5 essential rules for combining active ingredients

RRylee October 3, 2023 7:07 AM

Active ingredients are the backbone of many skincare products. They hold the real power in affecting the way your skin looks and feels. If used correctly, these ingredients can work wonders on your skin. But, if mishandled, they could lead to skin problems and irritation. It's all about knowing which active ingredients work well together and which ones don’t. To help you navigate through this, here are the five essential rules for combining active ingredients in skincare.

Understand what active ingredients are

Active ingredients in skincare are the components that are biologically active. These are the ones doing all the hard work, treating your skin concerns and making your skin healthier. The most commonly used active ingredients include retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and salicylic acid. Each of these active ingredients has different functions and works differently on the skin.

Rule 1: Never mix Vitamin C with Retinol or AHAs

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that brightens up your skin and counteracts the damage done by free radicals. On the other hand, retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are excellent exfoliators. They can improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

However, mixing these active ingredients can make vitamin C less effective and even cause skin irritation. This is because vitamin C requires a low pH to remain stable, while retinol and AHAs work at a higher pH level.

Rule 2: Combine Hyaluronic Acid with Niacinamide

Hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are best pals in skincare. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that retains moisture in your skin, making it plump and hydrated. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce redness and blotchiness.

When combined, these two active ingredients can improve skin hydration and tone, making your skin look healthier and younger.

Rule 3: Don't mix Salicylic Acid with Retinol

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that can penetrate your pores to dissolve excess sebum and dead skin cells. It's excellent for treating acne and blackheads. On the other hand, retinol boosts your skin's collagen production, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Mixing these two active ingredients can cause over-exfoliation and skin irritation. It's best to use them separately, preferably retinol at night and salicylic acid during the day.

Rule 4: Combine Peptides with Vitamin C

Peptides are small protein fragments that stimulate collagen production in the skin. When combined with vitamin C, they can help improve skin elasticity and firmness, reducing the signs of aging.

Rule 5: Avoid combining multiple acids

While acids like AHAs, BHAs, and vitamin C have their unique benefits, combining them can lead to skin irritation. It's best to use them separately or choose a single product that combines them at lower concentrations.

Rules Do's Don't's
Rule 1 Use Vitamin C, Retinol, AHAs separately Don't mix Vitamin C with Retinol or AHAs
Rule 2 Combine Hyaluronic Acid with Niacinamide --
Rule 3 Use Salicylic Acid and Retinol separately Don't mix Salicylic Acid with Retinol
Rule 4 Combine Peptides with Vitamin C --
Rule 5 Use AHAs, BHAs, and Vitamin C separately Avoid combining multiple acids

Remember, skincare is a personal journey and everyone's skin reacts differently to different active ingredients. Always do a patch test before trying a new product or active ingredient and consult a dermatologist if you have any doubts or concerns.

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