With beauty brands offering more potent ingredients in skincare than ever before, we’re all becoming our own at-home beauty mixologists.
But do you really know what skincare ingredients should and shouldn’t be used together? From acids to retinol, here’s what you should never mix and match in order to avoid skin sensitivity…
Vitamin C + Acids
Vitamin C is amazing at brightening areas of pigmentation, stimulating collagen and protecting against environmental factors. But, it’s an extremely unstable antioxidant – meaning you have to be careful what you use it with.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (such as glycolic and lactic acid – both found in chemical exfoliants and peels); and salicylic acid (in spot treatments) are too strong for Vitamin C to take. They will change the pH and basically render it useless.
Must-try Vitamin C: Elizabeth Arden Vitamin C Ceramide Capsules Radiance Renewal Serum, from R599 for 30 capsules. It makes use of potent vitamin C to help reveal the skin’s radiance and then soothe with ceramides. It also comes packaged in neat and easy to use biodegradable capsules.
Exfoliators + Skin Brightening Treatments
Whether it’s a toning lotion or grainy scrub, exfoliators work by encouraging dry and dead skin cells to be removed. The thing is, ‘brightening’ products often contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids, which encourage skin cells to peel and therefore do pretty much the same thing! This double dose of exfoliation can lead to your skin becoming sensitive and super dry.
Must-try Exfoliator: Skinderm’s Pure Exfoliating Glo Pads, R395 for 30 pads, are our beauty editor’s go-to for chemical exfoliation at the minute. It contains both alpha-and-beta hydroxy acids which are incredible skin smoothers.
Retinol + Acne Treatments
Retinols are designed to speed up cell turnover and smooth the appearance of skin and fine lines. Because of this, they can often result in slight skin peeling from all the exfoliation.
Pair with a pure acne treatment (like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide) that are designed to slough away skin cells and dry up blemishes. You’ll be in for a case of extreme dryness, redness and irritation.
Must-try Retinol: L’Oreal Revitalift Night Cream, R184,95 for 50ml, works to stimulate cell renewal in the skin overnight.
Retinol + Alpha Hydroxy Acids + The Sun!
Using retinol and AHAs together is another recipe for redness and irritation. Both increase photosensitivity in the skin – meaning you’re at a much higher risk of burning, even in cloudy weather.
If you’re using any kind of retinol or skin brightening AHA make sure you’re wearing a daily SPF 50, and use them in the evening to further lessen the risk of UV damage.
Must-try Sun Screen: Nivea Sun UV Face Q10 Anti-Age & Anti-Pigments SPF 50, R129,95 for 50ml, leaves skin feeling moisturised and helps stave off sun-induced pigmentation.
So which skincare ingredients CAN you mix?
Retinol or AHAs + Hyaluronic Acid
When using retinol, an AHA or other exfoliating product, it’s important to replenish hydration back into the skin.
Hyaluronic Acids are light enough for retinol to still penetrate through, yet give your skin an instant hit of moisture and help with irritation.
Must-try Hyaluronic Acid: Vichy Mineral 89 Fortifying and Plumping Daily Booster, R350 for 50ml, is best applied while skin is still a tiny bit damp, as hyaluronic acid will cling to the moisture particles and plump up your skin.
Words: Chloe Burcham. Additional Words: Martinique Stevens
A scent obsessed beauty editor with a flair for fashion and an affinity for anything kawaii. When she’s not researching skincare ingredient lists for the latest low-down on what this or that compound or chemical does on the skin, you can expect to find her off-loading stress at the gym, enjoying a salsa dancing social or hunting for the latest fragrance.