Skin Care Ingredients You Should Never Combine

Angelica Di Guglielmo
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KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

If you’re like us, your beauty cabinet is filled to the max with skin care products. Cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, you name it—it’s probably on your face. Most of the time, we rely on applying tons of products in hopes of achieving a healthy, glowing complexion. But in reality, mixing all these products and ingredients together could be doing us more harm than good.

While there are loads of skin care ingredients that go together like bread and butter, some are like oil and water. We want the absolute best out of our products–especially if they cost us a pretty penny–but if you don’t carefully look at the ingredients, you could be in for some trouble. When mixed, certain products can actually have a negative effect (or even cancel each other out), on your skin. We’ve compiled a list of a few skin care combinations you should avoid if you want the most out of your skin care and the beautiful complexion you’ve always dreamed of.

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AHA’s and Retinoids
Retinoids are products derived from vitamin A that are generally used to fight acne and aging. What they do is increase cell turnover, therefore sloughing off dead skin cells more quickly in order to help combat acne and signs of aging. With this, however, comes a fair share of skin irritation and sensitivity. AHAs–or alpha hydroxy acids–are actually found in certain fruits and milk and also increase cell turnover by dissolving dead skin cells. As you can imagine, this can also cause a significant amount of irritation on its own, so using something like this at the same time as a retinoid is a big no-no. However, some dermatologists recommend using AHAs and retinoids on alternating days.

Retinoids and Benzoyl Peroxide
The same principle of retinoids and AHAs applies to retinoids and benzoyl peroxide. While both treatments have been highly successful at treating acne, they shouldn’t be used together. Benzoyl peroxide is known for drying out the skin, so using it in conjunction with a retinoid could be highly irritating, as well as possibly counteractive.

Benzoyl Peroxide and Hydroquinone
Once pimples are cleared up, a lot of times they end up leaving a dark mark behind. That’s where hydroquinone comes in. Hydroquinone is an ingredient found in many skin lighteners and dark spot treatments. The only problem? When used in combination with benzoyl peroxide, it can actually stain your skin (not permanently though–phew!). You can use the two ingredients together, but just make sure it’s not in the same area. If you’re trying to lighten a spot, avoid putting any benzoyl peroxide treatments in that zone of your face and vice versa.

Octinoxate and Avobenzone
These two ingredients commonly comprise sunscreens, and for some reason, some manufacturers like to include both in one product. Before you go applying sunscreens or products with SPF, take a look at the ingredients. Octinoxate will actually degrade Avobenzone, making your sunscreen unstable and offering you less protection.

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