The key difference between glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid and retinol is that glycolic acid helps in exfoliating dead skin cells, and hyaluronic acid helps in hydrating the skin, whereas retinol boosts collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Skincare products are very popular among people because these products can help maintain healthy and appealing skin. Glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and retinol are important ingredients in manufacturing customized skincare products to suit all different skin types.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Glycolic Acid
3. What is Hyaluronic Acid
4. What is Retinol
5. Glycolic Acid vs Hyaluronic Acid vs Retinol in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Glycolic Acid vs Hyaluronic Acid vs Retinol
What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid is an organic compound having the chemical formula C2H4O3. It is categorized as the simplest alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). This means this compound has a carboxylic functional group (-COOH) and a hydroxyl group (-OH), which are separated by only one carbon atom. Generally, glycolic acid is a colorless, odorless, and highly soluble substance in water, and it is also hygroscopic.
The molar mass of glycolic acid is 76 g/mol, while its melting point is 75 °C. But, it has no boiling point because it decomposes at higher temperatures. The major application of this compound is in the cosmetic industry. Manufacturers use glycolic acid as a common ingredient in skincare products. They make this compound by the reaction between formaldehyde and synthesis gas along with a catalyst because this reaction has a low cost. Furthermore, this acid is slightly stronger than acetic acid because of its electron-withdrawing power (of the hydroxyl group).
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a polymeric organic molecule with the chemical formula (C14H21NO11)n. We can categorize it as a glycosaminoglycan compound. Furthermore, hyaluronic acid is a unique, organic molecule because it is the only non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan among them. This compound naturally occurs in the human body. It can undergo distribution throughout connective, epithelial, and neural tissues.
Unlike other glycosaminoglycan compounds that form in the Golgi apparatus, this compound is formed in the plasma membrane. Hyaluronic acid is a common ingredient in many skin care products. It is also useful as a dermal filler in cosmetic surgeries. Manufacturers mainly produce hyaluronic acid via microbial fermentation processes. This is because of the lower production cost and less environmental pollution. The major microorganism used for production is Streptococcus sp. However, there is a great concern about this process since these microbial species are pathogenic.
According to some research studies, the injection of hyaluronic acid into osteoarthritic joints can restore the viscoelasticity of the synovial fluid, augment the flow of joint fluid, and normalize endogenous hyaluronate synthesis, etc.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a type of vitamin that we can find in food items, and it is important as a dietary supplement. Generally, it is identified as vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin. When considering the uses of this vitamin, it is an important ingredient in dietary supplements, and it can undergo ingestion to treat and prevent vitamin A deficiency. Moreover, vitamin A deficiency can lead to xerophthalmia.
If we take retinol in normal doses, the body can easily tolerate it, but if the dose is high, it can cause an enlarged liver, dry skin, or hypervitaminosis A. Furthermore, taking a high dose of retinol during pregnancy can harm the baby. When taking this vitamin orally, it gets converted into retinal and retinoic acid. These forms are the active forms of retinol in our body.
What is the Difference Between Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol?
Glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and retinol are three common ingredients that are used in these products. The key difference between glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid and retinol is that glycolic acid helps in exfoliating dead skin cells, and hyaluronic acid helps in hydrating the skin, whereas retinol boosts collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. However, the incorrect use of glycolic acid can cause skin irritation and damage, while hyaluronic acid can worsen dry skin conditions. Retinol, on the other hand, can cause drying, flaking, shedding, redness, and irritation.
The below infographic presents the differences between glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid and retinol in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Glycolic Acid vs Hyaluronic Acid vs Retinol
The key difference between glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid and retinol is that glycolic acid helps in exfoliating the dead skin cells, and hyaluronic acid helps in hydrating the skin, whereas retinol boosts collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
1. “Glycolic acid” By STALLKERL – Own work (Original text: Selbstgezeichnet mit ChemSketch), Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Hyaluronan” By Vaccinationist – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
3. “All-trans-Retinol2” By NEUROtiker (talk) – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia