When you’re trying to fix your seemingly endless skin problems—acne, large pores, blemishes, dry patches, and more—it feels like you want to slather whatever you can find in your skincare cabinet on to your face. And that might seem like the perfect solution, until you notice that your skincare doesn’t seem to perform, or worse, it’s irritating your skin and giving the opposite results than what you had hoped for.
First things first, identify the active ingredient in your lotion or serum or other skincare products, and second, be sure they don’t clash or negate the effects of another! Here are some basic guidelines of active ingredients that shouldn’t be used at once:
Retinols x Acids
Retinol is a potent form of vitamin A that’s known to work wonders to get rid of the old, dull, and damaged skin cells. But when combined with acids like powerful exfoliating duo AHAs (glycolic and lactic acid) and BHA (salicylic acid), your cellular turnover goes into overdrive, leaving you with redness, irritation, and possibly more sensitive to sunlight. As for Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid), the pH level for their optimum performance doesn’t quite match up with that of retinol, giving less than favorable results.
Retinols x benzoyl peroxide
Retinol is a wonder ingredient, but its biggest flaw is that it doesn’t play nice with other active ingredients. Another substance that retinol is not compatible with is benzoyl peroxide. Both are strong treatments for acne, and harsh on the skin. Using them both at the same time is a huge NO-NO. Choose only one, or expect your skin to rebel with flakiness, redness, peeling, and irritation.