Ingredients That Don't Mix Well

We love ingredients at Eccotique. AHA’s, vitamin C and retinols all have amazing benefits but using them together, does it make them less or more effective?


A couple months ago we talked about which skincare ingredients pair well together. And while some things are in fact better together, there are other things that are not. Some ingredients don’t do justice for one another and can even have harmful and irritating effects on the skin even if they have similar benefits. When powerful ingredients share the spotlight, your skin can become irritated and sensitized which can cause further damage and make you nervous about using these products moving forward. But you can have all the good things if you use them properly!

Retinols and AHA’s don’t mix!

Retinols and AHA’s such as glycolic acid and lactic acid are all great when it comes to repairing aging skin and making it appear more youthful. However these are both very active ingredients that exfoliate the outermost layer of your skin, therefore they can cause your skin’s barrier to become compromised, dry and sensitized. So more isn’t exactly better in this case. The safest way to pair these ingredients is to use them on alternating days. If you have very tolerant skin than there are other safe ways, for example if you have a low percentage retinol in a moisturizer or a small percentage of AHA in a cleanser then you may be able to pair those together but it is always better to proceed with caution when mixing ingredients. 

Retinols and Vitamin C don’t mix!

Another pair of ingredients that can provide wonderful results. Vitamin C is great for aging skin, pigmentation and is a powerful antioxidant which protects against free radical damage. Retinol fights signs of aging by exfoliating and helps increase the production of collagen and elastin. These two products thrive at different times of the day; Vitamin C in the day and Retinol works better at night. Light causes retinol to not work as effectively and causes the skin to be sensitive to UV rays and sunlight. They have two very different functions and are both active so they should never be mixed together.

Vitamin C and AHA’s don’t mix!

Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient but it is an incredibly unstable ingredient to use because it can oxidize or neutralize easily. Since it is very pH sensitive, pairing it with an AHA cause decrease the effectiveness of the ingredient. They are both active as well so as with the other pairings, your skin can becomes sensitized and irritated when combining these two.

Retinol and Salicylic Acid don’t (always) mix!

I’ll explain why these two pairing can sometimes work! Using retinols with BHA’s can be tough because retinols are also unstable and mixing it with SA can cause redness, dryness and irritation. Because of that we recommend using your SA in the morning and retinol as directed at night. 

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Okay so this one is a little tricky because the rule, generally, is no. However Dermalogica decided to challenge this idea and created an amazing Retinol Clearing Oil which does have salicylic acid in it. It is in a lipid base which makes it more stable and soothing to the skin as well as time released retinol. The design of this product maximizes the effects of both ingredients without having harsh effects on the skin!

If you’re also interested in learning about skincare ingredients that do work better when paired together, CLICK HERE read our blog on it for all the information!

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