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Can You Use Salicylic Acid With Retinol?

Women with acne

Is your skin struggling to stay clear? Maybe you have looked into Salicylic Acid or Retinol. Here’s a bit of information on both:

Salicylic Acid is a Beta-Hydroxy Acid. It can help reveal clearer, younger-looking skin and is well-known for helping to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of acne by exfoliating the skin.

Retinol is known to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol also encourages a more even-looking skin tone.

Other advantages include reduced appearance of age spots and the look of a smoother complexion.


What Should I Know About Salicylic Acid?

Mild acne responds well to Salicylic Acid (blackheads and whiteheads). It may also aid in the prevention of subsequent outbreaks.

Although there is no cure for acne, Salicylic Acid has been shown to help many people clear up their breakouts.

Salicylic Acid is generally regarded as harmless, but it might cause skin irritation when used for the first time. It may also remove too much oil, leaving your skin dry and irritated. It’s wise to try Salicylic Acid in moderation, especially at the beginning.

Consult a doctor or dermatologist to determine whether Salicylic Acid is right for your skin and your current health situation.


What Is Retinol and How Does It Work?

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative, and unlike many other skin products, it does not remove dead skin cells. Instead, the molecules that make up Retinol penetrate the skin layers and get to work — these molecules go through the top layer of skin, called the epidermis, and into the dermis.

Retinol, one of the purest forms of Vitamin A, has varying degrees of effectiveness. Retinol is an over-the-counter form of Retinoic Acid that requires the activation of enzymes before it can be used, which reduces its efficacy.

Retinol boosts skin cell turnover and collagen stimulation, which unclogs pores and improves the look of hyperpigmentation once it reaches the skin. Retinol is a relatively unstable chemical that can be inactivated by variables like incorrect formulation or exposure to sunlight, which is why it's usually only used at night.


Consistency Is Key

When you first begin using skincare products that contain Retinol, it’s best to apply every other day or even every third day to see how your skin tolerates it. Once your skin becomes acclimated, you can increase to using it every day to get the greatest results. It might take a few weeks before you see any noticeable changes. Consistency is one of the best ways to help your skin with skincare products.

It can be easy to throw in the towel when a product or ingredient is not working, but it is important to try the product for a while to give it the chance to help your skin. Of course, if the product or ingredient is irritating your skin, take a step back or try a different product.


Should I Mix Salicylic Acid With Retinol?

It's very normal to have acne-prone aged skin. You've undoubtedly been informed that you should use a retinoid to decrease the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Salicylic Acid can also be used to keep pores clean and minimize the appearance of acne.

Because Salicylic Acid can dry out the skin on its own, it is risky to use it mixed with Retinol. This does not mean that you cannot use them together, but we recommend being cautious about doing so.

Overdrying poses a threat since it can irritate the skin and exacerbate the problem. Skin will increase oil production to compensate for being too dry, which may lead to a vicious cycle of dryness and acne.

It can also help to try Retinol or Salicylic Acid on small areas of your skin to see if it causes overdrying or any type of allergic reaction. This could help determine which product is better suited for your skin’s overall health.

Overall, you can use the two together — but we highly recommend using them in different products and not using them at the same time. This can make skincare complicated, but it is much better to take the time to try and learn what will be the least harmful to your skin.


What Are Some Good Ingredients for Acne-Prone Skin?

How can you determine which ingredients are right for your skin? Retinol, Niacinamide and Sulfur are excellent for all skin types, as they can work to exfoliate the skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes.

Oilier and less sensitive skin types may benefit from Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are excellent for all acne-prone skin types, even drier skin.

It’s all about learning more about your skin and picking the best ingredients to aid in protecting and caring for it. We understand that acne and dark spots can be stressful, but we want to make sure to help you pick the right products. There is so much trending right now in the skincare world, but some products are better than others. We are here to help you every step of the way! Amazing Products at Urban Skin Rx ® Urban Skin Rx® makes it easy to take steps towards clearer, brighter more even-toned skin.

Here are a few products that can be used to combat acne and help with clear skin:

  • Clear Complexion Acne Serum + Spot Treatment - this product helps to reduce and prevent breakouts, improve the look of blemishes and aging skin and smooth and soothe the face. This serum can also be used with our Clean Skin Cleansing Bar! Our best-selling daily cleanser, mask and exfoliator for oily skin, the Clear Skin Cleansing Bar helps with breakouts and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Another wonderful product for acne and clear skin is our Clear & Even Tone Clarifying Glycolic Pads. With 7.5% Glycolic Acid, these pads eliminate excess oil and enhance the appearance of blemishes and post-acne dark spots.


Protecting Your Skin

You may want to do whatever it takes to keep your skin clear and keep acne at bay, but the most important thing is to protect your skin's barrier. It can be desirable to combine ingredients to obtain spotless skin but make sure you are being cautious about mixing strong ingredients.

Any time you are using a product to clear your skin, you must make sure that you are also taking good care of your skin rather than just stripping your skin of oils and nutrients that it needs. Read more to learn about how we can help you find the most ideal products for your skin!


How Can I Find the Right Products?

If you’re in between ingredients and trying to decide which products would be best for you, take our skin quiz! Using the right products for your skin type and issues will give you the greatest and quickest results. Answer this quick questionnaire to get personalized skincare advice from our licensed aestheticians!

We will determine whether your skin is oily or dry, sensitive or prone to breakouts and learn what you are trying to target in your skincare. We also care about your budget and what you are willing to spend on skincare.

Once we select your skincare items, you can pick which ones you would prefer. It’s all completely up to you! We will also provide information on when to apply the different products.

If you’d like to learn more about your skin and different skincare products and ingredients, browse through our blog with expert advice.

At Urban Skin Rx®, we make products that are gentle enough to help clear your skin, but powerful enough to target the issues that you are trying to tackle. We are all about inclusive clinical skincare. We understand skin concerns because we have been there too — and we know that the journey to clear skin is not always easy.

We care about your skin and want to find the best products for you. It’s our goal to acknowledge, represent and advocate for clinical skincare that is accessible to people of all skin tones, with the ultimate objective of making the world a place where we can all feel confident and empowered in our skin.


In Conclusion

Salicylic Acid is a Beta-Hydroxy Acid that can be used to achieve younger-looking skin thanks to its abilities to unclog pores and exfoliate the skin. Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative known to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and it may also promote a more even-looking skin tone.

Both of these skincare ingredients are powerful and effective, and overall, you can use the two together — but we highly recommend using them in different products and not using them at the same time. Salicylic Acid can lead to dryness for some people, and, when combined with Retinol, these effects may be exacerbated. It is best to try a patch test before combining these ingredients, and consult your dermatologist with any questions or concerns!

By: Ivey Rogers Aesthetician Educator & Community
Engagement Manager