Cleanse. Exfoliate. Tone. Treat. Moisturize. You seem to be purchasing the right products and staying consistent with your routine but for some reason, your skin isn’t loving your current lineup. Certain skincare ingredient combinations can in fact react to one another, so it’s important to know which product pairings to avoid. The goal is to have radiating glows, not irritated skincare woes, folks! So, if you’d rather your skin’s complexion didn’t look like a science experiment Bill Nye conducted in his lab, be sure to refrain from combining the following ingredients together.
Salicylic Acid + Glycolic Acid
Improves skin texture, treats acne, and prevents wrinkles? Sign us up! These two acids do work wonders but are best used on their own. When combined, salicylic acid and glycolic acid can over exfoliate and strip your skin of its natural oils. But not to worry! By rotating these products or using them at different times, you’ll still be able to take advantage of their benefits.
Benzoyl Peroxide + Vitamin C
Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and when combined with benzoyl peroxide, these properties are significantly reduced. Benzoyl peroxide oxidizes Vitamin C and becomes less effective so if your cleansers, toners, or treatments contain it, wait at least ten minutes before applying products with Vitamin C!
Retinoid or Retinol + Vitamin C
Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant, and retinoids are most effective not only when used at different times but also at different PH environments, too. Both are beneficial but their effectiveness is reduced when used simultaneously. Vitamin C, which thrives in an acidic PH environment, works best in the daytime, as it helps protect and repair your skin from sun damage and environmental pollution. It also helps to lighten dark spots (perfect for sun worshippers) and build collagen!
Retinoids, on the other hand, work in a higher PH environment and optimally when applied at night, as they make the skin more photosensitive, which can increase sun damage.
Retinoid or Retinol + Benzoyl Peroxide
This is an important skincare ingredient combination to avoid if you suffer from acne. Retinol is an anti-aging ingredient while benzoyl peroxide is a powerful acne-fighting ingredient. The skin is overstimulated when both are combined, which can lead to irritation, dryness, redness, peeling, and scarring… As if acne isn’t enough, ugh!
Products containing these ingredients also deactivate each other when paired. If you’re desperately trying to combat large pores, pimples, and more, it’s best to incorporate benzoyl peroxide in the morning and retinoids or retinol at night.
Retinoid or Retinol + Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
Anti-aging and exfoliating products are extremely beneficial but when used together, they can severely irritate and dry out your skin… and we’re talking Sahara Desert dry. AHAs (glycolic, lactic, and citric acid) help exfoliate the outer layer of the skin and treat color irregularities. When combined with an anti-aging ingredient like retinol, irritation (such as flaking, redness, and peeling) is likely to occur. If you want to achieve glowing skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, using these products interchangeably is best!
Simply put, products that contain potent ingredients such as those mentioned are best used on their own. While it’s tempting to layer a bunch of products all at once (thinking it’ll speed up the process and yield quicker results), it can potentially reduce the effectiveness of products and/or result in adverse reactions.