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Resveratrol vs. Retinol: Can You Use Both In Your Skincare Routine?

Retinol with resveratrol is one of the best skincare combos.

How satisfying to write about two of my all-time favorite skincare actives: resveratrol and retinol. These two ingredients have been cornerstones of my routine for as long as I can remember, and I’m so thrilled to share my knowledge with you all. And if you’re wondering whether you can use retinol and resveratrol together, let me tell you now that you can, and your skin will love you for it. Read on because you’re about to find out all the dos and don’ts of mixing retinol with resveratrol.

Resveratrol vs. retinol

The often-heard claim that resveratrol is the new retinol holds some truth. That’s because they both work to maintain your skin’s youthfulness. However, while retinol and resveratrol share some common ground in anti-aging effects, there are some differences between them.

Resveratrol is a natural antioxidant. It protects your skin from free radicals. These are unstable molecules that can damage skin cells and make you age faster. Plus, resveratrol is gentle and soothing and works well on sensitive skin. It doesn’t cause irritation like some other anti-aging ingredients do.

Retinol, on the other hand, is a derivative of vitamin A and is well-researched for its ability to promote skin renewal (the production of new skin cells). This process reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin texture. However, retinol can be irritating to sensitive skin. This is why it’s often recommended to start with lower concentrations.

In other words: resveratrol protects against new fine lines and wrinkles, while retinol corrects existing signs of aging. Now, there is something that resveratrol and retinol have in common: Both make your skin produce more collagen. This is the protein that gives your skin elasticity and firmness. So when you put resveratrol and retinol together in your skincare routine, you’re getting the best of both worlds: protection and correction.

It’s also worth noting that resveratrol, unlike retinol, does not cause sun sensitivity. This makes resveratrol a preferable choice for daytime use or for those who have a higher risk of sun exposure. On the other hand, retinol is recommended for nighttime use due to its sun-sensitizing effects.

Retinol Resveratrol
Natural No Yes
Antioxidant Yes Yes
Anti-Aging Yes Yes
Brightening Yes Yes
Sun Sensitivity Increases Does Not Increase
Collagen Production Yes Yes
Use Time Nighttime Anytime
Acne Treatment Yes No
Skin Peeling Yes No
Skin Hydration No Yes
Skin Soothing No Yes

Can you use resveratrol with retinol?

There is no problem with using resveratrol with retinol as part of your skincare routine. In fact, this combination provides more intense anti-aging and brightening effects while minimizing irritation.

Using resveratrol with retinol increases the antioxidant protection your skin receives and also reduces the risk of irritation associated with retinol use. This is because resveratrol has soothing effects that aid in minimizing the redness and peeling after retinol. This is good for those with easily reactive skin. David McDaniel, a dermatologist in Virginia Beach who specializes in antioxidants and anti-aging medicine, told Vogue, “We can combine fairly potent retinoids with these antioxidants (resveratrol) for enhanced anti-aging benefits, and also avoid most of the irritation of vitamin A creams.”

Moreover, both resveratrol and retinol stimulate collagen production. So if you’re worried about sagging skin and wrinkles, you have even more reason to add this duo to your routine. The same goes if you’re worried about uneven skin tone. Both resveratrol and retinol interact with the enzyme that causes dark patches. Put them together, and you’ve got a more effective treatment to brighten your skin and reduce hyperpigmentation.

How to use retinol with resveratrol

As the skincare loyal that you are, you know that during the day, the skin needs antioxidants to fight against sun damage and pollution, and at night, it needs ingredients that promote cell regeneration. So it makes total sense to use resveratrol in your AM routine and leave retinol for the night. However, resveratrol isn’t the best ingredient to use during the day as it can be deactivated by sunlight—you can still do it, but it won’t be as effective.

It’s best to use resveratrol and retinol in your nighttime skincare routine. Cleanse, tone, apply retinol serum, and finish with a resveratrol-rich moisturizer. Or you can use a resveratrol serum and then a retinol cream. Another way is to use a product that blends both ingredients together like StriVectin Advanced Retinol Nightly Renewal Moisturizer.

Resveratrol before or after retinol?

Which one goes first is more about the texture and formula of the product than just the active ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to go from the lightest to the heaviest product. If your resveratrol product is lighter, like a serum, it should go before retinol. If your resveratrol product is heavier or cream-based, you should use it after retinol. However, if both products have similar consistencies, apply resveratrol first for its soothing properties, which can counteract irritation and redness caused by retinol.

The verdict

Everyone can use resveratrol with retinol. Although you can use resveratrol in the morning and retinol in the evening, we recommend using both at night, before bedtime. Start with mild products and gradually move to stronger ones as your skin adapts to this combination. To avoid adverse reactions, do a patch test before applying both ingredients on your face. P.S.: Check out our skincare dictionary to learn more about skincare ingredients and how to mix them to max out your beauty routine.

Who wrote this?
Picture of Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder of Women's Concepts and a certified skincare consultant. She has over five years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and over a decade as an acne sufferer. With a background in dermatological research, Ana brings a wealth of expertise to a diverse range of topics, from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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