Can You Use Glycolic Acid with Retinol? Your Questions Answered

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Both glycolic acid and retinol are potent skincare multitasking agents that offer lots of benefits in a single package. This begs the question: Are these ingredients too powerful to be used together? In this guide, we’re taking a look at why you might want to include both glycolic acid face peels and retinol in your skincare routine, and whether or not you can use both of these ingredients together.

What Is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid derived from sugar cane. Glycolic acid is a chemical face exfoliator that helps to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells. Glycolic acid offers many benefits, including more even skin tone and texture, better oil control, reduced acne breakouts and faster skin cell turnover.

Glycolic acid comes in many different forms and concentrations — from daily face washes to monthly face peels to glycolic acid body lotions. Many people like to use glycolic acid in a leave-on treatment that they apply one to three times weekly, depending on how often their skin needs it.

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What Is Retinol?

Retinols are a subcategory of retinoids, which are all derived from vitamin A. Retinols are not as potent and are generally available over the counter, while retinoids are stronger and generally only available through a prescription from a dermatologist. Retinoids promote collagen growth, which helps to prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and also to lighten dark spots and control acne.

Retinols are typically sold in a serum form, but you may find the ingredient incorporated into other products, such as body lotions, as well. Retinols can be sensitizing and drying to the skin, so you should start by applying it once per week underneath moisturizer and then work up to increasing the frequency to every other day.

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Can You Use Glycolic Acid with Retinol?

Once upon a time, you might have been cautioned against using retinol and glycolic acid together in your 3-step skincare routine. Now, research has shown that alternating glycolic acid and retinol can be more beneficial than using one or the other exclusively. That’s because retinol speeds up skin cell turnover, while glycolic acid takes care of the extra dead skin cells. In fact, if you use retinol without some kind of exfoliator, you might eventually find yourself with a lot of dry, dead skin cells on your face — and nobody wants that.

However, it’s generally not a good idea to use glycolic acid and retinol in the same routine since they are both very strong ingredients and applying them to your face at the same time can lead to irritation. Furthermore, both retinol and glycolic acid should be used at night because they make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This means that it’s best to alternate your glycolic acid with your retinol in your nighttime routine (don’t put one on in the morning and another at night, in other words).

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Glycolic Acid vs. Retinol: Which to Get Started with?

If you’re not currently using either glycolic acid or retinol, then choose only one to introduce at a time. If you try to use both glycolic acid and retinol without first building your skin’s tolerance, then you might accidentally damage your skin barrier.

You should start with glycolic acid if you are currently struggling with oil control, clogged pores and/or dry patches of dead skin cells. Glycolic acid is also a better starter product for people with sensitive skin because it is less sensitizing than retinol. On the other hand, you should start with retinol if you are currently focused on treating signs of aging, sun damage and/or acne.

Keep in mind that both glycolic acid and retinol are available in many different strengths. If you are just beginning your skincare journey, seek out gentler products with lower concentrations of these powerful ingredients. As your skin gets used to them, you can graduate to higher percentages of these ingredients and/or use them at a higher frequency. Watch out for signs of irritation and don’t be afraid to back off if you notice your skin barrier looking stressed.

At Lancer Skincare, we sell dermatologist-developed products that feature tried-and-true ingredients like glycolic acid and retinol so that you know you are using safe and effective skincare. All of our products ship free and come with a 30-day money back guarantee so that you can buy with confidence!

Fact or Fiction – Cucumbers Eliminate Bags Under Your Eyes

We love putting sliced cucumbers under our eyes to reduce eye puffiness. However, the cucumber itself may not be what’s making a difference in reducing the swelling. Anything you place under the eyes that’s cold will most likely reduce puffiness and eye bags. You could use cucumbers, sliced tomatoes or even a cold wash cloth.

Dr. Lancer’s eye products can also help eliminate any puffiness, in addition to addressing other eye area concerns, such as dark circles and fine lines, too. Here are some products that we recommend more highly than a slice of cucumber:

  • Lancer Legacy Eye Treatment Duo Day & Night– The eye treatment duo is crafted with the highest quality ingredients and is applied with a unique triple rollerball applicator that gently massages the eye area. The day treatment de-puffs and brightens the eye area with ingredients such as Crushed Pearl and Caffeine Pep Compound. The Night treatment hydrates, renews and firms the eye area with Black Pearl, Peony Youth Compound and White Truffle Extract.
  • 3D Hyaluronic Eye Serum– A concentrated, lightweight serum with Vitamin C Brightening Complex. The serum contains a cool tip applicator and is known to reduce the appearance of puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles. The eye area will appear smoother, tighter and brighter with consistent use and skin will feel well hydrated and soft.
  • Eye Contour Lifting Cream– A triple-action eye treatment with a balanced mix of Diamond Powder, Alfalfa Seed Extract, Lupine Protein, Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter, Peptide Blend & Yeast Extract. The powerful cream reduces puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles while providing rich hydration around the eyes. This eye cream is known for its hydrating abilities, so it’s sure to keep skin feeling moisturized all day. The eye zone should also appear brighter and more youthful as the product also improves the look of skin’s firmness and elasticity.

Myth: Can Stress Cause Acne?

Acne is caused by many factors. Stress is in fact one of them. Stress influences the body and skin, causing it to react in negative ways. You could develop acne, eczema, hives, rosacea, psoriasis, alopecia, vitiligo and more. if you already have acne, stress can make it worse and delay healing time, so it’s important to try and manage your stress levels to keep your body and skin healthy. To help reduce stress, you can do a number of activities that are proven to help. Yoga, meditation, regular exercise, a healthy diet, a good night’s rest, deep breathing exercises and simply knowing that whatever you’re stressed about is not that important in the long-run, can help manage your stress levels.

For skincare, it’s important to use the right products to work with blemished skin and prevent future breakouts. Dr Lancer recommends the products below to keep skin healthy:

  • The Method: Oily-Congested Set – A skincare routine for congested and oily skin. If you’re experiencing frequent breakouts, this specific set of Polish, Cleanse & Nourish will treat the skin while providing anti-aging benefits. Step #1 – Polish includes Quartz Crystals, Pumpkin Enzyme, Pomegranate Enzyme and Salicylic Acid, an ingredient known to reduce skin congestion. Cleanse, our step #2, also contains Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree Oil, which helps combat oiliness and soothe skin and Lilac Stem Cell Compound, powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. Step #3 – Nourish contains a similar ingredients list plus Hyaluronic Acid for hydration benefits. Together, these products treat acne prone skin, giving you a healthy, clearer complexion if used consistently.
  • Clarifying Detox Mask with Green Tea & 3% Sulfur – A green clay mask for oily, acne-prone skin. The mask contains 3% Sulfur, a powerful ingredient that clears up blemishes as it decongests your skin. Green Tea and Green Clay reduce redness around breakouts while absorbing oils and removing skin impurities. To use, simply apply a thin layer to clean skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. It’s recommended that you use the mask once a week and then you can gradually increase treatment to twice or three times a week if needed.

These products are also sold as a set, so you can purchase them all at once by going to the link below.
The Method: Intro Kit Oily-Congested Skin

There’s one additional product that Dr. Lancer recommends to treat skin that appears particularly stressed.

  • Caviar Lime Acid Peel – is a powerful peel that treats dull, stressed skin. It contains Caviar Lime Extract, 10% Glycolic Acid, 10% Phytic Acid, Papaya and Pineapple Enzymes and Retinol. The ingredients help resurface and remove surface cells, as it evens and brightens skin tone while reducing pore size. It’s also known to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, giving you a smoother, more youthful complexion. To use, apply a generous amount to clean skin, avoiding the lips and eye area. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and rinse. It’s recommended that you use the peel one to two times a week to see the best results.

Myth: Is Acne Genetic?

Yes, it’s true: acne is, in fact, genetic. Blemishes are triggered by multiple genes rather than one, so you can’t really blame one side of your family for your skin’s poor condition. While it’s helpful to know that acne has a genetic origin, it’s also important to remember that there are other factors causing breakouts. Stress, hormones, the environment, lack of sleep, poor nutrition and alcohol play a significant role in how skin looks, so committing to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle can go a long way in helping to keep blemishes in check.

As you make positive changes to your lifestyle, it’s also important to have the right skincare routine. Dr. Lancer offers the following products for skin that tends to be oily, congested, and blemished:

  • The Method: Oily-Congested Set – A 3-step daily skincare routine for congested and oily skin:
    • Step #1, Polish, includes Quartz Crystals, Pumpkin Enzyme, and Pomegranate Enzyme to exfoliate the skin, and Salicylic Acid, an ingredient known to reduce skin congestion.
    • Step #2, Cleanse, contains Tea Tree Oil, which helps combat oiliness and soothe skin, and Lilac Stem Cell Compound, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
    • Step #3, Nourish, is a lightweight moisturizer that provides essential hydration without clogging pores.
  • Clarifying Detox Mask with Green Tea + 3% Sulfur – A green clay mask for oily, acne-prone skin. The mask contains 3% Sulfur, a powerful ingredient that clears up blemishes as it decongests your skin. Green Tea and Green Clay reduce redness around breakouts while absorbing oils and skin impurities. To use, simply apply a thin layer to clean skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Use the mask once a week, then gradually increase treatment to twice or three times a week if needed.

These products are also sold as an introductory set, so you can purchase them all by simply going to the link below. Quick and easy!

The Lancer Method

Fact or Fiction – Does Hot Water Clean Skin Better

When we wash our face, our natural instinct is to use warm or hot water. The temperature is just right and overall, it feels good. But does hot water clean the skin better? It’s an interesting question – but the answer is no. Many are unaware of this, but hot water can actually damage the skin, causing excess blood vessels to form and even increasing pore size. So overall, hot water might do the opposite of what some are expecting.

It’s recommended that you use lukewarm water and one of Dr. Lancer’s cleansers to clean the skin efficiently. Here are the cleansers we recommend to keep skin looking its best:

  • The Method: Cleanse Normal-Combination Skin – Our normal combination cleanser gently removes skin impurities with Rice Silk Proteins, Amino Acids, and Aloe Extract. Salicylic Acid specifically removes those dry surface cells, giving you a healthier complexion if used consistently.
  • The Method: Cleanse Sensitive-Dehydrated Skin – If your skin needs some extra hydration, this is the cleanser for you. Our cleanser contains Amino Acids and Lavender Oil, two important ingredients for cleaning the skin and keeping it balanced and hydrated. Cleanse Sensitive-Dehydrated Skin also has Oat Extract, Coconut Oil and Licorice Phytocompounds, all powerful ingredients for reducing any skin irritation or redness.
  • The Method: Cleanse Oily-Congested Skin – A cleanser for oily prone skin. The cleanser contains jojoba beads, Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree Oil and Lilac Stem Cell Compound, ingredients key to washing away skin impurities while managing excess oil and unclogging pores simultaneously. Tea Tree Oil specifically helps combat oiliness and soothe skin.

Fact or Fiction – Sunscreen Contouring Do or Don’t?

You might have already heard of an ill-advised “contouring” technique known as Sunscreen Contouring. It’s a new trend amongst some to contour their faces by placing sunscreen only on certain areas of the skin, leaving a portion of the face unprotected and able to tan – or burn, as you might say! While it’s definitely an interesting idea, Dr. Lancer recommends that we put this fad to rest and use sunscreen the way it’s intended to be used. Sunscreen protects us from those harmful UV rays, reduces environmental toxins and is known to be our skin’s best protection. It’s important to know that this method of contouring isn’t helping your skin in any way. Instead, it’s speeding up skin aging and taking a risk of potentially getting skin cancer, if out in the sun often.

To keep skin protected and in the best condition possible, Dr. Lancer recommends using Sheer Fluid Sun Shield, a Broad Spectrum SPF30 sunscreen. It should be used on the entire face to fully protect the skin from sun damage and prevent hyperpigmentation. Sun Shield also delivers anti-aging ingredients to help the skin look and feel more youthful and is unique as it’s a non-greasy, lightweight product that gently glides onto the skin.

To use, simply apply the sunscreen after The Method. Gently massage it into the skin, starting from the center out. Apply it before your outing and make sure to reapply every 2 hours, to fully protect your skin.

Do It Yourself Coffee Facial Scrub – Do or Don’t?

Many people have gotten creative with their exfoliation, experimenting with coffee grounds and other substances with a similar texture. While the texture of coffee grounds may feel similar to a facial scrub, Dr. Lancer recommends steering clear from using it for exfoliation purposes. Depending on the size of the ground, and other factors, coffee facial scrubs could potentially cause cuts and bruising to the skin, as well as discoloration and streaks.

To keep skin looking fresh and even toned, Dr. Lancer recommends these three effective treatments to exfoliate the skin:

  • The Method: Polish Normal-Combination Skin – a daily exfoliator that removes dry, dull skin cells, leaving you with a fresh, radiant complexion. Polish contains Quartz Crystals, Pumpkin and Pomegranate Enzymes, all powerful ingredients that work together to brighten and even the skin’s complexion in a safe and effective manner. In particular, Quartz Crystals are known to be uniform in size and shape and will exfoliate without abrading the skin.
  • The Method: Body Polish – For those who wish to exfoliate from head to toe, here’s the product for you. The warming daily exfoliator contains Quartz Crystals, Bamboo Stem Powder and chemical exfoliants such as Salicylic Acid and Retinol. These key ingredients remove dead skin cells, allowing new skin to the surface. Shea Butter is also included to balance the exfoliants, giving the product a silky rich texture.
  • Pro Polish Microdermabrasion Device – A handheld microdermabrasion device to use in the comfort of your own home. This device was inspired by the microdermabrasion equipment at Lancer Dermatology and was designed to exfoliate the face and body with three different suction settings. By exfoliating the surface of the skin, this product helps speed up cell turnover, giving you a renewed, rejuvenated complexion.

Myth: Facial Slugging. A Trend – Do or Don’t?

Has your skin been super dry lately? A recent trend shows that consumers apply Vaseline or a type of grease on their face at night and keep it on as they sleep to retain skin moisture. Dr. Lancer suggests staying away from this habit as it’s not only messy (you’re sure to roll around at night and get it on your pillows and sheets), but Vaseline also retains heat. Retaining heat congests pores, giving you blemishes and irritating the skin.

To keep skin moisturized and balanced, Dr. Lancer recommends using these Lancer favorites:

  • The Method: Nourish Normal-Combination Skin – This daily moisturizer is used to hydrate the skin while providing anti-aging benefits. Nourish contains Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid to firm, lift and smooth fine lines and wrinkles, while Avocado and Olive Fruit Oils boost hydration and moisture-retention. Skin should appear well hydrated, glowing and plump after use.
  • Omega Hydrating Oil – The best extra boost of hydration in a bottle. This lightweight, non-greasy oil delivers essential hydration and antioxidants to the skin with its perfect blend of ingredients. It contains fermented oils including Argan, Olive, Jojoba and Grapeseed as well as Omega Fatty Acids, which improve skin elasticity and suppleness. Turmeric, another important ingredient, also reduces any skin redness while Chlorophyllin-Cooper Complex improves skin texture and pore size.
  • Nourish Rehydration Mask – This effective, hydrating mask is a New Beauty Award 2021 Winner. The mask contains Bio-Peptide & Vitamin B3 and is used to hydrate and revive dull, dehydrated skin. The ingredients not only boost hydration, but also prevent moisture loss, keeping skin smooth with a healthy, glowing complexion.
  • Intensive Night Treatment – This luxurious, rich cream is an anti-aging treatment and moisturizer combined. It’s intended for evening use and contains ultra-hydrating ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Marula Oil and Shea Butter. The ingredients help skin retain hydration while firming and lifting the skin with Peptides and Amino Acids. Intensive Night Treatment helps skin feel plump, smooth and lifted, with a new sense of firmness.

Myth: Do or Don’t? At Home Face Shaving – Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning is a great way to refresh the skin. The procedure consists of gliding a fine surgical blade across the surface of the face to remove dead skin and peach fuzz, and reduce the appearance of acne scars. Removing the top layer of skin allows for a brighter, cleaner complexion that feels smooth, healthy and vibrant. With a fresh layer of skin revealed, skincare products can perform much more quickly and effectively.

Now, would it be a good idea to do it at home yourself? Probably not. Dr. Lancer strongly recommends going to a medical spa or a medical office and leaving this procedure in the hands of the professionals. Doing it yourself could potentially cause issues. Not only is it possible to harm your skin with the blade, but the blade or your hands may be contaminated with bacteria, which could lead to a skin infection.

If you’re interested in Dermaplaning, we welcome you to book an appointment at Lancer Dermatology. You may schedule an appointment through our site by clicking on the link below.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Myth: Skincare Products Never Expire

All skincare products expire at some point. However, the timing all depends on the quality of the product, its ingredients, its packaging, how it was made and where it has been stored. Keeping a product out of direct sunlight, and in a cool, room-temperature place in your home can make a huge difference in when it will expire.

Quality products like those at Lancer Skincare may last 1-3 years, while others that are store bought at a local pharmacy may last approximately 3 months. Depending on the product and packaging, some products in bottles may experience bacterial growth, and some products in metal packaging may rust quickly. It is important to stay on top of your skincare products’ expiration dates, as expired cosmetics may cause skin irritation or infections if used longer than they should be.

To replenish your skincare products, visit –