Can You Use BHA with Retinol?

Can You Use BHA with Retinol?
by Truly Beauty

Can you use BHA with retinol? Both of these active ingredients can help a number of skin concerns ranging from acne to fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. But can you use BHA and retinol together? Is it safe to combine them, better to use them separately, or should you avoid using them in the same routine altogether?

These skincare ingredients both deserve a place in your skincare routine. Especially if you’re dealing with breakouts, premature signs of aging, or skin texture issues. Ahead, we explore what they are, how they work, and whether using BHA with retinol is advisable.


What is BHA?

BHA is a beta hydroxy acid—a chemical exfoliant that removes the buildup of dead skin cells, impurities, and excess sebum. The most commonly used BHA is salicylic acid. It’s by far one of the best ingredients for tackling blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples thanks to its pore-clearing abilities. BHA unclogs pores and removes excess oil, preventing future blemishes from forming.

Anyone with oily skin or acne-prone skin will benefit from using BHA in their skincare routine. Best of all, because BHA is oil-soluble, it can penetrate deeply into the pores to really work its wonders.

You’ll find BHA in a wide range of skincare products, particularly in cleansers, toners, and spot treatments. Can you use BHA with retinol? We’re going to answer that question very soon.


What is Retinol?

Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is a multi-talented skincare ingredient that’s widely known for its anti-aging properties. By boosting collagen production, promoting skin cell turnover, and restoring skin’s elasticity, retinol can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and blemishes.

Anyone can benefit from using retinol since it helps with a number of skin concerns. That said, those with dry skin or sensitive skin should use retinoids with caution since they can cause skin irritation. Dermatologists recommend starting slow with retinol to avoid any unpleasant side effects such as dryness and flaking. Start with a low concentration and begin by using it twice a week. Once your skin adjusts, you can gradually increase the frequency of use.

You’ll find retinol in a wide range of skincare products, particularly in serums, masks, and face creams. Can you use BHA and retinol at the same time? Let’s find out!


Can You Use BHA With Retinol?

Yes, you can use BHA with retinol but you should avoid layering these two active ingredients to avoid experiencing irritation. BHAs and retinoids are all types of chemical exfoliants. While they’re great for exfoliating the skin and improving skin tone and texture, using them together can increase your risk of irritation and skin barrier damage. For that reason, it’s best to avoid using them at the same time.

However, you can use them both in your skincare routine. Most dermatologists recommend using BHA products in your morning routine and retinol products in your evening routine. For instance, start your day with toners or cleansers containing BHA and always follow up with SPF. Then in the evening, apply your retinol serums and creams.

It’s best to use retinol in the evening as it’s known to lose its potency when exposed to sunlight. By using it at night, you ensure you get the most out of this powerhouse ingredient. According to the derms, retinol works best at night.


Best BHA Products

We’ve rounded up the best products containing BHA that are perfect for anyone dealing with acne or large pores.


Truly’s 24K Gold Black Soap Impurity Cleanser

can you use bha with retinol | BA cleanser


A deeply invigorating daily cleanser that gently buffs away dead cells and fights bacteria for a clear, glowing complexion. This exfoliating cleanser penetrates deep into the pores to remove dirt and grime, helping to both treat and prevent breakouts. Powered by BHA, charcoal, and African black soap.


Truly’s Bodne Routine

can you use bha with retinol | bodne routine


A 4 step body acne set designed to cleanse, mist, moisturize and spot treat your way to a blemish free bod. You’ll get: an award-winning body cleanser, mist, lotion, and heart-shaped acne patches formulated with BHA, AHA, niacinamide, and hydrocolloid.


Best Retinol Products

Here are some of our favorite products containing retinol that’ll help reveal your smoothest, freshest, most youthful looking skin.


Truly’s Vegan Collagen Booster Set

can you use bha with retinol | vegan collagen set


Meet the greatest anti-aging routine of all time! This set features five face + body formulas developed with retinol, vitamin C, and plant collagen booster to increase collagen, restore elasticity, and reveal a supple, radiant complexion. It’s hydrating, anti-aging, and brightening all at the same time.


Truly’s Dulce De Leches Routine

can you use bha with retinol | dulce de leches routine


The most delicious routine ever. Truly’s Dulce De Leches Routine comes with a body polish, moisturizer, and serum infused with cocoa butter, retinol, and hyaluronic acid to intensely hydrate, plump, and smooth skin all over. With a delectable just-baked, warm caramel fragrance to serve your curves the lushest full body skincare experience.


Truly’s For Your Boobs Routine

can you use bha with retinol | for your boobs routine


Tighten up your twins with this retinol-powered duo. It features a boob polish + serum both clinically proven to improve skin tone, texture, and firmness. Each formula is packed full of antioxidants and elasticity-replenishing retinol to give your breasts a firmer, more defined appearance. With a delicious blackberry scent.


Do You Use BHA or Retinol First?

It’s best to use BHA first—in your morning routine—and retinol in your evening routine. BHA will help remove the buildup of dead skin cells and impurities, allowing retinol to absorb better when you use it in the evening. Plus, retinol loses potency when exposed to sunlight so it doesn’t perform as well when used in the morning or daytime. Plus, it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.


How to Use BHA and Retinol Together

Can you use BHA with retinol? Using beta-hydroxy acids and retinol together can be effective for addressing various skin concerns, including acne, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. However, it’s important to approach this combination with caution, as both ingredients can be potent and may cause irritation if not used correctly. Here are some guidelines for using BHA and retinol together.

1: Start Slowly. Introduce one product at a time to allow your skin to get used to each ingredient. Begin with a lower concentration of both BHA and retinol, especially if you have sensitive skin.

2: Alternate Nights. Initially, use BHA on one night and retinol on another. This helps reduce the risk of irritation and gives your skin time to adjust to each ingredient.

3: Use BHA in the Morning, Retinol at Night. BHAs, like salicylic acid, are often recommended for morning use as they can help control excess oil and have anti-inflammatory properties. Retinol is typically applied at night because it can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.

4: Use Sunscreen Daily. Both BHA and retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher during the day, even on cloudy days.

5: Moisturize. Both BHA and retinol can be drying, so it’s important to use a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.


Can you use BHA with retinol? You can indeed as long as you do it properly. Remember that everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Adjust the frequency and concentration of products based on how your skin responds, and be patient—it may take some time to see significant results. If you’re uncertain about specific product combinations or have underlying skin conditions, consult your dermatologist.


Photo by Radiance Beauva, Pexels



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