Ingredient Combinations That Don't Work For Your Skin


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New to skincare? Or maybe you're ready for more than a cleanser and moisturizer. You've done your research, read internet reviews, and bought things within your budget to treat your key concerns. Now you must determine whether these lotions, serums, and masks have compatible ingredients.

Skincare mixology 101. After choosing formulae for your skin type and conditions, make sure your products complement each other to achieve benefits. "Mixing components without knowing how they work and how they interact wastes money and time. It can be frustrating if outcomes aren't as expected (or if the skin irritates) "NYC dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein agrees.

Applying skincare products morning and night

Skin irritation is another consideration while choosing skincare products. "Your skincare routine should include items that compliment each other," says Dr. David Lortscher, CEO of Curology. The more, the worse.With the help of both dermatologists, we've compiled a guide on mixing and matching skincare ingredients.


Retinol... It's a dermatologist-recommended skincare component. Retinol stimulates skin cell turnover, which helps treat fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin texture, dark spots, and acne. But... Retinol irritates. Dr. Lortscher says retinol is a powerful anti-aging substance but can cause skin dryness.

Mix Retinol with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and SPF.

"Moisturize using humectants like hyaluronic acid and oil-based emollients to seal in moisture. Retinol can increase sun sensitivity.

"SPF should be worn every day of the year to avoid skin malignancies, wrinkles, and sun spots," adds Dr. Marchbein. "Retinol and retinoids can make the skin more susceptible to the sun."

Retinol, vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, AHA/BHA acids don't mix.

Exfoliating AHA and BHA acids can dry out face and irritate retinol-treated skin.They cancel each other out. Benzoyl peroxide and retinoids can cancel each other out, says Dr. Marchbein.Vitamin C protects skin from environmental aggressors, while retinol repairs and rebuilds it. Use them at opposing times of the day.


Vitamin C prevents skin from oxidative free radical damage, explains Dr. Marchbein. This chemical brightens and lightens dark stains.

Vitamin C, antioxidants, and SPF.

Vitamin C boosts outcomes and efficiency when combined with vitamin E. Vitamin C under sunscreen works similarly. Dr. Marchbein recommends layering vitamin C serums under sunscreen to protect skin from UV damage.

Vitamin C and retinol don't mix.

Retinol and retinoids create collagen and heal skin overnight, unlike vitamin C. Since vitamin C thrives during the day, these substances should be kept separate.


Salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids are all powerful exfoliants that help enhance skin texture and tone. These acids dry and irritate skin. Follow AHA/BHA products with a hydrating product.

Mix AHA/BHA acids, moisturizer, and SPF.

"After applying AHA and BHA, moisturize to reduce irritation. Hydrate and soothe skin with ceramides, petrolatum, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin "Marchbein states. Combining low-level AHA and BHA acids can exfoliate and clear pores effectively.

AHA/BHA acids are sun-sensitive like retinol. When utilizing these substances, it's especially vital to wear sunscreen every day.

AHA/BHA and retinol don't mix.

"I warn patients using retinoids for acne or anti-aging that combining them with acids might cause skin sensitivity, inflammation, and redness. AHA and BHA shouldn't be utilized the same day as retinoids "Marchbein explains. Combining acids or physical and chemical exfoliants might cause irritation and eczema.


Acne-prone skin can benefit from benzoyl peroxide. Exception? Drying agent. "Because acne treatments can cause dryness and irritation, combining them should be done with carefully," says Dr. Marchbein. "Cleansers and moisturizers should be gentle and ultra-hydrating."

Mix Benzoyl Peroxide with moisturizing substances, SPF, and antibiotics.

Acne-fighting substance can be taken with clindamycin and moisturizing compounds to counteract benzoyl peroxide's drying effects. Every day, use SPF.

Be cautious while mixing benzoyl peroxide and retinol.

Benzoyl peroxide and retinol can deactivate each other. Acne medications can be taken with BP, although tretinoin needs special caution.

Lortscher adds "If mixed in the same container, benzoyl peroxide may inactivate tretinoin. When applied to the skin one after the other — in any order, simply rub one product in softly and completely before applying the other — they seem to work properly "saying, If you're using tretinoin, use it at night and use benzoyl peroxide in the morning, or use a wash-off benzoyl peroxide cleanser.


Antioxidant vitamin B3 can brighten skin and balance out discolouration.

Niacinamide with (nearly) every skincare component. Dr. Lortscher explains that while niacinamide is anti-inflammatory, side effects like itching are rare. For optimal effects, apply a leave-on product like a moisturizer.

Niacinamide and vitamin C are incompatible.

Vitamin C and niacinamide don't mix, despite being antioxidants. "Both are typical antioxidants in skincare products, but they shouldn't be used together," explains Dr. Marchbein. "Their potency is reduced unless each serum is applied 10 minutes apart."


Make SPF your only skincare product. Only sunscreen can protect skin from cancer and environmental aggressors that cause premature aging. SPF can be added to any skincare product.

Every skincare routine should include SPF.

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SPF and cosmetics or moisturizers don't mix.

SPF may feel like an unnecessary step in your skincare routine, but don't skip it. "Don't combine sunscreen with makeup or moisturizer and apply as-is," adds Dr. Lortscher.


Oregano extract in the Daily Germicidal Soap contains chemicals that have powerful antibacterial activity. An additional benefit of Oregano and its constituents is that antiviral activities have been discovered.

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