Skincare ingredients can be such divas. All the best anti-aging superstars do wonders on their own, but ask them to collaborate, and they throw a tantrum, refusing to perform their best. So frustrating!
So, who are these prima donnas, the skincare ingredients you should never mix? And how can you force them to get along?
The 4 surprising combinations of skincare ingredients that DON'T work well together.Click To Tweet
Retinol + AHAs/BHA
AHAs (glycolic and lactic acid) and BHA (salicylic acid) are all powerful exfoliants. Retinol (a form of vitamin A), can accelerate cellular turnover.
This means that all these ingredients can get rid of the old, dull, and damaged cells on the surface of the skin, and replace them with new, bright, and healthy ones.
When used on their own, that is. When used together, they’re more likely to cause redness and irritations. And, they can make your skin much more sensitive to sunlight, too.
This combo is proof that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
- Use them at different times of the day or week. I use glycolic acid in the morning and retinol at night. But you can use glycolic acid on Monday and retinol on Tuesday. It’s up to you.
Retinol + Benzoyl Peroxide
But, benzoyl peroxide is very harsh on its own. That’s why it’s recommended as a last resort, or as a spot treatment only. Use it together with retinol, and it becomes even harsher on the skin. Expect flakiness, redness, peeling, and irritation. Do you really wanna take the risk?
- Choose one!
- If you only get the odd, stubborn pimple, you can apply benzoyl peroxide only on the annoying bugger, and retinol everywhere else. But give other pimple-busters, like salicylic acid or sulfur, a chance first.
Retinol + Vitamin C
Retinol and vitamin C are my two all-time fave ingredients. Both are so powerful: they fight free radicals, boost the production of collagen, and brighten skin, keeping wrinkles away from our faces, and giving them a glowy, healthy appearance.
It’s impossible to formulate a product at a ph that’ll satisfy both vitamin C and retinol. But, that doesn’t mean they’re useless together (there are so many great products out there that contain both). They still work, just not to their full potential. That’s why is best to use them separately.
- Use these ingredients at different times of the day or week.
- Choose time-released products. This simply means that retinol, which is put into a capsule, is released slowly into the skin over a period of several hours. Vitamin C is delivered all at once. So, long after that’s being absorbed, retinol is still being pumped into your skin, finding nothing in its path that can deactivate it.
- Go for another form of vitamin C. Magnesium ascorbyl palmitate,for example, has an optimal ph of 7-8.5, so it can easily be formulated with retinol, without compromising on efficacy.
Niacinamide + Vitamin C
Jeez, vitamin C is so fussy, isn’t it? It has a problem (two, actually) with niacinamide, too. Niacinamide is another darling of mine. It can do everything, from fighting wrinkles to treating acne, and even reduces dark spots.
But, when used together, niacinamide turns vitamin C yellow. That’s the colour of death for vitamin C. It means its anti-aging properties have gone POUF, disappeared.
One other thing. Niacinamide and vitamin C also create niacin, a substance that makes skin flush. This isn’t dangerous, just not very pretty. I mean, who wants to go around with a red face? This flushing may also be the reason why some people have reported allergies to niacinamide. They make have mistaken it for an irritation.
EDIT 27/04: These reactions seem to occur very slowly. That means that only a tiny amount of vitamins gets deactivated. So, yes, you can use them together. But, for maximum results, separately may be best.
- Wait 30 minutes. Apply vitamin C first and, half an hour later, niacinamide. Or vice versa.
- Don’t have that much time to waste in the morning? Then, use them at different times of the day or week.
Are you using these ingredients together? Do you know any other skincare ingredients you shouldn’t mix?