4 skincare ingredients you should never mix

14 March, 2023 / words by IALH Editorial Team

Written by Alicia Lartey

Image by @raiska

When it comes to skincare ingredients it is hard to know exactly what you can and cannot mix. To some degree there are not many skincare ingredients that you can’t mix, but the key to ingredient success is to find product formulations that are designed with the ingredients you desire to mix in an already made complete formula. That being said, a lot of skincare mistakes that lead to irritation are the result of people doubling up on skincare actives. There are a few rules that you can follow to reduce your risk of causing irritation.

1) Do not mix exfoliants with an impaired skin barrier

If you start to notice tingling in your skin, redness or small clusters of breakouts this may indicate that your skin barrier is damaged. When your skin suffers damage it is vital that you stop trying new products, as well as removing any exfoliants within your routine. You would need to give your skin a minimum of two weeks to return to normal, but always remember that this process could take longer. If you were to leave exfoliants in your routine, you run the risk of causing further damage and possibly hyperpigmentation (everyone’s least favourite concern).

2) Do not mix tretinoin with your moisturiser

Okay firstly, don’t panic, I am happy to confirm that it is perfectly safe to mix your tretinoin with your moisturiser during application, however it is not advised to squeeze a whole tube of tretinoin into your moisturiser. Whilst this seems like a clever hack to make your tretinoin journey more pleasant, you are actually running the risk of breeding some nasty microbes in your new concoction. Tretinoin is relatively unstable and by adding this to your moisturiser, you could potentially ruin the preservative system in your moisturiser.

3) Do not mix your sunscreen with any other skincare step

You may have seen some people recommending that you mix your SPF in with a moisturiser or serum to make the whole application step a lot easier, but this is a big NO NO. SPF forms a film on the skin, these film forming ingredients would be disrupted if you were to mix your SPF in with other skincare products. As a result, you would not be receiving adequate sun protection. 

4) Do not mix exfoliants together to make them stronger

Exfoliating products can be particularly finicky and without very specific ingredient knowledge, it could be a recipe for disaster! The skin has a natural process of desquamation (skin cell shedding) and exfoliants help this process along the way. As we know AHAs and BHAs have different properties, if you wanted to benefit from both types of acids I would always suggest using one type of acid in a wash off product and the other acid in a leave on product. This would help to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

If you are ever unsure of your skincare needs, it is always best to contact a skincare professional who can advise you.


IALH Editorial Team


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