6 Skincare ProductsThat Should Not Be Used Together

skincare products and ingredients that should not be mixed together
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The market is flooded with numerous skincare products, and it can be confusing to know which ones can be used together and which ones should not be used together. In general, it is best to avoid using skincare products that have the same ingredients.

For example, if you are using a face wash that contains salicylic acid, you should avoid using a toner that also contains salicylic acid. This is because the ingredients can interact with each other and cause skin irritation.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are using a serum that contains vitamin C, you can still use a face wash that contains salicylic acid. This is because vitamin C will help to counteract the skin irritation caused by salicylic acid.

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skincare ingredients that work well together

It’s important you know what skincare products you can mix together and which ones you can’t especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

In this blog post, we will list some of the skincare products that should not be used together.

Skincare Products That Should Not Be Used Together

1. Retinol And Retinoid

Retinol and retinoid are skincare ingredients dermatologists love to recommend for anti-aging treatments because they speed up skin cell turnover and increase the production of collagen for wrinkle-free, acne-free, dark-spot-free, and glowy skin.

And because retinol and retinoid possess skin-exfoliating properties, they can be irritating to the skin and even extremely irritating (Think: dryness, red and flaky skin) when used together with other skincare products which are not compatible with AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid).

An exception to the rule would be retinol and AHA products that have been clinically tested to work on the skin without any side effects.

Do Mix: Retinol can be mixed with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

Moisturizing agents like hyaluronic acid draw and hold water molecules to the surface of the skin while oil-based emollient ingredients like retinol help to seal in moisture.

Be sure to moisturize before using retinol and retinoid and sunscreen afterward because retinol can make your skin sensitive to the sun.

SPF should be worn every day after your morning skincare routine not only to prevent wrinkles, sunburn, and skin cancers but also because some of our skincare products make our skin sensitive to the sun.

Do Not Mix: Retinol and retinoid with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, AHA, and BHA acids.

Vitamin C protects the skin from environmental pollutants such as sun damage, dark spots, and acne while retinol repairs and rebuilds the skin, because of this, retinol and vitamin C are best used at different times of the day, i.e you can use the serum in the morning and retinol at night.

Benzoyl peroxide can oxidize retinol making it less effective at fighting skin aging, furthermore, combining these two ingredients at the same time can cause skin irritation and excessive dryness.

AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating ingredients like retinol so using them together can be irritating and drying to the skin.

2. AHA And BHA Acids

AHA and BHA acids work to improve skin appearance by exfoliating it. AHAs are primarily used for enlarged pores, uneven skin tones, mild hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.

BHAs help in producing new skin cells, exfoliating the skin, and dissolving excess oil and sebum on the skin.

Examples of AHAs are glycolic acid, citric, mandelic, and lactic acid and an example of BHA is salicylic acid.

AHA and BHA acids are both effective skin exfoliants that can improve skin texture and tone, they can also dehydrate and irritate the skin.

DO Mix: AHA/BHA acids with moisturizing ingredients and SPF.

It’s very important to moisturize after using AHA/BHA to avoid skin irritation, go in with moisturizers such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, and glycerin. Using products that contain a low level of AHA and BHA has proven to be an effective way to exfoliate and unclog pores.

Do not skip sunscreen because just like retinol, AHA and BHA are known to cause skin sensitivity.

Do Not Mix: AHAs and BHAs with retinol.

Acids and retinol do not work well when mixed together, mixing them together can cause excessive redness, dryness, and skin sensitivity, dermatologists also advise that acids and retinol should not be used on the same day, if you insist on using both ingredients, you can change the usage every other day, for example, you can use acids on Monday and retinol on Tuesday.

3. Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide works as an antiseptic to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin causing acne, it can be a game-changer when added to your skincare routine, especially for those with acne-prone skin.

Do Mix: Benzoyl peroxide with a gentle moisturizer and SPF.

Because benzoyl peroxide can be drying and irritating to the skin, it’s very necessary to apply a gentle hydrating moisturizer to bring moisture back to the skin, don’t forget to apply good sunscreen.

Do Not Mix: Benzoyl peroxide with retinol.

Benzoyl peroxide and retinol can deactivate each other when used together, you might just be wasting your time-fighting acne while using retinol at the same time.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C serum may help protect the skin from sunburn, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, sagging, dryness, and uneven skin tone, vitamin C also promotes the production of collagen.

Vitamin can also help to lighten dark spots and brighten the skin, it is best used in the morning and is safe for all skin types.

Do Mix: Vitamin C with antioxidants and SPF.

Mixing vitamin C with other antioxidants like vitamin E can boost results and efficacy when it comes to soothing sunburns and improving skin’s natural repair process.

Do Not Mix: Vitamin C with Retinol.

Vitamin C is more effective in an acidic pH environment, while retinol works in a more alkaline environment so using them together will contrast its efficiency. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen.

It is best to use them at different times of the day. Since retinol and retinoid build collagen and help repair the skin, it’s best to use it overnight, while as you may know by now, vitamin C serum works better during the day to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

5. Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a type of B3 supplement, it is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that helps build keratin (a protein that helps maintain skin health), it also brightens, smoothens and even out discoloration.

Do Mix: Niacinamide can be used with almost all ingredients.

Because niacinamide is an anti-inflammatory ingredient, the skin reacts very minimally to it, it can be used with almost every other skincare ingredient without irritation or dryness.

Do Not Mix: Niacinamide with vitamin C and AHA/BHA.

Niacinamide used together with AHA/BHA has no effect and can cause redness because niacinamide has a higher pH level of around 5-7, while acids have a lower pH of around 3-4. Using niacinamide together with acids can raise the lower pH of the acids and cancel out its effect.

Though niacinamide and vitamin C are antioxidants and beneficial to the skin, it’s not advisable to use both at the same time, using both at the same time can diminish the potency of both of them, you can give a space of 10 minutes between each serum.

6. Sunscreen

If there’s one important skincare product that you can’t skip every day, it’s sunscreen, sunscreens help protect the skin from harmful UV rays and protect the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours if you are under the sun.

Do Not Mix: Sunscreen and any other product together, apply your sunscreen after moisturizer or before your makeup but do not mix it together.


Misusing skincare products that don’t work well together can cause skin irritation and other issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to know which products should not be combined. If you’re uncertain about compatibility, seek advice from a skincare specialist.

skincare ingredients that work well together

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