I never actually thought about how mixing certain ingredients in your skincare could be bad, but it makes sense considering how strong certain ingredients are such as acids and others that can cause major dryness. I actually ran into this topic while researching my other post about the correct skincare order. I’m glad I did though because I’ve definitely mixed some of these bad boys together before. Oops 🙈 Read below to make sure you don’t make any of these costly mistakes.


  • Retinol And Alpha Hydroxy Acids(AHA) i.e. Lactic And Glycolic Acids- This combo will cause redness, irritation, and can cause sensitivity to light. If you forget or don’t realize a product contains either of these until it’s too late, the best way to remedy the issue is to take a anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and putting on some hydrocortisone cream.
  • Citric Acid With Anything- This also causes irritation and can be found in many moisturizers. Look for the ingredient on the back it will simply be labeled as citric acid.
  • Retinol and Acne Treatments- I’ve definitely done this before! 😱 My favorite acne treatment contains benzoyl peroxide which combined with retinol actually deactivates each other so no wonder why sometimes my blemish seems to take forever to go away! Many other acne treatments contain salicylic acid and this mixture causes dryness, redness, peeling and may increase sensitivity to light. Salicylic Acid is also known as a BHA so be aware of that.
  • Vitamin C And Alpha Hydroxy Acids(AHA) i.e. Lactic And Glycolic Acids- Done this too! 😫 The acids change the pH of the Vitamin C and render it useless. Common names for Vitamin C are ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate, ascorbyl palmitate.
  • Vitamin C And Retinol- Same as above. There are some products that contain both that are safe to use because the retinol is time released which means the Vitamin C works right away and after your pH level goes back to a retinol friendly level then the retinol continues to be released.
  • Exfoliators And Skin Brightening Products- Exfoliators remove dead skin cells to reveal new, smoother skin and skin brightening products can cause sensitivity to light so the combination can actually result in dark spots. The best way to fight this is to use SPF.
  • Niacinamide and Vitamin C- Niacinamide turns Vitamin C orange/brown which means it’s useless. It’s also known to make skin flush and red. These things apparently happen very slowly, but it’s still best to use these separately to be safe.
  • Retin-A And Scrub Exfoliants-  The prescription, Retin-A, is great for treating wrinkles and renewing skin, but it can also cause peeling. Make sure you’re not making it worse by using a rough exfoliator with beads.
  • Probiotics And Antimicrobials- Topical probiotics are great for clear skin and consist of what’s considered good bacteria. Some common ingredients that kill bacteria and that can often be found in acne treatments are citrus, tea tree oil, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide so make sure you’re not combining these.
  • Vitamin C and Copper Peptides- Copper oxidizes the Vitamin C rapidly and doesn’t give it enough time to work so mixing these renders them both useless.

Some ways to fix these problems is to use the ingredients at different times of the day. For example use an AHA during the day and retinol at night or use one on one day and the other the next.  You also may see or even have some products that are actually made with some of these combinations in them, but know that they’re in smaller doses so they don’t have the same negative effect. With that being said, they also don’t have the same positive/full effect either so it’s up to you whether you’d rather have them mixed and not work as well or separate and get the maximum benefits.

Top: Agaci (linked this top a couple of weeks ago and now it’s 50% off!)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *