Alpha Hydroxy Acids Vs Retinol: Which Is Best?

Alpha Hydroxy Acids vs Retinol

When it comes to choosing between alpha hydroxy acids vs retinol, which is best for your skin? Reducing the effects of aging on your skin requires a combination of ingredients including broad spectrum sunscreens, exfoliants (like alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs), antioxidants, emollients, and cell communicating ingredients like retinol. Derived from Vitamin A, ingredients like retinol and prescription only retinoic acid, are widely recommended by skin care professionals for their ability to help reverse sun damage, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, boost collagen production and increase skin cell turnover. While many individuals cannot tolerate tretinoin because it is highly irritating to skin, retinol and retinaldehyde are over the counter alternatives that are effective and better tolerated.

Yet another skin beneficial ingredient are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which work to exfoliate and stimulate collagen production. So, which is best for your skin when it comes to alpha hydroxy acids vs retinol? The reality is that both ingredients are beneficial and work in different ways. Today, I’ll describe the advantages of using both ingredients, including how to incorporate them into your skin care regimen.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids Vs Retinol

Retinoids, including retinol and retinaldehyde (found in Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging), come from Vitamin A. Originally, they were used treat acne but when patients began reporting that retinoids also improved the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smoothed skin tone, and cleared away blocked pores, more research was conducted and it was discovered that they not only helped to minimize acne and breakouts but that they helped to improve the appearance of aging skin. Additionally, when topically applied, retinol has antioxidant properties, which helps to fight free radical damage.

AHAs, including glycolic acid (from sugar cane), mandelic acid (bitter almonds), lactic acid (milk) and malic acid (apples and pears), are used to exfoliate the skin, removing layers of dead cells, which can contribute to dry, dull skin. By helping to remove this dead skin layer, AHAs encourage new skin cells to rise to the surface, giving the skin a fresher, healthier, more vibrant look. Through regular use, they’ve been found to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Our favorite retinoid product is gentle but effective Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging Retinal serum. Its unique formula uses retinaldehyde, the direct precursor to retinoic acid (the form of vitamin A that the skin uses) plus, it contains an arsenal of active ingredients to help deliver photo-aging protection, reduce inflammation and brighten the skin. Retinaldehyde is more gentle than retinol, making it suitable for individuals who often cannot tolerate retinoids at all.

It’s important to note that topical application of retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids can make your skin more susceptible to damage from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays so it’s important to use a well formulated sun protecting agent like Anthelios sunscreens or Apothekari Shade SPF 30 whenever you’re treating your skin with either ingredient.

Your Daily Skin Care Regimen

Even though both retinol and AHAs have similar anti-aging effects on your skin, they work differently to deliver them. For example, retinol is not an exfoliant while AHAs are. On the other hand, retinol has antioxidant properties. Both ingredients can smooth skin tone and reduce wrinkles, but also provide unique benefits that the other lacks.

When it comes to answering the question – Alpha hydroxy acids vs retinol – the answer is that ideally, your skin care regimen should include both! Incorporate a retinol treatment each night after using a cleanser and swap in an AHA once or twice each week. And, if you can’t tolerate a retinol product, then consider using an AHA preparation in its place.