Skincare Ingredients that should never be used together

Vitamin C, Retinol, Sunscreen….

It’s as if all skin concerns have a solution nowadays. Looking to minimize the appearance of fine lines? Try retinol. Want a moisturizer that will keep your skin glowing and supple? Reach for something containing hyaluronic acid. Need to fade dark spots and renew skin? Look for vitamin C.

So many active ingredients, yet determining when and how to use these products can be a struggle particularly when you’re trying to find a routine that fits your skin type.

Amongst all active ingredients, sunscreen, vitamin C and retinol are the three that are suitable simple for everyday skincare. (It’s recommended to consult with a dermatologist to see what’s best for your skin type.)

The Do’s and Don’ts of how to integrate them into your daily routine:

Do combine Vitamin C + Sunscreen

Vitamin C and sunscreen are pair up well. Make sure to apply serum before sunscreen in the morning, and retinol cream in the evening.

Don’t combine Vitamin C + Retinol

Products that contain Vitamin C act as an antioxidant that can help fight skin damage caused by sun exposure and other environmental pollutants. Vitamin C is known for agents that brighten dark spots, collaging building to reduce fine lines, and overall appearance of skin.

Retinol and retinoids can improve brown spots and fine lines over time, but however can typically make skin more sensitive to light exposure.

It’s best to steer clear from mixing both ingredients and choose to use vitamin C serum in the morning and retinol cream before bed. That way both ingredients can work to their full potential without clashing.

Don’t combine Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids + Retinol

Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are commonly used in exfoliating products. It acts as a buffing agent removing the top layer of skin to improve discoloration over time. Retinols treat acne and aid in diminishing sun spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Using both at the same time can disrupt your pH level causing excessively dry, red and irritated skin. To avoid irritated skin, it is suggested to use them at various times of the day or even better, different days of the week.

Don’t combine Benzoyl Peroxide + Retinol

Retinol and Benzoyl used together are ineffective because both ingredients cancel each other out being incompatible. Any irritating products that contain acid should not be used with retinol such as a recent chemical peel or laser treatments.

Don’t combine Benzoyl Peroxide + Vitamin C

It’s not recommended to use Benzoyl and vitamin C products together because they can offset each other’s effects, i.e. benzoyl peroxide can oxides the vitamin C.

Combine Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids + Vitamin C CAREFULLY

Both hydroxy acid and vitamin C products can potentially work together since they both can perform in acidic environments. Being they are both made of acidic formulas, the combination of both can irritate the skin more.

Vitamin C and salicylic acid can work together for oily skin type, but it’s recommended to wait a few minutes in between applications.


The most important skincare product for all skin types is hands down sunscreen. SPF of 30 or greater is optimal, and remember to allow time to dry in between moisturizer.

Sun protection is key: if you aren’t wearing sunscreen, oils, retinols and vitamin C won’t work to its full advantage.

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