Skincare 101: Do’s & Don’ts of Mixing Skincare Products

We’re told that it’s OK (actually that it’s better) for your hair if you mix and match your shampoo and conditioner.

Well, don’t make the same mistake with your skincare products!

Using different skincare products like facial cleansers, scrubs, acne creams, face masks, and sunscreens can do more harm then good since incompatible ingredients can lead to skin irritation and breakouts.

Thanks to’s recent interview with Los Angeles-based dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., now you’ll know the Do’s & Don’ts of Mixing Skincare Products!

 1. Carefully Check Ingredient Labels: Some ingredients become less effective when layered and can even completely cancel each other out. Some examples are Copper peptides (found in anti-aging moisturizers and serums) which counteract with Vitamin C which can also be found in anti-aging products.”  “Alpha Hydroxy Acids and retinols also shouldn’t be mixed together or applied at the same time, as one degrades the other,” according to Dr. Shamban.

2. Acne Products: If you layer on high concentrations of powerful pimple fighters like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and retinols at the same time, you may face a bigger problem than when you started. Skin can become inflamed, ruddy, dry, and acne can get worse! “The package inserts on most retinol products say not to use salicylic acid with them,” explains Dr. Shamban. “However, it all depends on your skin tolerance. Both ingredients are quite drying—try using one in the morning and another in the evening for optimal results.”

3. Do Mix Skincare with Sunscreen: “Your normal skin care regime of cleanser and moisturizer won’t interfere with the SPF effectiveness and shouldn’t irritate your skin,” says Dr. Shamban. You can even layer on an antioxidant serum to boost your UV protection.

To avoid unwanted side effects, keep your routine basic. Stick to one active ingredient in the morning and another one at night.

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