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8 Skincare Ingredients You Should Never Mix Together

Like bringing up politics at your in-laws’ dinner table or wearing closed-toe shoes right after a pedicure, there are some things you just shouldn’t mix together. And that goes for skincare too. Certain ingredients do not play well together — one product could cancel out the other’s effectiveness, or worse, seriously irritate your skin. While a few popular power-players shouldn’t be combined, other ingredients can actually boost each other’s efficacy. Follow our rules below for a supercharged skincare routine that’ll leave your skin gorgeous and glowing rather than red and uncomfortable.


1. Retinol and Vitamin C: Combining these two all-stars won’t necessarily harm your skin, but it’s best to avoid it if possible. “Vitamin C can become inactive with small variations in a solution’s pH, like when you add retinol into the mix,” explains Michelle Henry, an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. (Photo via Petri Oeschger/ Getty)

Young woman applying moisturizer in mirror.

2. Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) and Hydroquinone: These ingredients are not buddies on your skin’s playground. “Using BPO, a popular treatment for acne, is essentially like dropping a bomb to eradicate any p. acnes bacteria on your skin,” says Dendy Engelman, an NYC-based board-certified dermatologic surgeon. “Hydroquinone, on the other hand, is a skin lightening agent that’s used to reduce pigment in your skin, and when you toss these two very potent ‘bleaching’ compounds together, it can cause hypopigmentation.”

3. Vitamin C and AHAs: “When vitamin C and AHAs (like glycolic, lactic, or malic acid) are used in conjunction, they cancel out the effects or can be irritating on the skin,” Engelman says. “Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and AHA chemically exfoliates, so together, these acids can destabilize each other.”

4. Retinol and Acne Treatments: With the exception of the prescription acne gel Epiduo (which is specifically formulated to co-exist with retinol), “BPO and retinoids should not be used together since they deactivate each other, rendering the retinoid ineffective,” explains Engelman.

the Ingredients You Should Mix Together

Woman applying skincare.

1. Vitamin C and Sunscreen: “Antioxidants, like vitamin C, work to neutralize free radical damage from sun exposure and environmental aggressors, while sunscreens work to deflect (if you’re using a physical one) or absorb (if you’re using a chemical one) damaging UV rays, offering maximum protection against cell damage,” says Engelman. Look for a serum like Isdinceutics Flavo-C Serum ($84), which allows antioxidants to penetrate deep into the skin, and a mineral sunscreen with tint, like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Sunscreen ($34), to protect from both the sun and pollutants. (Photo via Peopleimages/ Getty)

2. AHA/BHAs and Ceramides: “While AHAs and BHAs (like salicylic acid) help to remove the top layers of skin by weakening the lipids that bond them together (thus revealing healthy skin cells), ceramides help to restore the skin by holding the cells, locking in moisture, and acting as a barrier against pollution and bacteria,” says Engelman. Which means applying ceramide-rich formulas really helps hydrate and strengthen skin. To upgrade your regimen, try something like iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliant ($60) at night, and follow up with Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Restoring Serum ($44 for 30 capsules).

3. Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid: “Retinoids help to accelerate cell turnover by pushing younger cells to the skin’s surface, and although they’re a fantastic anti-ager, they can be irritating and induce desquamation (or skin peeling),” explains Engelman. On the other hand, “[hyaluronic acid (HA)] helps to hydrate the skin, combating both the irritation and peeling caused by retinoids.” For those struggling with acne, she recommends trying Differin Acne Treatment Gel ($11), an over-the-counter retinoid that’s gentle enough for sensitive skin. For those who prefer HA in serum form, try the Revision Hydrating Serum ($82.50), which is light, absorbs quickly, and contains a blend of natural fruit extracts to keep skin uniformly hydrated.

Are you using any products with these ingredients already? Let us know @BritandCo!

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(Featured photo via PLAINVIEW/ Getty)

Alright, folks. We've officially made it to fall. And if you haven't already started switching out your decor (as long as it's ready by Friendsgiving, right?) you still have time to do so. Draw inspiration from this round-up of new home products that includes harvest-inspired candles, cozy linens and textiles, and a v. practical piece of furniture. One scroll through these, and you'll have all the motivation you need to transition the seasons. Scroll on to start shopping.

Prism x LOREM Collection ($96+): Calling all Cali babes. The popular Long Beach boutique, Prism, announced a boho-fabulous collab with home decor line, LOREM, that we can't get enough of. Shop everything from plant hangers (eight options, to be exact) to artwork, all inspired by the very colorful vibes of the brands. If you were looking for a cheery way to tide you through winter, this. is. it!

Floyd Mattress (Price TBD): Fans of the cult-favorite Detroit-based brand will love their latest launch debuting on October 29. The highly-coveted Floyd Mattress will have the same made-to-last design and superior comfort as their other furnishings, tailored perfectly to fit the line's in-demand bed frame. Additional details for the mattress include a breathable foam material, highly-mobile packaging, and a low-profile design to secure your best night's sleep yet. Check back on the last week of the month to get one for yourself.

Dims 'Composed Vanity' ($595): Small space? No problem! Direct-to-consumer brand, Dims, is giving you a quick and stylish solution to your storage needs with their newest item that doubles as both a desk and vanity. The functional piece is made with non-toxic, chemical-free materials and can be assembled in seven minutes or less. Throw in four sleek shades to choose from, and this may just be your best purchase of 2019 yet!

Saatchi Art x The Citizenry Holiday Collection ($225+): Get ready to deck your walls this holiday season. Saatchi Art partnered with The Citizenry in a one-of-a-kind collection that features a curation of art across styles. Explore everything from modern to abstract creations in a selection so stunning, it's bound to spark a conversation at your next gathering.

NEST Spiced Orange & Clove Collection ($16+): If you haven't experienced the addicting aromas of the beloved NEST fragrance brand, this is the perfect time to get on board! The label recently released their latest scent — spiced orange & clove — just in time for all your gatherings. Inhale festive notes of orange pomander, spiced brandy, cinnamon, and gingered honey across their suite of candles and diffusers to bring all the good vibes to your home.

Bloomingdales x RiLEY Home ($19+): RiLEY Home gets millennials. So they teamed up with Bloomingdales to make shopping their selection more attainable than ever. Now, you can get in on long-lasting, luxurious staples like flannel sheets, bedding, printed throws, premium pet beds, and more, by shopping online and in-stores at the department store. (Trust us: These dream goods are ones you're going to be *glad* you stocked-up on.)

Italic Serene Towels ($12+): The luxury brand that prides itself on using the *same* factories namesake brands (like Calvin Klein and Lacoste) use, but without the price tag behind them, brings you a new product for fall. Treat yourself to Italic's ultra-soft towel set spun from fluffy, 100% Australian cotton, in a convenient set of six. Consider it the perfect indulgence after a long soak in the tub on a cozy FNI (Friday night in)!

Hyascent x Neiman Marcus ($169): 'Tis the season for a delightfully scented home. Warm your abode with scents like bourbon joy, cheeky rose and more in a unique diffuser that doubles more as decor than a fragrance-inducer. Fresh off the (online) shelves of Neiman Marcus, explore nine scents that last up to six months in a specialized hourglass holder. (Shhh! Your friends will never know the secret of why your place smells so darn good!)