What Skincare Ingredients Should Not be Used Together?

Like the feeling of overeating after having the appetizer and the dessert, or maxing out your credit card from the Chanel bag and the Prada dress, sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing. And when it comes to skincare, there are some combinations of beneficial skincare ingredients that can cause adverse reaction or lose effectiveness when used together. To avoid any negative reactions or diminished results, here’s a skincare “Do-Not-Mix” list you should always keep in mind:


Vitamin C + AHA

When used together, Vitamin C and AHAs (which include glycolic acid and lactic acid) results in a neutralising effect. In other words, these two can cancel each other out! However, they’re incredibly effective when used separately: Both help brighten the skin and even out rough complexion, but Vitamin C contains more antioxidants to protect against aging, while AHA is best to treat acne, fine lines and hyperpigmentation.


Retinol + Benzoyl Peroxide

Because Retinol and Benzoyl Peroxide can fight against acne, many are tempted to mix them, hoping that together they’d form the ultimate acne-fighting superhero to cure pimples overnight. However, Retinol stimulates cell production and can leave your skin extra sensitive while Benzoyl Peroxide works by drying the skin, which causes double the irritation when used together. If you’re looking for a quick overnight acne treatment, you should consider pimple patches like the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch instead.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch Nudie Glow Korean Beauty Australia


Retinol + BHA/AHA

Retinol, BHA and AHA are three skincare superpowers that can do a lot for your skin. However, using retinol with any one of these acids in a skincare routine may cause over-exfoliation, leading to stinging, burning, redness, and irritated skin. Instead, you can alternate between the days of using these potent ingredients, or, what I do is use the AHA/BHA under sunscreen during the day, and retinol only at night. And remember to always moisturise when you use any of these products!


Sunscreen + Moisturizer/ Foundation

Mixing these products together seems like a tempting timesaver, but it’s not advised: you’re essentially breaking down the effectiveness of your sun protection by diluting it with makeup or other skincare products. Sunscreen should always be applied by itself at the end of the skincare routine. You should also wait for a few minutes before applying any makeup on top so as to allow your sun protection to set and really penetrate the skin.

Have you been layering any of these off-limits combination?

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