Can You Use Salicylic Acid With Retinol?

Whether you're a skincare expert or just enjoy experimenting with your favorite products, you may find yourself wondering which ingredients deliver the best results and which you shouldn't mix together.

Salicylic acid and retinol are two ingredients that many people use alone, but there is a time and place to combine them together.
When it comes to skincare products, you have probably heard the terms acids and retinoids being used before. But, if you haven't, don't worry! Here's an easy-to-understand breakdown of each ingredient.

Salicylic acid, aka BHA, is an exfoliant that works at the surface of your skin. This means it depends on your skin turnover to show results that can take 2-8 weeks depending on the person and severity of their acne. It has anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for people suffering from acne. Salicylic can be a little harsh because of its exfoliating properties; however it's still the number one choice for treating acne and blackheads.

Retinoids are an ingredient similar to Vitamin A. These have been found in numerous studies to promote cell turnover, so they're commonly used to treat acne. Retinoids have been known to deliver results in as little as a week, while some people experience no results at all since everyone's skin is so different.
Salicylic acid and retinol can be used independently, but they both have benefits when paired together. Salicylic acid has been shown to increase the effectiveness of retinoids by increasing their penetration into the skin. It may take a little longer to see results, but it works well for those more sensitive.

When using salicylic acid and retinol together, you should use the salicylic acid every second night and your retinol every third night, or you can alternate days and use them together. However, you shouldn't use the acid and retinol on the same day because it's unnecessary, and you won't see any benefits.

Although combining the two ingredients is effective, you still need to ensure that you're using a very gentle cleanser to prevent over-drying your skin. It's also important to make sure you're protecting your skin with sunscreen while using both of these ingredients. Finally, be generous with the SPF the next day after using either one of these products.

Once you see the results, you'll be happy that you added both ingredients into your beauty routine. If you're a fan of exfoliating and treating acne, I'd also recommend checking out the benefits of glycolic acid.