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Skincare Ingredients You Should Never Mix

by Emily Linehan on January 13, 2022

Skincare ingredients have the ability to work some serious magic on the skin...from diminishing fine lines and wrinkles to clearing acne and enhancing glow, a synergistic routine is everything. 

However, just because skincare products are designed to be used together does not mean that they can all be used together. Unfortunately, using some skincare ingredients in combination can cause excessive dryness, irritation, redness, and inflammation which, while not only being uncomfortable, can sometimes trigger an acne response too. 

Knowing which skincare ingredients you should never mix is an important thing to understand no matter where you're at on your journey to healthier, more radiant skin!

Note: This advice is general and every single person has unique skin with unique needs. If your Emme Diane Skincare Routine differs from any of the advice below, do not worry! There are almost always exceptions. Always do a Check-In if you have questions about your routine, skincare ingredients, or anything else! 

Retinol and Vitamin C

Both Retinol and Vitamin C are active ingredients and can cause irritation and increased dryness when they are used together. However, just because I don't recommend combining them, or using them back to back, does not mean you can't incorporate both into your skincare routine! 

The trick is to make sure that you're using Retinol and Vitamin C products at different times of the day. This is why I always recommend the use of a Vitamin C Serum (like Antioxidant Serum) in the morning and Retinol Serum (like Pro-Retinol Serum) at night. 

AHA's (like Glycolic or Mandelic Acid) and BHA's (like Salicylic Acid)

Both of these ingredients perform the same task: they remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Because they both do this, using AHA's and BHA's together can cause irritation and redness do to the potency/strength. However, they can still be used within the same routine if they are layered appropriately and if the skin tolerates them.  

Different Forms of Retinols/Retinoids

The word "retinol" is usually used as a blanket term for all retinols in skincare. There are a variety of types of retinol and they shouldn't be used in combination. The reason being retinols are already powerful serums on their own and have a reputation for causing dryness and mild irritation. Doubling up on them can cause unnecessary added irritation with no added benefit. Read more about the different types of retinol here

Hydroquinone and Benzoyl Peroxide 

Hydroquinone is the most effective pigment corrector in skincare. It works by decreasing the production of melanocytes while increasing the breakdown of melanin to fade dark spots/hyperpigmentation (like in our Enlightened Serum). When hydroquinone is used with benzoyl peroxide, the two together can create pigmentation/staining on the skin. Though the staining is temporary, it's best to avoid combining these two ingredients all together. 

Eye Treatments and Benzoyl Peroxide 

Though not a singular ingredient, Eye Treatments and Benzoyl Peroxide should never be used together. When Eye Creams and Serums are applied properly (to the orbital bone), the applied product creates a little path directly up to your eye that Benzoyl Peroxide can creep up into (think of it like a marker bleeding on paper). The Benzoyl Peroxide will travel up to your eye and result in redness, puffiness, and irritation. This irritation can be so excessive that it's often mistaken for an allergic reaction.

If both Benzoyl Peroxide and Eye Creams/Serums are a part of your skincare routine, skip the eye care during the routines you apply your Acne Eraser (and also make sure you have washed off Acne Eraser thoroughly before you apply an Eye Cream). 

As always, if you have any questions about the ingredients in skincare, your skincare routine, or what would work best for your skin, please reach out!

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xoxo, Emme

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