Buyer Beware: You Should Never Mix These Skincare Products Together

Regardless of whether you are new to skincare or a seasoned skinthusiast, the rules of a good routine remain relatively the same. You have a routine for the day and for the night, and you’ll layer your products in a predetermined order on your skin. Rinse and repeat. Which to be fair, doesn’t sound too complicated.

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But with the rise of the 10, 15, or God-forbid 20-step skincare routine, layering your skincare has gone from a thoughtless gesture to a nuanced artform. Layering and mixing skincare products without fully understanding their properties could lead to underwhelming results or worse still, potential skin irritation. In which case, what skincare ingredients should you never mix together?

 

1. Retinoids + Salicylic Acid 

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Despite being lauded as the be-it-end-all ingredient where anti-aging is concerned, using retinoids (derivatives of Vitamin A) in your everyday skincare routine requires a very precise level of care. Working by increasing cell-turnover in the skin to diminish signs of fine lines, age spots and hyperpigmentation, initial use of retinoids normally comes with mild irritation, redness, and peeling on the face.

Which is why you should never combine the use of retinoids with chemical exfoliants such as salicylic acid (a form of Beta Hydroxy Acid). Salicylic acid is typicaly prescribed to those suffering from acne, and works by essentially breaking down dead skin cells and promoting the growth of new ones.

Not only does this further irritate your skin, this may also signal to your body to ramp up the production of sebum to compensate for the dryness you experience. And as we know, increased sebum means increased chances of acne!

 

2. Retinoids + Alpha Hydroxy Acids 

The same rule applies when we talk about alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). As most alpha hydroxy acids function exactly the same way as Beta Hydroxy Acids do by shedding dead skin cells from your face and promoting the growth of new ones, the excessive dryness can lead to an increase in sebum production. This inevitably causes redness, irritation, and flakiness to occur over the face.

 

If you’ve mixed either of these ingredients together by accident, we suggest making use of a moisturiser containing humectant ingredients such as aloe vera or hyalronic acid to help with the dryness and prevent further damage to the skin barrier.

 

3. Vitamin C + Alpha Hydroxy Acids

And while we’re still on the topic of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, you should be wary of mixing any Vitamin C-enriched products with it. Not that the combination of both skincare actives would damage your skin by any means, but using them both at once may most likely alter their pH-balance (the key component to both ingredients). Owing to that fact, you may be reducing their effectiveness severely.

When you consider how expensive Vitamin C-enriched skincare can be, you’ll begin to understand why this can pose to be a problem.

 

4. Water-based products + oil-based products 

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We don’t need to tell you why this doesn’t work, do we? Oil and water simply do not mix, so there’s no point in trying to apply facial oils and then a water-based moisturiser after. Any oil-based product you apply immediately forms a protective film that seals your skin, preventing other products from penetrating into your pores.

So if you must use a combination of oil and water-based skincare products together, you should be using your water-based products first, before topping it off with your oil-based products. In fact, doing it this way helps lock in moisture into your skin, which may be beneficial to those suffering from dry skin.

 

5. Benzoyl peroxide + AHA/BHA 

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Benzoyl peroxide may sound incredibly complex, but this ingredient is pretty frequently found in most acne-busting skincare products. Incredibly harsh but incredibly effective, this particular ingredient functions by peeling away your skin to remove any buildup of dirt, sebum, dead skin cells & bacteria.

You don’t need us to remind you that AHA/BHA-enriched products do pretty much the same thing to a lesser degree, making a combination of these products together incredibly irritating to your skin. Those who already suffer from sensitive skin may even experience flakiness as a result, so be wary!

 

Also read: So You Have Body Acne. What Do You Do Now?

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