Lactic acid and retinol are two popular and active ingredients in the skincare industry. You may have noticed that they are included within some of your favourite skincare products. When it comes to your skin, it’s so important to understand what you’re putting on it. That way, you can tailor your skin care routine to your personal needs. That’s why today, we’re sharing lactic acid vs retinol. Both are powerful ingredients that can help improve the texture and pigmentation of your face!
What is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid is in the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) family and is derived from milk. It is known for its exfoliating properties and is often used in skincare products to help remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover.
Lactic acid is also a humectant, meaning it helps to retain moisture in the skin. It is generally considered to be a gentle exfoliant, making it suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
What are AHAs and BHAs
AHAs and BHAs are two types of chemical exfoliants that are commonly used in skincare products. They both help improve the texture and appearance of your skin.
AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, are a group of water-soluble acids that are derived from fruit, milk, and sugar. Some common types of AHAs include glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid and mandelic acid.
AHAs work by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells. This helps to slough them off and reveal smoother, brighter, and more even-toned complexion. They can also help to boost collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve the skin’s texture and tone.
BHAs, or beta hydroxy acid, is a group of oil-soluble acids that are derived from salicylic acid.
Beta hydroxy acids work by penetrating deep into the pores to dissolve excess oil, dirt, and dead cells. This helps to unclog pores and prevent acne. They can also help to reduce inflammation and redness in the skin, making them a good option for people with oily or acne-prone skin.
Both alpha hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid can be found in a variety of skincare products, including cleansers, toners, serums, and peels. However, it’s important to choose the right type of acid for your skin type and your personal concerns, and to introduce them gradually into your skincare routine to avoid over-exfoliating or causing irritation.
Lactic acid product we recommend
What to use with Lactic Acid
Best vitamin c serum we have ever used.. seriously.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can help to brighten the skin and even out skin tone.
Using a vitamin C serum after applying lactic acid can help to enhance the brightening effects of both ingredients.
With that said, both of these are very potent and introducing your skin to both products before combining is encouraged.
You can use lactic acid and hyaluronic acid together in your skincare routine. In fact, using these two ingredients together can be a great way to achieve smoother, more hydrated skin. This combination gives your skin a much needed moisture boost!
Pro tip: If you live in a cooler climate where there’s not a lot of humidity, it’s worth investing in a humidifier. Hyaluronic works best when there’s moisture in the air to pull from.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for vision, immune function and cell growth. In the skincare industry, retinol is used as an anti-aging ingredient due to its ability to promote cell turnover and collagen production.
Retinol works by binding to specific receptors on the skin cells, where it stimulates the production of new cells and increases the production of collagen and elastin.
These proteins are essential for maintaining the structure and elasticity of the skin, and their production naturally declines as we age. By increasing their production, retinol can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, and promote a more youthful-looking complexion.
Retinol products we love
What to use with Retinol
When incorporating retinol into your skincare routine, it’s important to be mindful of other products that you are using to avoid any potential irritation or sensitivity. Here are some products that can be used in conjunction with retinol.
It’s important to note that you should NOT combine Retinol with vitamin C serum, AHA/BHA acids, and benzoyl peroxide. If you have these products in your skincare routine use them on different days, or split them between morning and night with cleansing in between.
You can use niacinamide and retinol together in your skincare routine. In fact, they can complement each other and provide a range of benefits for your skin.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin that can help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. It is also effective at reducing the production of sebum, which can help to prevent acne and breakouts.
You should combine moisturizer with retinol to help minimize potential irritation and dry skin that may occur when using retinol.
Using a moisturizer with retinol can help to counteract dryness side effects that can occur when using Retinol and provide your skin with the hydration it needs to stay healthy and glowing. A moisturizer can also help to strengthen your skin’s natural barrier function, which can become compromised when using retinol.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is important to use with retinol because retinol increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, making it more vulnerable to sunburn and other sun damage.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that promotes skin cell turnover and helps to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. However, retinol also makes the skin more photosensitive, which means that it is more susceptible to damage from the sun’s UV rays.
By using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, you can protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays while still benefiting from the anti-aging properties. It is extremely important to apply sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days or when you will be spending most of your time indoors, as UV rays can penetrate clouds and windows.
Lactic Acid vs Retinol
1) How they work
One of the key differences between lactic acid and retinol is their mechanism of action. Lactic acid works by breaking down the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, allowing them to be easily sloughed off.
Retinol, on the other hand, works by increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen production. This means that while lactic acid primarily works on the surface of the skin, retinol works on a deeper level, affecting the structure and function of the skin cells themselves.
2) Side Effects
Another difference between lactic acid and retinol is their potential side effects. Lactic acid is generally considered to be a gentle exfoliant, but it can still cause some skin irritation or redness, especially if used in high concentrations.
Retinol, on the other hand, can cause more significant side effects such as dryness, flakiness, and sensitivity. These side effects are often referred to as the “retinol uglies” and can take several weeks to subside as the skin adjusts to the ingredient.
In terms of benefits, lactic acid is an excellent ingredient for improving skin texture and tone, reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and promoting a brighter, more radiant complexion.
Retinol, is primarily used for its anti-aging benefits. It can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin elasticity and firmness, and even out skin tone.
4) Frequency of use
When comparing lactic acid vs retinol its important to understand frequency of use.
For most people, using lactic acid once or twice a week can be enough to exfoliate the skin and promote cell turnover without causing irritation or sensitivity. However, if you have particularly oily or acne-prone skin, you may be able to use lactic acid more frequently, up to three times a week.
For most people, using retinol once or twice a week can be enough to see benefits without causing irritation or sensitivity. However, some people may be able to tolerate more frequent use, such as every other night or even nightly. With retinol it’s important to start slow and build up frequency over time, especially if you notice some of the side effects mentioned above.
So Whats Better Lactic acid vs Retinol?
Ultimately, both lactic acid and retinol are powerful skincare ingredients that can provide significant benefits to the skin.
Lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant that can improve skin texture and tone, while retinol is a potent anti-aging ingredient that can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
However, with all that said, it is important to use these ingredients carefully and according to the instructions. As they can also cause side effects if used incorrectly. Ultimately, the choice between lactic acid and retinol will depend on individual skin concerns and preferences.
If you’re unsure of your personal skincare needs, it’s always recommend to seek the advice of a doctor or dermatologist to come up with a skincare plan that’s personal to you!
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