7 Skincare Ingredients To Not Mix Together in Your Skincare Routine

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You’ve probably heard that two wrongs don’t make a right. Similarly, you should not layer any skincare product together, regardless of what the skincare guru on Instagram says about the experiment.

With the constant bombardment of beauty information mixed in with a lot of advertising, it can be hard to identify the important skincare ingredients to avoid and those you should have in your skincare regimen. 

In this article, learn everything about skincare ingredients to not mix together.

7 Skincare Ingredients To Not Mix Together in Your Skincare Routine

There are many ingredients in skin care products that can be irritating and can cause breakouts or other problems for your skin when used incorrectly. 

In order for you to get the most out of the products that you use, you’ll want to avoid mixing these ingredients because they are known to interact negatively with one another and can cause some adverse reactions.

Here’s everything you should know about what skincare products not to mix.

1. Vitamin C and Retinol

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can brighten and even out the skin tone, while Retinol is an effective anti-aging ingredient. However, Vitamin C and Retinol don’t work well together because they’re both active ingredients.

Skincare ingredients to not mix

Retinol promotes collagen formation, but it also stimulates skin cell turnover; thus, combining it with an acid like Vitamin C may cause irritation. Instead, use vitamin C in your morning skincare routine and Retinol at night hours.

Retinol also works best when combined with moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides. However, before you incorporate it into your routine, it is important to learn how to start using Retinol as a beginner.

2. Vitamin C and AHAs/BHAs

The combination of AHAs and BHAs with Vitamin C can irritate your skin since all of them are acidic ingredients. There are plenty of good reasons to use these ingredients separately, and it’s best to avoid layering them together.

Vitamin c and AHA

Vitamin C helps protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It also increases collagen production, which helps prevent wrinkles and fine lines from forming over time.

AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) are chemical exfoliants that remove dead cells from the surface of your skin so that new cells can grow underneath them.

They also help reduce acne breakouts because they can penetrate into clogged pores and clear out blackheads. But combining them together is an absolute no-no!

3. Vitamin C and Benzoyl peroxide

If you’ve been using these ingredients together, you may have noticed that your skin hasn’t been shining as you’d hoped. The reason? Vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide don’t mix well together.

Benzoyl peroxide can cause vitamin C to oxidize, which means it degrades or breaks down. Because of this, the benefits of vitamin C are nullified by the presence of benzoyl peroxide in the formula.


So what should you do if you want to use both? These two will need to be kept apart, just like retinoids. And since vitamin C works so well in the morning, only use it in the morning.

Use benzoyl peroxide at night before bedtime instead of during daytime hours when your body is more active and tends not to absorb nutrients, as well as at nighttime when your body is winding down for sleep (but still absorbing things).

4. Retinol and Benzoyl Peroxide

Retinol and Benzoyl Peroxide are two of the most effective ingredients for treating acne. However, similar to Vitamin C, when these two ingredients are mixed together, they cancel each other out and render both of them less effective.

Retinol and Benzoyl

This makes it more likely that your skin will get irritated, especially if you use them both in high concentrations.

Moreover, using two similar ingredients to treat the same skin concern is unnecessary because they simply aren’t as effective as using one ingredient alone would be.

Furthermore, using such harsh ingredients at a time can leave your skin dry and irritated since you’re applying two very drying agents at once.

5. Benzoyl Peroxide and AHAs/BHAs

BHA (salicylic acid) and benzoyl peroxide are both exfoliating ingredients, which means you may end up irritating your skin if you use them together.

Using these two ingredients at the same time can lead to excessively dry skin, so it is best to be cautious and not mix these two ingredients together in your skincare routine.

Benzoyl Peroxide AHAsBHAs

Benzoyl peroxide also has a tendency to make AHAs/BHAs less effective, so using them together is a double whammy in terms of drying out and irritating your face.

If you’re going to use benzoyl peroxide with an AHA or BHA, try to keep the two things apart and see how your skin handles it before slathering on the rest of your skincare routine.

6. Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid

Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are both acids that help exfoliate the skin. They get rid of dead skin cells on the surface, which unclogs pores and makes your complexion look smoother and more even.

glycolic and salicylic

However, these two ingredients can be quite harsh on their own—so using both at once could cause a lot of irritation or damage to your skin barrier.

If you’re using glycolic or salicylic acid in your routine and don’t want to stop altogether (they do work wonders), opt for something milder like lactic acid instead.

7. Retinoids and AHA/BHA

Retinoids are a general term for any product that goes on the skin and has vitamin A in it, and Retinols are also one type of Retinoid. They have a higher concentration of the product, and the way vitamin A is made in this form makes it easier for it to turn over skin cells faster.

retinol and AHa BHAs

 Since both Retinol and AHA/BHA remove dead skin cells and speed up cell turnover, using them together can cause the skin to go into overdrive and become irritated.

These ingredients should be applied at different times so that one does not counteract another. For example, you would apply your gentle exfoliator first before using your strong anti-aging treatment because you don’t want to remove all of your healthy new collagen just yet.

Summary: What Skincare Ingredients To Not Mix

To make it easy to remember, here’s a summary of skincare ingredients that shouldn’t be combined:

  • Don’t use Vitamin C with – Retinol, Benzoyl Peroxide, AHAs/BHAs
  • Don’t use Benzoyl Peroxide with – Vitamin C, Retinol, AHAs/BHA
  • Don’t use Retinol/Retinoids with – Benzoyl Peroxide, Vitamin C, AHAs/BHA
  • Don’t use AHAs/BHAs with – Vitamin C, Retinoids, and Benzoyl Peroxide.

The bottom line is simple. When it comes to your skincare routine, you want to be more careful about what you put on your skin and be aware of the common mixing mistakes.

We hope this article was able to shed some light on what skincare ingredients to not mix to help you avoid any future breakouts.

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Swaliha Baza, born and raised in Mumbai, India writes fashion-related blogs focusing on modest fashion. She provides readers with a wide selection of modest clothing ideas, outfit inspiration, and styling guides in order to assist them in finding the right modest style for themselves.

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