Glycolic Acid or Retinol, Which Ingredient Should You Be Using?

What are benefits of Glycolic Acid and Retinol? How and when to use them?

It seems that almost every skincare product on the high-street is filled with a long list of ingredients, and a majority of us cannot distinguish one ingredient from the other.

Even more so, with most of us having to wear restrictive face coverings throughout our daily lives, it is important that we take good care of our skin during these difficult times.

When it comes to glycolic acid and retinol, many skincare brands sing of their extraordinary praises, without actually going into depth about the specific properties of these substances.

This article will help to explain the merits of both glycolic acid and retinol and offer ways to incorporate them into your skincare routine.

The difference between glycolic acid and Vitamin A

Glycolic acid is a type of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), a water-soluble acid usually found in sugary fruits. In this case, glycolic acid is formulated using sugar cane. This ingredient is packed with anti-ageing benefits as it helps to break down dead skin cells to aid in the skin’s renewal process.

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, helps to boost your skin’s collagen production, encouraging the skin to repair itself at a cellular level.  In combination, these two ingredients help to remove old skin cells and prepare the skin for cell reproduction.

As a result, glycolic acid loosens the barrier between dead skin cells and removes the top layer of the skin’s surface. Retinol molecules are so small that they are able to seep into the lower levels of the skin and communicate with collagen and elastin molecules, to help boost their production.

How is glycolic acid good for your skin?

As mentioned previously, glycolic acid is mainly used for reducing the visible signs of ageing and creating younger looking skin. This is because it allows more healthier cells to arise to the skin’s surface, creating a brighter and more youthful appearance.

By increasing cell turnover, glycolic acid helps to unclog the dead skin within your pores, which helps to minimise their appearance and give you a smooth and flawless surface.

Moreover, glycolic acid helps to prevent dryness and dullness, helping your skin to appear more rejuvenated.

How to add acids and retinol to your daily skin care routine

How to get the most out of Vitamin A

We are so lucky that due to advances in medicine and other forms of scientific research, we are able to know if we are deficient in a particular vitamin and buy a supplement from our local supermarket.

There is an abundance of Vitamin A supplements across the market, all retailing at an affordable price. So, if you want to improve your skin from the inside out, try adding a supplement to your daily routine.

Moreover, Vitamin A can be found in a wide selection of food, such as eggs, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables and leafy greens. It should be mentioned that a healthy and balanced diet also helps to improve the quality of our skin, so do not feel the need to only each foods rich in Vitamin A.

Am I too young for glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid can be incorporated into your skincare routine in your 20s. This is because it is can be used as a preventative measure for anti-ageing, as it helps to renew your skin cells as they begin to age over time.

That being said, many people in their 40s or 50s use glycolic acid as it helps to shrinks the size of your pores and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Overall, glycolic acid should be added early on into your skincare routine, but you can still see the benefits if you decide to use the product later on in life.


Alternatives for Glycolic Acid

Although glycolic acid is usually praised for its benefits to the skin, not is every skin type is the same. Thus, some may find it too irritating, especially if they have sensitive skin. Luckily, there are many alternatives to glycolic acid that still produce the same benefits.

Firstly, you could try salicylic acid. This ingredient is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), which unlike an AHA, is an oil-soluble acid. This means that salicylic acid can penetrate deeper into the skin to help exfoliate and keep pores clear. Moreover, due to its ability to unclog oils from the skin, salicylic acid is a useful treatment for acne sufferers.

Lactic acid is also an example of an AHA. This product is extremely advantageous because of its anti-ageing properties, due to its collagen renewal abilities, giving you more youthful skin.

Adding on to this, lactic acid can be used to moisturise the skin, as well as help to reduce the appearance of sun damage.

Finally, kojic acid is commonly used in the manufacture of sake, otherwise known as Japanese rice wine. But don’t let that put you off, kojic acid helps to lighten visible sun damage, creating brighter and more vibrant skin tones.


Vitamin A and retinol: Is it all the same?

Although it seems that Vitamin A and retinol can be used interchangeably, there are some slight nuances in their definitions.

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, a nutrient which is commonly found in food. This substance helps to smooth out wrinkles and create brighter complexion, allowing you to have a more attractive complexion.

Retinaldehyde is a pre-cursor to retinoic acid and is usually more potent than retinol. However, retinaldehyde and retinol have similar benefits, as they both help to promote cell turnover and slow the formation of wrinkles.

Bakuchiol is an antioxidant made from the seeds and leaves of the Babchi plant. This ingredient is often described as a natural alternative to retinol as they have very similar benefits. Although, unlike retinol, bakuchiol can be worn as part of both your morning and evening skincare routine.


How to add acids and retinol to your daily skincare routine

When using acids such as salicylic acid or lactic acid, you must incorporate them as part of your morning skincare routine. This is because these products help to unclog dead skin that has formed in the pores overnight.

It is also advised that you incorporate acids gradually into your routine, using them 1-2 times a week to begin with, as this allows your skin to become more familiar with the products over time.

Some acids can also cause some level of irritation; thus, it is advised that you use a moisturiser when also using these products.

In terms of retinol, it is advised that you use it during your evening skincare routine.  This is because retinol removes the surface layer of your skin, making you more vulnerable to sun damage.

Like acids, it is recommended that you introduce retinol gradually and use a moisturiser alongside it.

glycolic acid and vitamin A

Power up your skincare routine with facial treatments

If you are looking to offer a sense of luxury into your skincare routine, why not try one of Dermoi’s facial treatments?

A glycolic acid facial peel offers a higher percentage of glycolic acid; thus, it should be used weekly to prevent damage to the skin. A benefit to these facial peels is that they help to exfoliate the skin, allowing other products to better penetrate the skin’s surface. Dermoi currently offers two glycolic facial peels.

The first being iS Clinical’s ‘Glow/Anti-Ageing Peel’, available for £115.00. This treatment requires no downtime and instantly improves the tone, texture and appearance of the skin. It also helps to create glowing skin with reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Glycolic Acid or Retinol, Which Ingredient Should You Be Using

Secondly, PCA Skin’s ‘Bespoke Signature Peel’ is available for £135.00. This peel uses a combination of enzyme treatments, serums and massage techniques to help boost collagen production and improve the skin’s elasticity. As a result, you will achieve firmer and more rejuvenated skin.

glycolic acid facial peel offers a higher percentage of glycolic acid

Moreover, Vitamin A infusions are a great wat to prevent the visible signs of ageing.  These infusions help to revitalise the skin, helping it to appear younger and full of life.

Currently, Dermoi offers Osmosis’ ‘Bespoke Signature Treatment’ for £95.00, which replenishes your skin with active vitamin powders and 2% concentrated Vitamin A products. Therefore, this treatment will give you a hefty boost of Vitamin A, helping your skin to appear younger and healthier.

Overall, both glycolic acid and retinol produce marvellous anti-ageing benefits and are very simple to add to both your morning and evening skincare routine. Moreover, there are also a variety of alternatives, that offer very similar beneficial effects.

If you are looking to prevent signs of ageing in your skin, try to incorporate glycolic acid or retinol into your skin care, or even delve into a bit of luxury and try one of Dermoi’s many facial treatments.

Glycolic acid and retinol

Author: Melody Day