Maybe that's a little extreme, but you still have to wonder: Can your favorite glow tonic and your favorite retinol serum play nicely together? Can you mix a potent vitamin C serum with a glycolic acid-packed cleanser? All of the possible combinations and nuances can get a bit confusing so we talked with two board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Mona Gohara and Dr. Purvisha Patel, to learn how best to mix our favorite skin care ingredients. Keep reading for their dos and don't's.
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Retinol and Vitamin C
Two of the hottest skin care ingredients of the moment might be a little too harsh to be used together, so Gohara actually recommends using them in different parts of your routine. "I like using vitamin C in the morning, right after I get out of the shower, and use a retinol at night," she says. Since "ultraviolet light can inactivate retinol" and "Vitamin C makes a good warrior against free radicals you come in contact with during the day," you get the best of both worlds that way. Gohara notes that this logic holds true for other antioxidants as well.
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Vitamin C and AHAs
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid, which begs the question: Is it overdoing it to mix it with your favorite acid toner? Gohara gives you the go-ahead, though watch for overdrying.
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Retinol and AHAs
Though they're cornerstone ingredients in a lot of skin care routines, you might want to avoid mixing your retinols and AHAs. "Retinols and AHAs may be too irritating to layer on top of each other," cautions Gohara. Patel adds that strong concentrations can "cause increased skin peeling and even redness/irritation."
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Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid and Retinol
You've probably noticed that antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid are often used together — and that's because the addition of ferulic acid actually helps stabilize the vitamins C and E while also boosting their efficacy. Throw just the right amount of retinol in there and you're really cooking with gas — though it's worth pointing out that Patel recommends searching for a product that combines them (like Visha Skincare Advanced Correcting Serum with Illuminotex) rather than trying to layer them together yourself.
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