are your skin-care products destroying each other?

Illustration by Malin Bergstrom

avoid this skin-care nightmare

Day and night, you strive to be the devout skin caretaker your grandmother always wanted you to be. You cleanse, tone, treat, moisturize, and protect with sunscreen (right?!). But some of your products may render each other less effective or even cause damage. Not only are you doing your skin a disservice, it is literally absorbing costs. 

Many popular ingredients—such as retinol, vitamin C, and exfoliating acids—don’t perform at their maximum effectiveness if you use them together. Certain mixtures can cause severe dryness, irritability, inflammation, and even burning, hindering your skin’s ability to look and feel its happiest.

Don’t be daunted just yet—we have two skin experts on board to help sift through all the confusing information: Celebrity aesthetician Renee Rouleau, who’s responsible for the luminous complexions of Sofia Vergara and Demi Lovato, and Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, a straight-to-the-facts dermatologist and founder of Epionce Skincare. 

Whether it’s instant irritation or two products competing on your skin, make sure you’re attentive about what you feed your face. Click through the gallery to see which ingredients you shouldn't be using at the same time. Glow on!

Retinols + Benzoyl Peroxide

These two ingredients have been shown to deactivate each other when they’re used together, according to Rouleau, who adds that “side effects could include peeling, redness, increased pigment and discoloration, and burning of the skin.” Dr. Thornfeldt says, “Benzoyl peroxide will damage pretty much any other anti-aging product out there.”

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