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The Do’s and Don’ts of Skincare Combining

The Do’s and Don’ts of Skincare Combining

The good, the bad, and the misunderstood - let’s talk skincare combinations.

Typically when people talk about combining skincare ingredients, they’re talking about active ingredients. We hear the buzz phrase “active ingredients” all the time, but what does it actually mean? Well active ingredients have strong scientific evidence to back up their claims and generally can achieve their desired results, so ingredients like L-Ascorbic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Beta Hydroxy Acids, Retinol, and Niacinamide (plus a few more) are all active ingredients.

The Good:

Glycolic Acid (AHA) and Salicylic Acid (BHA): This combination is a winner for us because it’s effective, tackles multiple concerns, and is typically tolerated well by most people (depending on concentration, ingredients, and use). Glycolic Acid works on the surface layers of the skin to slough off dead skin cells and is anti-aging, brightening, and texture refining. Salicylic Acid on the other hand can make it into the deeper layers of the skin to clean out pores and prevent breakouts. Since they work in different areas of the skin the potential for irritation is low, but we do still recommend consulting with one of our licensed Estheticians to talk about which product is best for you. We love the Herbivore Prism 12% AHA 3% BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum for it’s effective concentration of AHAs and BHAs, but also for it’s additions of soothing Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.

The Bad:

Retinol and LAA (L-Ascorbic Acid): While not inherently bad on their own, when used at the same time Retinol and LAA can have a neutralizing effect on each other. Retinol and LAA are considered “active” within their specific pH levels. LAA works best at a more acidic pH ( 3.5), while Retinol works best at a more alkaline pH (typically 5.5-6.0). So what can we do if we want to use both of the ingredients with amazing results?

A great option would be to separate your LAA (AM) and Retinol (PM) products.

However, if you want a more simple routine Overt’s The Restorer Serum is a powerhouse anti-aging serum that contains peptides, Retinol, and Ascorbyl Glucoside. Ascorbyl Glucoside has a pH ranging from 5.0-8.0 (typically made in the lower end of the spectrum) which makes it a much more effective pairing with Retinol since it falls into a more alkaline pH range.

The Misunderstood:

Niacinamide and LAA: This combination actually isn’t bad, just misunderstood. This misunderstanding comes from the concerns of Niacinamide converting to Nicotinic Acid. Nicotinic Acid can have a temporary redness and sometimes tingling effect on the skin (lasting about 20 minutes), which can be upsetting to consumers. However, this typically only happens when the product is placed in high heat for a long period of time and even after that, the conversion to Nicotinic Acid is very low and would likely have no impact on the skin. In conclusion, Niacinamide and LAA are great separately and intermingled in your routine.

P.S. have you maybe overdone it on your actives and have dry, flaky, or red skin? Take it back to the basics and check out our blog post on Skincare Minimalism to help get your skin back up to par.