Mixing Skin Care Ingredients

I grew up in an environment where skin care consisted of natural products (i.e. Pure Argan Oil, Argile and Henneh).

It took quite some time to get used to all the creams and cosmetics (Btw, I don’t wear makeup!) found in the market.

My morning routine consisted of washing my face with H2O and going on with my day.

I only started using skin care products when I noticed some tiny wrinkles on my face and the occasional pimple!

That’s when I decided it was time to transform my routine from simply H2O to an actual cleanser, moisturizer and other interesting products.

If you’re anything like me, I’m very careful when using skin care products.

So, I’ve done some research and read some online reviews about different types of products.

Once I was convinced, I stocked up on good quality products which can help treat my main skin issues.

However, a question remained: How do the ingredients in all of these products work together?

All I needed to do now is figure out whether the different ingredients in my creams, serums, etc. fit together or not!

I have a fairly sensitive skin and I’m very careful about picking the best products out there.

My go to products have to be vegan (i.e. no traces of animal by-products), Gluten-free, Soy-free, Non-GMO and most importantly hypoallergenic.

What I’ve learned during my research is the importance of finding the right formula for your skin type and issues.

You want to spend your hard earned money on products that actually work for your skin type and show results.

Otherwise, it is a waste of time and energy because you’ll get frustrated from lack of results.

The other important thing is the understanding of how ingredients in certain products may interact and work together as part of a daily routine.

Many people are not aware about the importance of not mixing skin care products, which can lead to over-dried and irritated skin.

You’re not doing your skin a favor at all if you use too many products at once and you’re not following instructions.

It can actually do more damage than good.

When you use different types of products at once, you’re increasing the risk of over-drying, over-exfoliating and irritating your skin.

And sometimes, it is hard to reverse the damage especially if it is too advanced.

Based on my research, I have prepared a list of ingredients that are most found in skin care products and the rules surrounding the dos and don’ts when it comes to mixing them with other ingredients.

Niacinamide (i.e. Vitamin B3)

Known for its anti-inflammatory ability and to treat many skin issues, this antioxidant works in harmony with most typical ingredients found in skin care products such as retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHAs and BHA and vitamin C to improve enlarged pores and uneven skin tone as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Even if you have a sensitive skin, you can use products containing Niacinamide and not worry about having a reaction or irritation.

Niacinamide is mostly found in leave-on skin care products such as toners, serums and moisturizers since its effectiveness is seen when left on the skin for long periods of time.

There have been claims about whether you should space out the application of a product containing Niacinamide when using a product containing vitamin C.

The idea was that niacinamide reduces the potency of vitamin C and that application of a product containing niacinamide should be at least 10 minutes apart when applying a product containing vitamin C.

Up-to-date research has shown that both antioxidants can be applied at the same time and one does not undermine the effectiveness of the other.

For more information, visit how Niacinamide helps the skin and can Niacinamide and Vitamin C be used together by Paula Begoun.

Retinoic Acid (i.e. Vitamin A)

Although recommended by dermatologists as being great for improving the appearance of wrinkles, acne, uneven skin texture and fine lines, Retinoic Acid is also known for extremely irritating the skin.

This ingredient is found in prescription products, while Retinol and other gentle forms called pro-retinols are found in over-the-counter products.

Apparently, the skin converts Retinol into Retinoic acid which is the form of Vitamin A that repairs the skin.

There are gentler forms such as Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl Acetate, and Retinyl Linoleate.

If you are using Retinoic Acid on its own, you’ll probably notice that your skin is becoming dry and you may need to use a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid and ceramides, to hydrate your skin and help retain moisture.

There are some claims about Retinol making the skin more sensitive to the sun.

There isn’t enough research to back this up though.

It is recommended however is to always use SPF when going out in the sun to protect the skin from damaging UVs.

You should not mix Retinol with products containing Vitamin C since this ingredient works in a different PH level.

Vitamin C works in an acidic environment and Retinol works in an alkaline environment.

It is recommended to use Vitamin C products in the morning, in combination with an SPF to help the skin cells fight damage caused by exposure to pollutants.

Benzoyl Peroxide lowers the effectiveness of Retinol when used as part of the same skin care routine.

These two are never combined as part of the same product anyways, but thought it useful to share.

Finally, AHA (alpha hydroxy acid, i.e. glycolic and lactic acids) and BHA (beta hydroxy/salicylic acid) acids are both exfoliating, and can easily dry out the skin and worsen irritation when used in combination with a retinol containing product.

If you’re looking for more information about retinol, you can read this article on how to use retinol.


The rule when using products containing these acids is to immediately apply a moisturizer containing ceramides, petrolatum, hyaluronic acid and glycerin to hydrate the skin.

Otherwise, your skin will become dehydrated after prolonged use and this can cause irritation.

AHA and BHA acids include salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid.

All of these are considered very effective at exfoliating and treating skin problems such as dull and acne prone skin.

However, there is a concern that they may cause sun sensitivity and the application of an SRF is a must before going in the sun.

As mentioned before, you should avoid using products containing AHA/BHA acids and retinol at the same time to avoid irritating your skin.

Here’s a great article about how to use skin care acids.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Alright, everyone has heard about how benzoyl peroxide can be extraordinary for treating acne-prone skin.

This ingredient has super powers since it can kill bacteria on the surface of the skin, gently exfoliate the skin and does not cause inflammation.

The downfall is it does dry the skin out, especially sensitive skin.

Since most acne-prone skin is delicate in nature, it is recommended not to combine products containing benzoyl peroxide with other acne treating products.

And if going to do so, be cautious and use very gentle options as to not over irritate your skin.

The idea remains regarding immediate gentle hydration of the skin and SPF application after using products containing benzoyl peroxide.

It is recommended not to combine benzoyl peroxide with retinol since they cancel each other out as mentioned above.

Some acne prescriptions (i.e. antibiotics) can also be tricky when products containing this ingredient are used.

So, spacing out the application of these products can help avoid any interactions.

If you’re looking for more information on benzoyl peroxide, you can read this article about benzoyl peroxide to treat acne.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found the information within of value. If you have comments or general information you’d like to share, you can do so in the comments below.

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