How to Use Retinol and Peptides Together

How to Use Retinol and Peptides Together

Some things are just plain great whether they’re on their own or paired with something else: peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga (OK, maybe we need to give that one up, but you get the idea). Unfortunately, it’s also true that just because two different things are great on their own, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re great together: oil and water, ice cream and spaghetti, Jen and Brad (we’re still not over that one, either). So when you use skincare ingredients together, how do you know if you’ve got a peanut butter and jelly or an oil and water situation?

For example, retinol and peptides. Both are highly effective ingredients that can be used together–the trick is knowing how! That’s why, in this article, we’ll discuss what retinol is and what peptides are, what the benefits of each are, and most importantly, how to use retinol and peptides together.


Main Takeaways: Retinol and peptides are extraordinarily effective ingredients–so effective, in fact, that it’s important to know the right way to use them together so they work the way they’re supposed to.

Good to Know: Although there is some overlap in terms of what retinol and peptides do, these ingredients work well together in part, because they accomplish such different tasks.

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What is Retinol?

It’s all but impossible to know anything about skincare without at least hearing about retinol. Technically, retinol is a type of retinoid. Retinoids are compounds that are derivatives of vitamin A. A powerful skincare ingredient, retinol is well-known not only for its effectiveness, but for its ability to work incredibly quickly which is why it’s so crucial to use it the right way.

Benefits of Retinol

When used correctly, retinol, also known as vitamin A, is a wonderfully effective ingredient. Here are just a few of the benefits of retinol:

    1. Retinol firms and smooths the skin - Retinol is known to stimulate collagen production, which means firmer, smoother skin. This leads to a reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
    2. Retinol helps reduce the appearance of dark spots - Because retinol increases cell turnover, it is quite effective at helping to fade the look of dark spots. Increased cell turnover means that the top layer of skin is replaced with newer cells; our natural cell turnover process slows with age.
    3. Retinol helps unclog pores - One major benefit of retinol is that it helps get dirt and oil out of your pores. If you have easily blocked pores (which often leads to breakouts), your skin will benefit from retinol use.
    4. Retinol evens out skin tone - Vitamin A is known for its ability to even skin tone, because it will renew the look of your skin by increased cell turnover.
    5. Retinol protects the skin’s barrier - Vitamin A contains antioxidant properties and thus, helps protect the skin from environmental stressors trying to harm it.

How to Use Retinol

As we said above, retinol is an incredibly powerful, effective ingredient. Because of that, it’s super important to know how to use it correctly. Here are a few tips about how to use retinol most effectively.

Always Use an SPF With Retinol

It’s a truly wonderful thing that retinol exposes new, healthy skin, but that new skin is also very delicate and more vulnerable to the sun’s harsh rays. For that reason, it’s imperative that you use a good SPF when you use retinol (although you should be using one anyway!).

Always Moisturize With Retinol

Because retinol is a particularly active ingredient that can cause dryness and irritation, it is very important to restore your skin with moisture and nourishment.

Alternate Its Application

As we’ve mentioned, retinol is no shrinking violet, and because it’s so powerful, it can be a bit much when used every day. Always follow the directions given to you by your dermatologist if it is a Rx strength retinol, or stick with the instructions on the label for anything over the counter. Typically, you should start by using a retinol product every other day or every few days, then gradually increase application as your skin adjusts.

Avoid Layering Retinol With Vitamin C, AHAs, BHAs and Benzoyl Peroxide

While you may be able to use these products while using retinol, it is best to avoid applying them at the same time, as it can cause irritation and sensitivity. Consult your dermatologist or skincare professional when using these categories of products together in your skincare routine.

What are Peptides?

Put simply, peptides are amino acids that make up a protein. Found naturally in the skin, they perform different tasks for the skin, depending on how they’re configured (which is why they’re often referred to as “building blocks.”) They act as tiny little messengers, signaling proteins in our skin that provide plumpness and strength to “make more, please!” Although they’re in the skin naturally, they become less effective as we age, which is why it’s important to restore them to the skin via skincare.

Benefits of Peptides

As we said above, peptides are highly effective ingredients. Here are just a few of the benefits of peptides:

  1. Peptides help firm and tighten your skin - It’s sad but true that as we age, our skin loses elasticity. Peptides can help firm and tighten our skin by helping to stimulate collagen production, making it look younger.
  2. Peptides help smooth fine lines and wrinkles - Because they can help smooth the skin by signaling it to pump up collagen production, the result is the reduction of signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
  3. Peptides help alleviate temporary redness - Known as an inflammatory agent, peptides are effective at calming redness and irritation in the skin.
  4. Peptides help build a stronger skin barrier - They protect your skin from harmful environmental stressors by strengthening your skin’s natural protective barrier. This is particularly beneficial for those with sensitized or inflammatory skin.

How To Add Peptides to Your Routine

Want to add peptides to your skincare routine? It’s as easy as including it in your moisturizer and eye cream! Crème de la Cream brightening moisturizer features a blend of peptides that work in tandem with botanical extracts to firm and plump your skin. Don’t forget to treat the delicate skin around your eyes with Eyes Eyes Baby anti-aging eye cream! The peptides in this formula help to minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Can You Use Retinol and Peptides Together?

As you may know, there’s been a lot of debate about whether you should use peptides and retinol together. This is largely due to the fact that both ingredients are so powerful but we have great news: the short answer to this question is yes, you can use retinol and peptides together! In fact, they compliment each other very well! Because retinol can cause irritation and dryness in the skin, peptide comes along and helps reduce that irritation and strengthens the skin. They both also have great anti-aging properties, so you would do well by including both in your skincare routine.

How To Use Retinol and Peptides Together

Always Use an SPF

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, anytime you use retinol, you’ll want to use a good SPF. It is important to protect your rejuvenated skin from the same harmful UV rays that likely caused the damage you are trying to get rid of in the first place!

Alternate Their Use

It’s not a bad idea to use your retinol in the evening (when you won’t be exposing your skin to the sun), and peptides in the morning (to replenish the skin’s natural protective barrier when you face the elements).

Apply Retinol First

The rule of thumb is to use the stronger ingredients first, so apply retinol before applying peptides.

We hope this article will clarify how best to use retinol and peptides together. We may not be able to reunite Brad and Jen, but we can make sure your skin looks its absolute best!