5 Skincare Ingredient Pairings That Don’t Go Well Together

Written by Sanya HamdaniNov 30, 2023
5 skincare ingredient pairings that don’t go well together

If you are a skincare enthusiast like us, you’d know all about skincare ingredients and the problems they tackle. Is dry and dehydrated skin troubling you? Hyaluronic acid is the way to go. Uneven skin and stubborn spots making your complexion dull? Vitamin C is all you need. Simply name a skin problem, and there’s an array of ingredients for getting rid of it.

However, some of these potent active ingredients may become less effective when mixed together. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your skincare products and ingredients, here are a few ingredient pairings you should avoid.


01. Niacinamide + Vitamin C

Retinol + Salicylic acid

Niacinamide and vitamin C work wonders for the skin, but not when they’re used together. Using these skincare ingredients individually can tackle a number of skin woes and take you several steps closer to the skin of your dreams. But niacinamide can decrease the efficacy of vitamin C and prevent you from achieving your skin goals. Use vitamin C in the morning before applying sunscreen, and save niacinamide for your PM skincare routine.


02. Hydroquinone + Benzoyl peroxide

Retinol + Salicylic acid

Benzoyl peroxide is a spot treatment for acne and blemishes, whereas hydroquinone lightens skin to fade dark spots and scars. The two ingredients, when mixed together, can result in a bleaching effect that may leave marks on your skin. Avoid unnecessary pigmentation by avoiding the use of these two ingredients together.


03. Salicylic acid + Glycolic acid

Retinol + Salicylic acid

Both salicylic and glycolic acid are exfoliating ingredients used to improve skin texture, prevent wrinkles, and treat acne. As both ingredients are drying, using them together can strip your skin of its natural oils and lead to irritation. The over exfoliation may also damage the protective barrier and lead to more skin woes.


04. Retinol + Vitamin C

Retinol + Salicylic acid

Individually, retinol and vitamin C help brighten the complexion, fade dark spots and delay the signs of ageing. But using them together won’t double the glow; instead, this may invite some skin problems like redness and skin irritation. It’s best to add vitamin C to your AM routine and use retinol in your PM routine.


05. Retinol + Salicylic acid

Retinol + Salicylic acid

Another retinol and acid pairing that you should avoid is that of salicylic acid. The BHA is drying in nature, and mixing it with retinol will result in skin irritation that will be too uncomfortable. Replace retinol with niacinamide as it will work in tandem with salicylic acid and calm the skin.

Sanya Hamdani

Written by

Sanya Hamdani is a skincare enthusiast and lipstick hoarder, she truly believes no two red lipsticks look exactly alike. With a Master's degree in Communication & Journalism and 5+ years of digital writing experience up her sleeve, Sanya has some of the biggest beauty experts in the country on her speed dial. When she's not swatching products or writing about the latest trends in beauty, you will find her watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.


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