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Hyaluronic acid and tretinoin together

Can I use hyaluronic acid and tretinoin together? Is it safe?

Skincare isn't rocket science, but sometimes it feels like it! Ever wondered about mixing hyaluronic acid and tretinoin? Together, let's decode if these superstars play well together and, if they do, how to nab the best (and safest) results. Onward to radiant skin!

What are hyaluronic acid and tretinoin?

Alright, before we dive into the deep end of combining ingredients, let's get to know our two main players a bit better. Here's a quick and easy breakdown:

Hyaluronic Acid (HA):

  • What is it? A sugar molecule that our bodies naturally produce. Found in our skin, eyes, and connective tissues, its main job is to retain water to keep our tissues well lubricated.
  • Why do we love it in skincare? HA is a hydration hero. By drawing moisture from the environment and locking it into the skin, it ensures a fresh, dewy complexion.


  • What is it? A potent derivative of vitamin A. It's a powerhouse in dermatology, often prescribed to treat various skin conditions.
  • Why do we love it in skincare? Tretinoin boosts the production of collagen, reducing fine lines and acne. Works by resurfacing the skin and unclogging pores to treat and prevent breakouts. Basically, it's your skin's friend for anti-aging and clarity.

To sum it up: Hyaluronic acid is all about hydration, hydration, hydration! Meanwhile, tretinoin is your go-to for clear, youthful skin. But can these two get along in the same skincare routine? Stick around, and we'll dissect this duo in detail.

Their effects on your skin

Can you use tretinoin with hyaluronic acid together?

Let's address the million-dollar question: can I use hyaluronic acid with tretinoin together in my skincare routine? To answer this, we need to break down the advantages and disadvantages of this dynamic duo.

Advantages of using together

  • Hydration meets restoration: imagine a parched garden where you want to grow beautiful flowers. Hyaluronic acid is like a heavy rain, quenching the thirst of the dry soil (your skin), making it moist and ready. Now, tretinoin is the gardener who plants and nurtures those flowers (your skin cells), ensuring they grow beautifully. By using both, you're essentially prepping your skin with hydration and then following up with an active ingredient that works on improving its texture and appearance.
  • Fighting irritation: tretinoin, as powerful as it is, can sometimes be a tad too aggressive, causing dryness and irritation for some. Here's where hyaluronic acid plays the superhero. By offering intense hydration, it can help counteract some of the drying effects of tretinoin, making the experience smoother for your skin.
  • Boosted skin benefits: with tretinoin promoting cell turnover, your fresh new cells benefit even more from the hydration hyaluronic acid offers. It's like giving a fresh coat of paint (new cells) a beautiful, glossy finish (hydration).


Most skin experts and dermatologists see no significant issue in pairing these two power players: hyaluronic acid with tretinoin. However, as with many skincare endeavors, there are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Individual features: what works wonders for one might not for another. Every skin type is unique, and its response to treatments can vary. Always keep your skin's specific needs and characteristics in mind.
  • Consultation with a specialist: it cannot be stressed enough that while the combination looks promising, tretinoin is a powerhouse. It's essential not to play the DIY dermatologist with it. Always consult with a professional before introducing tretinoin into your routine. They can provide guidance tailored to your skin's unique story.

Pairing tretinoin's formidable abilities with hyaluronic acid's hydration prowess seems promising, and many skincare experts give it a nod. Still, as in all skincare adventures, remember to tread with care, awareness, and professional guidance. Your skin will thank you for it!

How can hyaluronic acid with tretinoin be used?

Alright, so you're sold on trying out this dynamic duo but confused about who gets the first dance on your face — hyaluronic acid serum before or after tretinoin? Let's sort it out!

Hyaluronic acid first


The logic is simple: you hydrate your skin first so that when you apply tretinoin, it's not starting its work on a dry canvas. Imagine you're painting; it's easier to spread the paint on a canvas that's slightly damp, right?

How to use:

  • Cleanse your face and pat it dry.
  • Apply a layer of hyaluronic acid serum or moisturizer.
  • Let it sink in for a few minutes (grab a coffee or take a cute selfie).
  • Now apply tretinoin, usually a pea-sized amount will do.

The result:

You get to leverage tretinoin's potent effects while reducing the chances of irritation and dryness, thanks to the hydrating foundation laid by hyaluronic acid.

Tretinoin first


Some argue that tretinoin should hit your skin first for maximum impact, like jumping straight into a workout before the warm-up.

How to use:

  • Wash and dry your face.
  • Apply a small amount of tretinoin.
  • Wait for about 20-30 minutes (watch an episode of your favorite series).
  • Follow up with hyaluronic acid to seal in the moisture.

The result:

You’re getting the full strength of tretinoin directly on your skin, followed by the soothing, hydrating effects of hyaluronic acid. This approach is like doing the heavy lifting first and then cooling down.

Be careful —  ask your dermatologist first.

The right way to mix hyaluronic acid with tretinoin

So you're pumped to pair these skincare rockstars, but you're wondering about the nitty-gritty of blending them without causing a skin rebellion. You're in luck! Let's dive into the best practices for mixing hyaluronic acid and tretinoin like a pro.

Sequencing matters

Proportions are key

  • Hyaluronic acid. Less is more! A few drops should suffice to cover your whole face. Consider it your hydrating sip of water before the tretinoin marathon.
  • Tretinoin. A pea-sized amount is usually enough. Seriously, no need to slather it on; it won't make it work faster.

Timing, timing, timing

The timing between applying each product is a game-changer.

  • Hyaluronic acid first. If you start with hyaluronic acid, give it at least 3-5 minutes to fully absorb. This is your cue to scroll through Instagram or grab a snack.
  • Tretinoin first. After applying tretinoin, wait about 20-30 minutes before introducing hyaluronic acid. This pause lets tretinoin work its magic uninterrupted. Maybe catch up on a quick TV episode in the meantime?

Consult the pros

Never underestimate the power of a dermatologist's advice, especially when playing with active ingredients like tretinoin. They can guide you through the process, help you choose the right concentration, and even suggest the best brands to go for.

Patch test alert

Before going all in, do a patch test with each product separately, and then with both together (hyaluronic acid with tretinoin) on a small area of your skin. Wait for 24-48 hours to see if any irritation occurs. It's like dating; you gotta know if you're compatible!


Alright, we've been on quite a skincare journey, haven't we? Now you know that hyaluronic acid and tretinoin are a power couple that can make your skin pop when used correctly. Hyaluronic acid brings the moisture, and tretinoin fights off everything from acne to wrinkles. Together, they can help you get that smooth, clear, and hydrated skin you've always dreamed of.

But remember, even power couples have their rules. Sequence matters, as does the amount you use and the timing between applications. Your skin is unique, so feel free to experiment a bit to find what works best for you. Just keep an eye out for any signs of irritation.

Most importantly, consult with a dermatologist, especially for the tretinoin part. This is not a DIY project where you can wing it; professional advice will go a long way. Do a patch test to ensure these superstars get along well with your skin type.

So go ahead and treat your skin to this fab duo, but always play it safe. Your skin is precious, and with the right approach, you'll be glowing in no time. Ready to level up your skincare game?

Frequently asked questions

Can I use hyaluronic acid in the morning and tretinoin at night?

Absolutely, this is a popular approach. Using hyaluronic acid in the morning can keep your skin hydrated throughout the day, and tretinoin at night works on repair.

How long after tretinoin can I apply hyaluronic acid?

Wait for about 20-30 minutes after applying tretinoin before you layer on hyaluronic acid. This allows the tretinoin to absorb and work effectively.

How to layer tretinoin and hyaluronic acid?

You can either apply hyaluronic acid first, wait a few minutes, and then apply tretinoin. Or, do the reverse: apply tretinoin, wait 20-30 minutes, and then apply hyaluronic acid.

Can you use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid with tretinoin?

It's generally not recommended to use vitamin C with tretinoin as it may cause irritation. But you can use hyaluronic acid with tretinoin for added hydration.

Do you use hyaluronic acid before or after tretinoin?

Either order can work, but most commonly, hyaluronic acid is applied first to hydrate the skin, and then tretinoin is applied to work on top of a hydrated base.

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Last updated on Sep 06, 2023

“What Changed” in this article? Everything. It's packed with the latest findings, the ripest data, and a fresh analysis you won't find anywhere else.

A subject-matter expert wrote the content, and reliable, official sources support it. Recent research has been incorporated to maintain relevancy and accuracy.

Key sources and research references: aocd and naomedical

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