While trying new products and combinations can be exciting with all the different products available, it can also be something tricky. Between the incredibly long and unpronounceable ingredient lists, new “It” ingredients, and the range of incredible claims and purposes, skincare can be confusing for many. Most people use more than one product at a time, Trying to target multiple skin issues, many people layer and combine more than one product at the same time.
Do Not Mix!
Salicylic or Glycolic Acid with Retinols and Retinoids
Retinol (vitamin A) is a very effective anti-aging ingredient. This ingredient is known to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Salicylic is a beta-hydroxy acid, which is used in fighting the signs of aging, and exfoliate dead skin cells. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that works on the top layer of the skin, used to treat acne and exfoliate dead skin cells.
So being that these ingredients have similar uses, you might think that they would go well together, but this is is false. Layering these ingredients causes too much exfoliation leading to disaster. Most likely what you will end up with is a face full of irritation, redness, skin sensitivity, dryness and flaking.
Vitamin C and acids like glycolic or salicylic acid.
This one is all about the pH levels. The optimal pH level is lower on the 0 to 14 scale. The lower the pH, the more gentle the formula will be on the skin. Vitamin C formulated products can be as low as 3 on the scale, which allows them to be effective. Adding an acid causes the pH to be altered which causes the vitamin C to be ineffective.
Exfoliators and Skin Brightening Products
When using exfoliation in combination with skin-brightening products, it can actually cause darkness in already hyperpigmented areas. This is due to the photo-sensitivity that accrues when no SPF is used in combination with these products. So if you are choosing to use these 2 products together, then its best to always wear SPF!
Citric acid with just about anything.
Citric acid Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid used in personal care products to adjust the acidity or promote skin peeling and re-growth in the case of anti-aging products. (1) This ingredient is in many moisturizers, and when citric acid is mixed or layered with other products, it can cause irritation.
Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinols
Benzoyl Peroxide is used to treat acne by killing bacteria on the skin. However, it causes dryness. When used in combination with retinols, benzoyl peroxide cancel out the effectiveness of the retinoid. The safes bet is to switch off between using these products.
Retinoids and UV Light
Some retinoids are not stable in UV light, so it is best to apply sunscreen and skip direct UV light.
The Dos and Don’ts of Mixing Skincare Ingredients by Sarah Harris
The Skin Care Ingredients You Shouldn’t Mix by Alexis Diaz
The Skin-Cream Ingredients You Should Never Mix and Match by Elizabeth Siegel
Citric Acid by EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database