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Acide hyaluronique ou rétinol : comment choisir ?

1 February 2024

Hyaluronic acid or retinol: how to choose?

Hyaluronic acid or retinol: how to choose?

In the jungle of anti-aging active ingredients, two stand out for their media presence, and on social networks, they are on everyone's lips: hyaluronic acid and retinol. These two active ingredients, essential for a well-constructed skin care routine, have attested to their effectiveness, proven by scientific studies.

Although both hyaluronic acid and retinol are considered to have anti-aging properties, they have differences, benefits and unique characteristics. So it can be difficult to distinguish between them and choose which one is best for your skin. Hyaluronic acid vs retinol: how to choose?

The benefits of hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid, naturally present in the dermis (layers of the skin between the epidermis and hypodermis) is a strong anti-wrinkle and anti-aging agent.

It behaves like a sponge that soaks up water, thus contributing to good hydration of the skin and giving it a smooth and youthful appearance. It can bind up to 1000 times its own weight in water, which is why sometimes its concentration is not extremely high, but it can still be effective.

It is present in different cosmetics, creams, serums, masks, skin boosters and fillers, in several forms and at all prices.

HA is a natural active ingredient with multiple virtues:

  • Moisturizing: HA is very highly hygroscopic, which gives it a very strong power of attraction and retention of water molecules (H2O). HA thus ensures intense hydration of the skin, even in small quantities.
  • Anti-aging: HA plumps the skin, effectively filling in wrinkles and dark circles.
  • Non-allergenic: thanks to its natural origin in the human body, it does not irritate the skin, is very well tolerated and non-photosensitizing.

For what indications?

  • Dry skin, tightness, redness: cold and/or dry weather, prolonged exposure to the sun, frequent baths, very hard water, aggressive soap, atopic dermatitis can reduce the hydrolipidic film and dry out the skin.
  • Fine lines and wrinkle prevention: hyaluronic acid creates a protective barrier against external aggressions and prevents dehydration. Hyaluronic acid hydrates the upper layers of the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles caused by dehydration and facial expressions
  • Dull skin: Dehydration makes it difficult for the skin to defend itself against oxidative stress, which can dull the complexion. Hyaluronic acid strengthens the skin barrier, which helps the skin defend itself against the damaging effects of UV rays, pollution and particles that can dull its radiance.

The benefits of retinol

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A, for its part, it is found in cutaneous form, mainly in serum or cream.

This vitamin significantly helps the production and stimulation of collagen, a substance responsible for the firmness and elasticity of the skin. But, it also plays a central role in the growth and maintenance of the integrity of our cells since it is a regulator of gene expression.

For what indications?

  • Cellular renewal: Retinol protects the skin surface, reduces oxidation and against free radicals.
  • Wrinkle reduction: Retinol promotes the production of collagen, an essential protein for maintaining skin firmness. By stimulating collagen production, retinol helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, its antioxidant properties prevent skin degradation due to free radicals. (pollution, UV rays, stress, cigarettes, etc.)
  • Improving skin texture and preventing acne: It can help smooth skin texture, reducing irregularities, regulating sebum production, promoting cell renewal. In addition, Retinol exerts a keratolytic action which facilitates the elimination of dead cells on the surface of the skin thanks to its stimulating effect on cell renewal. This helps unclog pores, refine skin texture and prevent the formation of blackheads and comedones. 
  • Fading Dark Spots: Retinol is also known for its brightening properties, which can help reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation and fade the marks left by skin blemishes. Its antioxidant action reduces the appearance of brown spots and its ability to regulate melanocytes, reduces the intensity of pigment spots on the surface of the skin. It is even possible to reduce dark circles under the eyes using a dedicated skincare product.

What disadvantages?

  • Retinol should not be used every day; reactions such as redness, itching, mild warmth, and peeling may occur in some people, especially those with sensitive skin, following use of the products. containing retinol. 
  • Retinol is photosensitizing, meaning it makes skin more sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun. Therefore, it is imperative to consistently apply sun protection when using products containing retinol. This helps protect the skin from UV damage and minimizes the risk of unwanted skin reactions. In addition, its application is recommended at night.

Hyaluronic acid vs retinol

In conclusion, the dilemma between using hyaluronic acid and retinol for skin care basically depends on your individual concerns and specific skin health goals. Retinol, considered a powerful and well-established active ingredient, is widely touted for its anti-aging properties. By stimulating cell renewal and increasing collagen production, it effectively addresses visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles and pigmentation spots. Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid, a molecule naturally present in the body, is renowned for its incredible ability to retain moisture. This quality makes it an exceptional moisturizer, helping to maintain the skin's elasticity and firmness, while restoring its natural radiance.

When used together, retinol and hyaluronic acid provide a comprehensive approach to skin care, combining the benefits of anti-aging and hydration. However, it should be noted that introducing retinol into your skin care routine should be gradual to avoid irritation, and rigorous sun protection is essential due to its photosensitivity. By understanding the unique benefits of each ingredient and tailoring your routine accordingly, you can maximize the benefits for your skin and maintain a radiant, healthy appearance long term.

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