Here’s a quick guide to combining active ingredients for safe skin care

Not all ingredients work best for the skin. It is important to combine the right ones to achieve a long-lasting effect


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Skin care ingredients effectively treat your skin concerns like acne, aging, pigmentation and more at the cellular level. Because a single product may not be able to solve all of your skin concerns, it’s important to understand layering. Some active ingredients complement each other and provide additional benefits, while others should not be combined. The Derma Co presents an overview of what should and should never be paired together.

Active ingredients that work together perfectly

azelaic acid and niacinamide

. These ingredients have complementary benefits for your skin.

. They can be used together as these two ingredients target similar goals skin problems.

. This layer combination can help fight hyperpigmentation, boost collagen production for healthier skin, and prevent acne breakouts.

salicylic acid and niacinamide

. These two ingredients can be layered on top of each other for amazing skin benefits. Salicylic acid penetrates deep into the pores and frees them from excess sebum and impurities.

. Layering them helps control sebum production, fight blemishes and prevent essential oil loss.

. Reduce the signs of aging and prevent further breakouts.

Active ingredients that should be avoided together

Retinols and Vitamin C

These active ingredients cannot be mixed or layered on top of each other. Instead, using it in separate routines can help reduce signs of aging!

When using these ingredients, keep the following in mind:

. Both ingredients have different solubility requirements.

. The combination of treatments affects the effectiveness of the products.

. The pH can get out of balance.

. They must not dissolve or penetrate through the skin.

. May cause skin irritation if used on top of each other.

. Vitamin C can be used during the day while retinol can be used at night.

Vitamin C and AHAs/BHAs

Vitamin C is naturally highly acidic. It has an exfoliating effect on the skin, which is why it does not contain active ingredients such as:

. glycol

. salicylic acid

. lactic acids

. Using these with vitamin C will destabilize the pH balance and prevent it from working.

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