the wrong combination of products.
The great thing is, when used correctly, these big hitters can produce brilliant results for your skin. But the key is all about using them correctly. For example, let’s take vitamin C. Vitamin C is amazing for brightening the skin and targeting fine lines and wrinkles (I personally love love love vitamin C serum!). You want your skin to look brighter in the day so vitamin C is best used in the morning. However vitamin C can cause the skin to become sensitive to the sun so you should always wear an spf when you use vitamin C. This last part is key to keeping the skin happy, healthy and irritation free. If this step is missed out, your skin is at risk of sun damage (not just on sunny days in the summer!) and premature ageing.
Let’s look at 2 of the popular skincare ingredients Retinol and Salicylic Acid…
Retinol is the gold standard for reducing the appearance of skin ageing. Retinol boosts collagen production, reduces oil production, improves skin tone and texture and soothes inflammation. Retinol works by going into the follicle and communicating with cell receptors to help stimulate skin renewal and increase cell turnover. This helps reduce visible signs of skin ageing.
Retinol is always used as an overnight treatment. Retinol causes a thinning of the outermost layer of dead skin cells, and therefore makes the skin more prone to sun damage so it is vital that you wear an spf when you use retinol as part of your skincare routine.
Products can either contain retinol or retinyl ester (retinyl palmitate/acetate) which are both described as retinoids. Retinoids need to undergo a conversion in your skin to its active form.
If the product contains retinol, once applied to your skin, it will undergo a 2 step conversion:
Retinol → retinal → retinoic acid
If the product contains retinyl ester, once applied to the skin, it will undergo a 3 step conversion:
Retinyl ester → retinol → retinal → retinoic acid
Retinoic acid is the active form of retinol that is effective in stimulating cell renewal and increasing cell turnover. All retinoids need to be converted by the enzymes in your skin to the active form ‘retinoic acid’.
The key is the effectiveness of this conversion process in your skin. This will depend on the formulation of the retinol you are using, how often you use it, your skin health and exposure to sunlight. If you are seeing results then it's working for your skin!
Retinol can cause skin sensitivity. Less is seen when using products that contain retinyl esters. Often there are different strengths of retinol products and the advice is that you build up your usage. Start with a low concentration and allow time for your skin to adjust. Retinol will make your skin more sensitive to sun damage so remember to wear an spf whenever you are using retinol in your skincare routine.
A popular Dermalogica Retinol treatment is Overnight Retinol Repair. This remarkable treatment includes a high-concentrate of pure retinol, which simultaneously exfoliates dead skin cells and combats signs of premature ageing- just a small amount increases skin elasticity by a remarkable 180%! The treatment comes with a moisturising buffer cream to help first-time retinol users, or those with more sensitive skin, acclimate to this highly-active form of retinol.
Salicylic Acid is one of acne’s greatest enemies so it can rapidly become your hero if you struggle with breakouts. Salicylic Acid removes skin cells superficially (on the skin’s surface), and helps kill breakout-causing bacteria. It is an extremely effective Beta Hydroxy Acid that helps clear blockage in follicles, such as excess oil and debris.
Salicylic Acid reduces levels of sebum (your skin’s natural oil) and stimulates cell turnover to clear away dead skin cells. It’s also the preferred ingredient for adult acne thanks to its skin-soothing properties.
Salicylic Acid has grown in popularity possibly due to the increase in adult breakouts. More and more adults are experiencing breakouts due to hormonal changes coupled with stressful and busy lives! Breakouts happen when dead skin cells, excess sebum and breakout-causing bacteria form a plug that clog pores. Salicylic Acid has the special ability to penetrate clogged pores and dissolve the “glue” that holds pore-clogging dead skin cells together. This helps clear breakouts. Essentially Salicylic Acid exfoliates the skin.
You can find Salicylic Acid in lots of products such as Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash and Daily Microfoliant. Most people report positive results immediately after they start using Salicylic acid. Since it also has skin-soothing properties, you could notice an improvement as soon as the next day. It’s worth noting though, everyone’s skin is different, so results will vary with skin type. Most people see significant changes after a few weeks of regular use. You can use most Salicylic Acid products daily or every other day but if your skin starts to feel too dry, reduce your use to once a week.
If you would like to introduce Salicylic acid into your skincare routine, we recommend Age Bright Clearing Serum. This is a 2 in 1 exfoliating and breakout clearing serum that also delivers a brighter complexion with regular use. This serum brightens the skin so you would probably want to use it in the morning however it can also be used at night.
You can also use Retinol and Salicylic acid TOGETHER! Yes, together! When Dermalogica released Retinol Clearing Oil, it was possibly the first time that Retinol had been combined with Salicylic Acid in one product. The combination of these 2 powerful ingredients sparked a lot of interest. Is it safe, can they be used together, do they still work effectively when used in combination?
The answer is yes it's safe and yes they work effectively together IF they are used in the right combination. This can be difficult to achieve however Dermalogica have cracked it with their Retinol Clearing Oil. You can treat breakouts and target premature skin ageing with just one overnight treatment.
Retinol Clearing Oil is unique because it combines two powerhouse ingredients into one potent formula for the first time. Salicylic Acid to rapidly clear and prevent breakouts and potent, time-released Retinol to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and hyper- pigmentation. You may have heard that you shouldn’t use Retinol and Salicylic Acid together as they are very active on the skin and could cause irritation. However, with Retinol Clearing Oil, the inclusion of time-released Retinyl Propionate offers a gentler approach and the soothing oil base mimics skin lipids helping to deliver the active ingredients deeper whilst trapping moisture.
If you prefer to use Salicylic Acid and Retinol separately, try not to apply them at the same time. Use Salicylic Acid in the morning and Retinol at night. Those with more sensitive skin may need to use these products on alternate days, or reduce Salicylic Acid use to once a week or as and when needed.
A final thought…. Remember that whilst Retinol and Salicylic Acid are highly effective skincare ingredients, they can both increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so always wear sunscreen or moisturiser with spf- every day of the year, not just on sunny days!
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