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Listen Up Retinol Users: These Ingredients Are Not Safe To Pair

Retinoid is the longest studied anti-aging compound and is known for its major skin benefits. It has the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, combat acne, and even out skin tone. However, as much as it is a powerful anti-aging and acne-fighting substance, there are a lot of dos-and-don’ts to factor in while using it.

A major don’t when it comes to using this product is to avoid mixing it with certain skincare items. Here are some products that you should avoid like the plague if you are a user of retinoid or retinol.

Photo by @Jocelyn Morales on Unsplash

Vitamin C

While these two seem like a great skincare pairing, they are quite the opposite. Using vitamin C and retinol in tandem is quite counterintuitive—the vitamin c increases your skin’s pH levels, whereas the retinol will decrease your pH. This will cause the products to cancel one another out, leaving your skin as the way it was before.

You can still use vitamin c if you are using retinol. However, be sure to divide them between your morning and evening skincare routine. Using retinol at night, then vitamin C in the morning is a good combination to practice.


Another deceivingly good pairing for retinol—AHA and BHA’s are not a good mix with retinol. AHA and BHA’s are known for their exfoliating characteristics which can dry out the skin. Using retinol in tandem with AHA and BHA can lead to further irritation because both products are extremely drying.

Mixing these two can also wreck your skin barrier. These products are known for their quick and effective properties because of how strong they are. Using two harsh actives will compromise the barrier therefore beware.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is another skincare product that cancels out the workings of retinol. It has the ability to deactivate the retinol molecule—rendering both products ineffective.

Again to avoid this, splitting the two products between your day and night routine. It is recommended that you use your benzoyl peroxide in your morning, while you use the retinol at night.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic is a great product to clear breakouts. Using it with a retinol—not so great. Combining these two in your routine can lead to more irritation to the skin. Which is not-so ideal.

Hopefully this will guide you in the right direction to what changes need to be made in your skincare routine. So you can enjoy happy, healthier, and glowing skin!


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