It’s easy to fall prey to cure-all skincare regimens on the internet from promises of baby soft skin to erasing fine lines in an instant. If you’ve been spending more time on your routine than usual in the name of self care, well this is a good time to be indulgent. However, if you’re new at this and putting a routine together on your own, it’s important to note that NOT all skincare products work together, they could negate each other’s effects or actually worsen skin concerns. Want the benefits of two actives without causing irritation? Try using them at different points in the day, or switch between products on different days for best results. Here’s what experts suggest about the skincare actives you shouldn’t mix.
Retinoids & Vitamin C
An antioxidant, Vitamin C is great for treating sun damage and pigmentation. However, when used together with retinoids, it won’t give you optimum results. Some studies now show that Vitamin C gets stabilised when used with retinol. But they cause irritation when used together. Retinol is a great Vitamin A derivative which improves the skin turnover, unclogs dead cells, and helps collagen production. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which blocks tyrosinase which is responsible for pigmentation, scavenges free radicals and detoxes the skin. However, newer, milder formulas of retinol (like retinaldehyde or retinyl esters) may work in a routine with Vitamin C.
Same Active Ingredients
Using more product or combining similar formulas will not always hasten your route to your skin goal but can reduce the effectiveness. The pH levels of both the products will clash and only one will act. The pH level of the product which is more favourable to the skin will act and the other won’t. So there’s no point in using them together. What you can do is use one in the morning and one at night recommend experts, particularly referring to products that contain retinols, alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids.
Retinol and AHAs will complement each other as both cause stimulation of collagen. But both also cause cell turnover and when combined it can cause irritation, irritant contact dermatitis, burns or scarring.
Benzoyl Peroxide & Retinoids
Retinoids are commonly prescribed to treat acne as they exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. However, you cannot combine it with benzoyl peroxide as it will cause dryness and further issues. Benzoyl peroxide and retinol deactivate each other because of their pH levels. Retinol improves cell turnover and helps with an uneven skin tone. Benzoyl peroxide is preferred for whiteheads because it reduces the oil secretion of sebaceous glands. But both together will be extremely drying and neither will work.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids & Retinoids
The promise of fresh, exfoliated skin and improved collagen production has given AHA’s like lactic acid many fans. However, if you are also using retinols or retinoids for acne, experts do not recommend using an AHA product together. Retinol and AHAs will complement each other as both cause stimulation of collagen. But both also cause cell turnover and when combined it can cause irritation, irritant contact dermatitis, burns or scarring. Both will make the skin sensitive by removing dead skin layers and making skin thinner. So do not use them at the same time. You could alternate them though: retinol one day, then a mild AHA like lactic acid or mandelic acid the next day. However, do not use glycolic acid and retinol together even alternately warn experts.
Salicylic Acid & Retinoids
Salicylic acid is lipid-soluble, it penetrates and dissolves the lipids between the cells. These fats or lipids bind the dead skin cells together and form the stratum corneum or the outer layer of the skin. It will also dissolve fats in the oil glands. So it’s good to unclogs pores and deal with black and whitehead. However, when used with retinol, the effect can be too harsh on the skin and can cause burns or scarring. If you’ve gone overboard, applying a hydrocortisone cream over the area can help.