Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid Using Together

All the amazing active ingredients available in skin care products these days can truly improve the appearance of your skin, so it can be tempting to want to use them all. However, before you layer on products, be sure you’re not using these ingredient combinations at the same exact time to avoid an adverse reaction:

Do not mix a Vitamin C serum with: 

Retinol. Each active ingredient has a different purpose and using them at the same time in high concentrations may result in irritation. Plus, retinol should always be used in the evening (the time where your skin is repairing itself) and a vitamin C serum is best used in the morning (the time when your skin needs antioxidant defense.) If you’re looking for a good retinol serum, be sure to check out Advanced Resurfacing Serum.

Lactic, Glycolic, Salicylic, Malic or Tartaric Acid. These AHAs and BHAs lower the pH of your skin causing it to dissolve surface dry skin cells but adding in a high concentration of vitamin C may be too acidic on the skin and can result in redness and peeling. Like retinol, exfoliating acid serums are best used at night to reveal smoother skin by morning. All of these acids can be found in Triple Berry Smoothing Peel.

Note: Vitamin C comes in many different forms, some more acidic and irritating then others. Common names of vitamin C include ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate, ascorbyl palmitate. For very sensitive skin, Vitamin C&E Treatment is highly recommended. Boost your SPF! Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Medical Center researchers have determined that using a lotion or serum with Vitamins C and E under sunscreen actually provides four times the protection of sunscreen alone.

Do not mix retinol with:

Lactic, Glycolic, Salicylic, Malic or Tartaric Acid. Retinol stimulates cell turnover and generates new collagen from deep within the skin, while acids work to exfoliate on the surface. These products have amazing benefits, but using them together can be too irritating and could cause redness, peeling and possible burning of the skin.

Benzoyl Peroxide. This active ingredient is used to fight acne, but when used simultaneously, they can counteract each others benefits. Side effects could include peeling, redness, increased pigment and discoloration and burning of the skin.

Bottom line. Always listen to your skin. When it comes to your daily products, remember that burning doesn’t necessarily means a product is working; it means unwanted irritation. Also, a broad-spectrum sunscreen like Daily Protection SPF 30 should always be used daily to ensure these potent ingredients can perform optimally to improve the look, clarity and texture of your skin.

Which skin care products are best for your skin? Take our Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule My Skin Prescription to get personalized advice in person, over the phone or via Skype or Facetime.

For more expert skin advice, check out the blog. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time.

Renée Rouleau

Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”