The skin care ingredients you should never mix

Surely you know how to mix and match the contents of your wardrobe, and what shoes go with everything you own. But when it comes to topical creams, moisturisers, serums and other potions, do you ever pause and think about what’s scripted on the back label? Not all skin care ingredients work well together and using them at the same time could be putting your skin on a never-ending loop of reaction, solution and repeat. With so many active ingredients, figuring out how and when to use these products can get a little confusing, especially when you’re trying to pin down a skin care routine that works for you.

So, what skin care ingredients are soul mates and which ones should call it quits? Here are the dos and don’ts of mixing and matching your ingredients.


Retinol and acne treatments

Retinol and popular acne ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are all mighty warriors in the fight against acne. However, when retinol products are combined with benzoyl peroxide products, their effects can cancel each other out. These two ingredients are not compatible as they could potentially dry out your skin and cause irritation, sensitivity, peeling and even scarring! So, if you need both of those ingredients, use them one at a time. Use your salicylic acid-based treatment in the morning and then your retinol cream at night.

Vitamin C and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)

When used together, these ingredients might not provide the antioxidant benefits that you might be hoping for. Applying too many acids to your face can lead to irritation, peeling and redness and some acids can also change the pH of the Vitamin C and destabilize it, potentially rendering it inactive. So, if you need to use both these ingredients, use vitamin C based creams or serums during the day and consider applying your acid-based treatment at night.

Retinol and Alpha Hydroxy Acids

When it comes to skin care products, alpha hydroxy acids include glycolic, lactic and citric acid, while beta hydroxy acid generally refers to salicylic acid. Retinol is a great anti-ageing ingredient known to speed up cell turnover, leading to a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation for an overall smoother and brighter complexion. You might think retinol and acidic ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids might work well together since they both make claims to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Using two exfoliants together can lead to redness, irritation, sensitivity and even dryness and flaking. To avoid all these things, try alternating between the two in your skin care routine, switching them up every few months or so. Also, as a general rule, retinol should be applied at night as it can make skin ultra-sensitive to UV rays.

Vitamin C and Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is an oxidizing agent which allows to kill acne-causing bacteria. However, when it comes in contact with an ingredient like vitamin C that is oxidize-friendly, the two cancel each other out and lose their potency and effectiveness.

Salicylic acid and glycolic acid

Similar to the retinol/AHA effect, combining these two potent ingredients can cause your skin to reach in a rash-like manner: irritation, redness, excessive dryness, etc.



Vitamin C + Sunscreen

Vitamin C and sunscreen work well together. We recommend applying vitamin C in the morning prior to sunscreens.

Hyaluronic Acid + Retinol

If you’re using retinoids, you might have noticed that your skin begins to respond to this treatment by shedding its first layer. You might notice that your skin is super sensitive or especially dry, that’s why you should add a product with hyaluronic acid to balance your system. Hyaluronic acid can prevent irritation from the retinoid, while allowing it to penetrate and still be effective.

SPF with Retinoids

If you are using a retinol routine, using a daily SPF is imperative. Retinol enhances cell turnover and thus makes skin more prone to UV radiation. So, you must protect your skin by wearing daily sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher.

Retinol and Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid is a plant-based antioxidant that enhances properties of other vitamins for healthy skin and supplies sun damage protection. When combined with retinol, you would create a unique delivery system that makes retinol work even better. And while retinol is working on firming the skin and adding radiance and luminosity, Ferulic Acid allows retinol to work even deeper into the skin while promoting collagen production.

Vitamins A, C and E

These powerful antioxidants can work together to create a wondrous effect on your complexion. Adding these three vitamins into your skin care routine would help prevent collagen breakdown.