The Best Ingredients To Pair With Retinol For Maximum Benefit

Retinol has been a staple ingredient in anti-aging treatments for decades. This incredibly effective skincare aid is a form of vitamin A that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brightens skin, and evens out skin tone. 

Through its exfoliation the skin, retinol increases your body's production of collagen, which is responsible for maintaining the skin's structure. As we age, our levels of collagen decrease, resulting in sagging and creasing, so retinol is one of the safest, least expensive, and most easily accessible remedies to this common issue. Retinol is an effective way to rebuild this supply, making your skin appear smoother, brighter, and more youthful. 

While long-term use of retinol can improve your complexion, it is a harsh chemical that can cause irritation. However, there are ingredients that you can use in combination with retinol to reduce these side effects, says Cleveland Clinic. In addition, other skincare ingredients can optimize the firming and brightening effects you seek when they are combined with retinol.

Best ingredients to reduce unwanted side effects

The exfoliating effects of retinol can lead to excessive dryness, which can create unwanted flaking and redness. However, the hydration hero hyaluronic acid can combat this dehydration. According to Healthline, hyaluronic acid is a chemical that the skin produces naturally. Because the compound is water-binding, it helps the skin to retain moisture. In addition, Healthline reports that hyaluronic acid can help to heal inflamed or injured skin, soothing any irritation that the retinol causes.

Marina Peredo, a board-certified dermatologist, tells Byrdie that to keep the retinol fully potent, it is important that you apply it first before slathering on your hyaluronic acid. If you don't, the reversed order may decrease the efficacy of the retinol. Peredo recommends you wait at least 30 minutes after applying the retinol before layering on the hyaluronic acid in order to let it seep deep into the skin.

Best ingredient to optimize anti-aging results

While retinol has received lots of attention, niacinamide is another ingredient that provides similar anti-aging results. Healthline explains that this common skincare ingredient is actually found naturally in the skin. It's a form of vitamin B that helps to repair DNA and fuel cellular activities. As a result, applying niacinamide to the skin can lead to reduced acne, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkling.

Combining niacinamide with retinol can compound these skin improvements, says WebMD. While other ingredients offer similar benefits to niacinamide, like skincare acids and benzoyl peroxide, dermatologist Dr. Rabach tells Real Simple that they are too intense to combine with retinol. However, per WebMD, niacinamide is a more gentle ingredient, making it a safe addition to your routine. Healthline also reports that it guards the skin's outer barrier. Because of this, niacinamide can help reduce the initial damage that retinol can cause to the skin.