If you’re as skincare-obsessed as me, you probably spend your evenings layering at least three different products on your face before you’ve even moisturised. if you don’t already layer your skincare, it’s a now’s the time to start – it’s a clever way of forcing ingredients into your skin and making each product work to its max. potential. But before you turn your bathroom into a laboratory, there are some need to know ingredients that don’t play well together…
Vitamin C is effectively an acid, so layering it with AHAs and BHAs like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids is a big no-no. It’s also really unstable so any acids you layer it with will destabilise the pH balance and render it completely useless before it even has chance to work its magic.
Retinol doesn’t exfoliate like AHAs and BHAs do, but it is a peeling agent so it does stimulate cell turnover to get rid of old and damaged skin cells. Mixing it with acids can cause dryness and irritation and damage the skin’s moisture barrier. Cry face.
Using retinol and Vitamin C together is yet another recipe for irritation, peeling, and redness. Together they’ll also increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun, meaning you’re at a much higher risk of burning and UV damage. Best practice is to use retinol at night and vitamin C by day.
It’s basic high school-level science: oil and water don’t mix. In fact, oil actually repels water, so when it comes to your skincare, using an oil-based product will leave a film on your skin which prevents water-based formulas from absorbing.
Both ingredients work by removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin, but more is not always better! Both are great ingredients used separately, but mixing the two will cause a major reaction and strip your skin. One word: ouch.
Used separately, both ingredients are great for treating blemish-prone and scarred skin, but combining them is a recipe for disaster. Niacinamide cancels out all of the good properties of vitamin C and turns it into a substance that causes redness and can trigger acne breakouts.
The fix? As long as you’re not layering the ingredients on top of each other, it’s totally fine to use them at different times of the day or week!