So if you’re really wondering which ingredient is more important, you might be a little disappointed to know that it’s like comparing apples and oranges. “They are two very different molecules with different purposes,” Marcus says. “I think of hyaluronic acid as hydrating and retinol as collagen-stimulating. In my opinion, both are very important to daily skincare for most people. Everyone can benefit from hydration, and most people can benefit from the enhanced cell turnover and collagen stimulation brought about by retinol.”
Both hyaluronic acid and retinol are complementary to each other. “Taken together, these products work synergistically to improve fine lines and wrinkles and help the skin maintain a youthful appearance,” Imahiyerobo-Ip says. It’s important to note that pregnant people can use hyaluronic acid, but they should avoid retinol.
And while all the experts say you can benefit from using both because of their amazing skincare results, if you only wanted to prioritize one, think about your skin type. “If you have dry, irritated skin that is lacking in moisture, choosing a product with hyaluronic acid would be my recommendation,” Hartman says. “Anyone with acne-prone skin, or someone who is looking to even out tone and fine lines and wrinkles would benefit from using retinol.”
Now with all the information in mind, it’s time to browse some products—take a look below.