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Home / Beauty

Four skin care ingredients you should never mix

 Just because a product worked for your friend doesn't mean it will work for your skin as well (Image: Shutterstock)

With so many readily available and affordable beauty products in the market, pimples, hyperpigmentation and other skin problems can be treated at a whim.

The problem comes in when you find yourself treating the same issue for months with no results and that right there should be a red flag.

You are probably doing something wrong.

Different products are made of many different ingredients and when used together can either cancel each other out thus becoming useless or they can react and cause irritation or break outs.

And for that reason, it is crucial to know which skin care products you can mix and which ones you should never layer up.

Just because someone recommended a certain serum on Instagram after it worked for them does not mean you should start placing your order.

Get to understand your skin problems preferably with the help of a dermatologist who will be better positioned to give you the best treatment.

That said, here are some popular products you should never ever combine together:

  • Retinol and hydroxy acids
  • A synthetic derivative of vitamin A, retinol is one of the most revered skin care treatments used primarily to treat acne, aging concerns and improving the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

    It does all these wonderful things by boosting collagen production and improving cell turnover.

    But when used together with an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) product containing lactic or glycolic acid, they may overwork your skin by breaking down healthy cells triggering a harsh reaction leading to sun sensitivity, peeling and irritation.

    Beta hydroxy acids on the other hand formulated with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid will deactivate the retinol and therefore become ineffective.

  • Vitamin C and soap cleansers
  • Working best when layered with sunscreen, vitamin C protects the skin from free radicals and should be used in the morning. When used religiously, it brightens the overall skin appearance and lightens dark spots as well.

    When you use vitamin C after washing your face with a soap-based cleanser which has a much higher pH compared to that of the vitamin C, it decreases your skin’s ability to absorb it.

    Instead, use them separately. For instance, in the morning you can use a glycolic based cleanser followed by vitamin C then use the soap-based cleanser at night.

  • Oil based and water-based products
  • If you were paying any attention during your science classes, you would know that water and oil do not mix. If anything, oil repels water. Oils are hydrophobic.

    Using the same argument when it comes to skin care products, oil-based formulas will prevent your skin from absorbing water-based products leaving a layer on your skin.

    What you should do instead is, use the water-based products first then apply the oil-based products on top.

  • Vitamin C and niacinamide
  • Delivering a litany of benefits, niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that works with natural substances found in your skin.

    A form of vitamin B3, it boosts hydration, fades pigmentation, lessens discoloration and diminishes enlarged skin pores just to name a few.

    When mixed with vitamin C, it reduces the niacinamide efficacy canceling each other out. If continuous use takes place you may develop redness and break outs.

    Use separately instead. The vitamin C should be reserved for morning while the niacinamide can be used at night.

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