Skin Care Ingredients That Shouldn’t Mix Expert advice

Instead, Robinson and Chan recommend relegating benzoyl peroxide to your morning routine and retinol to your nighttime routine. Neutrogena’s Stubborn Acne + Marks range makes this easy to remember.

Benzoyl peroxide (or BPO, as Robinson calls it) pairs well with a prescription-grade ingredient called topical clindamycin, which “works synergistically with BPO to fight acne-causing bacteria,” says Robinson. . Retinol, on the other hand, works best with hydrating formulas based on glycerin, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, she adds.

5. Retinol and AHA

Another recipe for major irritation is retinol mixed with alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic, lactic, and citric. “Both of these ingredients disrupt the skin barrier,” Chan explains. If you double your skin tone with them, excessive dryness, redness, tenderness or rash are very possible results.

Instead, alternate the days you cast them. Once or twice a week, Chan achieves an AHA with a concentration of 10-20%. The other days – and if his skin does not act – the retinol is put into action.

Rosen Skincare Paloma AHA / BHA Serum

6. Retinol and salicylic acid

Another marriage of acid and retinol that should be avoided includes that of the beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) variety. Salicylic acid, in particular, is far too drying and irritating for your skin to resist, says Shirazi.

Shirazi also suggests that niacinamide replaces both salicylic acid and retinol, as it has anti-inflammatory properties to help calm the skin. Along with salicylic acid, niacinamide effectively banishes rashes by regulating sebum production, shrinking clogged pores, and exfoliating the skin, she says.

Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% on white background

Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Collagen peptides, which increase the elasticity and firmness of the skin, are another good option in place of salicylic acid, as retinol improves their penetration. “The combination of these ingredients does not lead to irritation or excessive exfoliation, which keeps the skin barrier healthy,” says Shirazi.

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7. Dapsone aka Aczone & Benzoyl Peroxide

You know how they say if you eat too many carrots you will start to look like them? Well, smoothing topical dapsone and benzoyl peroxide at the same time can cause the same type of orange discoloration on your skin without consuming a single carrot, according to Chan. Stick to just one of the anti-acne ingredients at a time to keep your true colors. Also, keep in mind that salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are still a viable pairing.

8. Benzoyl peroxide and hydroquinone

One of the crucial tips dermatologists share with their patients prescribing hydroquinone is to avoid fusing it with benzoyl peroxide in your skin care routine. Together, they can do the exact opposite of what you want them to do and end up temporarily staining your skin.

9. Hydroquinone and AHA

Like retinol, hydroquinone and AHAs can cause irritation on their own, Chan says. You can also avoid the problem as much as possible by separating them from your morning and night routines or looking for a hydroquinone substitute, like tranexamic acid, licorice extract, or vitamin C. We love the anti-serum. Eadem Milk Marvel spots as an alternative.

A bottle of a milky white Eadem Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum and a red box on a white background

Eadem Milk Marvel Anti-Dark Spot Serum

Overall, Chan advocates using any potentially irritating ingredient alone for at least a few weeks. “If a certain ingredient causes skin irritation on its own, you absolutely should not use it with other potentially irritating ingredients,” she explains. “Even a ubiquitous ingredient like niacinamide can potentially irritate the skin.”

Also, giving your skin breaks from the actives is extremely important, adds Chan. If you notice any irritation or dryness, be sure to seek advice from a certified dermatologist and in the meantime try a gentle cleanser and heavy moisturizer.


Learn more about the science of skin care:


Now watch a sanitation worker’s complete beauty routine:

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