Expert Advice

The skincare ingredients you should never use together

Beauty brands are offering more potent ingredients than ever, meaning that we’re all becoming our own at-home beauty mixologists. But without any input from the experts, do you really know what you should and shouldn’t be using together? From powerful acids to skin treatments, here’s our advice on what skincare ingredients you should never mix and match.

Retinol and Acids

Acids are powerful exfoliants which clear up skin by drying up blemishes and sloughing away at dead skin cells. Retinol or Vitamin A as it’s otherwise known works to speed up your cell turnover which speeds up your skin’s natural exfoliating process. Teaming these two ingredients together at the same time makes for a deadly drying combination that is likely to cause redness and irritation.

Expert tip: If you can’t live without these two super potent ingredients try using them at different time of the day or week. For example, can use a glycolic acid based toner in the morning and a retinol rich cream at night.

Retinol and Vitamin C

Both super powerful, Retinol and Vitamin C share similar superpowers. Both ingredients fight free radicals, boost the production of collagen and work hard to brighten the skin. However, whilst they have much in common they don’t play well together.

Retinol works best when at a PH of 5.5 – 6. Whereas Vitamin C (in the pure form of l-ascorbic acid) needs a PH of 3.5 or lower.

The issue with these two counterparts is that it’s hard to formulate a PH that will satisfy them both. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that they’re dangerous or useless together, they just don’t work to the best of their potential.

Retinol and The Sun

It might not be a skincare ingredient but when it comes to beauty mixology, one cocktail you don’t want to fuse is Retinol and The Sun. Retinol enhances the skin’s collagen production and sloughs away at dead skin cells. When the skin’s cell have been sloughed away at it makes it more susceptible to sun damage making using an SPF ever more important.

Expert tip: If you apply a Retinol product in the morning make sure you use an SPF.

Exfoliators and Skin Brightening Treatments

Whether it’s an acid based toner or a grainy scrub, if there’s one thing you don’t want to mix with exfoliators its skin brightening treatments. We all know that exfoliators help to shed dead skin cells and leave skin smooth and supple. The thing is, skin brightening treatments often encourage the skin to do the same thing meaning that you’re doubling up on exfoliation.



Writer and expert