When Layering is a Bad Idea: 5 Skincare Ingredients You Should Never Mix!
If you’re like most people, you want a skincare routine that treats all your skin concerns at once. It obviously would be a time saver!
However, certain skincare formulas designed to target specific skin concerns may contain active ingredients that aren’t intended to be mixed with other active ingredients.
When it comes to combining skincare products, it’s important to read the labels so you know what the active ingredients are. You must be prudent when mixing your beauty products. Some ingredients should never be mixed because, either:
A) the combination could have compounding effects and may irritate and/or damage your skin.
B) the ingredients may react with each other and this may reduce their efficacy or render them null.
5 Skincare Ingredients You Should Never Mix
1. Don’t Mix: Hydroxy Acids and Retinol/Retinoids
Hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) are both chemical exfoliants used to slough off dead skin cells. AHAs are water soluble and work on the surface of your skin, while BHAs are oil soluble and can penetrate into your pores.
Retinol (Vitamin A derivative) and retinoids (active Vitamin A) accelerate cell turnover and also act as skin exfoliants.
There are 3 reasons why hydroxy acids and retinol/retinoids should not be mixed.
- The combination of the two types of exfoliating agents may damage your skin’s protective lipid barrier and can cause your skin to become dry and irritated.
- Retinol/retinoids may neutralize the pH of your AHAs/BHAs, rendering them inactive.
- Retinol requires a less acidic environment to be converted to retinoic acid (the form your body can use). When combining hydroxy acids with retinol you are increasing acidity levels, thus reducing the potency of your retinol cream.
2. Don’t Mix: Hydroxy Acids and Vitamin C
Hydroxy acids and Vitamin C both have powerful antioxidant properties. But mixing these ingredients is not so wise, since both of these are acidic in nature and may irritate your skin.
Also, because Vitamic C is quite an unstable ingredient, when combined with other ingredients, its pH level may be altered and this can reduce its potency.
3. Don’t Mix: Hydroxy Acids and B3 (Niacinamide)
While mixing hydroxy acid and niacinamide certainly won’t kill you, it may cause your skin to flush since these two ingredients get converted to niacin when they come in contact with each other. It’s a similar reaction to that of taking an oral niacin supplement – except maybe worse, since the flush is concentrated on your face!
Also, because niacinamide’s pH is higher, it may cause your hydroxy acid to lose its strength.
4. Don’t Mix: Retinol and Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO)
Benzoyl peroxide is a popular acne treatment that’s strong and effective on its own. Mixing it with retinol wouldn’t be a good idea. BPO acts by killing acne-causing bacteria, but dries out your skin in the process. Layering it with retinol would only further dry out your skin, causing it to become extremely flakey.
5. Don’t Mix: Retinol and Vitamin C
Retinol and Vitamin C are great anti-aging ingredients. They reduce the appearance of fine lines, even out skin tone, and treat hyper pigmentation. However using these ingredients together can make your skin more sensitive and can cause irritation.
So as you can see, you can have too much of a good thing. While layering products with powerful active ingredients may be tempting, it’s best to use them on separate days of the week.