Stop Combining These 2 Ingredients RN! We Are Shook!


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When it comes to skincare, we’re often programmed to believe more is more. More hydration, more SPF, more eye cream, masks, serums and patches. Why max out at three skincare steps when you can achieve flawless skin by completing the Korean gold standard of 12 steps — at minimum?

With our top shelfies crammed with tonics, elixirs, lotions and potions and our shopping carts always on the verge of checking out, more products may seem like the goal, but it’s not always smart as far as mixing ingredients is concerned.

Recently we did a deep dive into some of our favorite essences, but we were shook when celebrity aesthetician Vicki Morav mentioned mixing peptides and acids is a no-no.

“When someone looks at ingredients, they can’t exactly understand the textures and the process that they will undergo,” said Morav. “For example, peptides and acids don’t match. They dismiss each other’s activity and have no beneficial results.”

Not gonna lie… we’ve definitely done that before. Are we the only ones who missed this beauty school lesson somewhere along the way?! If you’re having the same uh oh reaction right now, read on for why you should never combine the two – and which ingredients actually function well together.

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Does combining peptides and acids cause the ingredients to be ineffective?

“We can’t be robotic when it comes to our skincare,” explains Morav. “So it’s important to have knowledge and experience as we are all chemically unique and have individual needs. “In certain cases, it can be damaging,” explains Morav. “For example, peptides do not survive in an acidic environment, so it’s important to wait for the pH balance, and then you can proceed with peptides.”

Can combining the two have negative results?

According to Dr. Michelle Henry of Skin & Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan, yes, they can have negative results, so make a mental note never to mix again! “If both ingredients are exfoliative or have the potential for irritation, this can be the perfect set up for chemical dermatitis and result in hyperpigmentation or prolonged redness,” she says. Following a peptides-separate-from-acids routine will ensure you’re not setting yourself up for skincare failure or accidental conditions.

What kinds of acids shouldn’t be mixed with peptides?

Get ready to break out your product labels because this one is important. “It’s AHA and BHA acids mostly that don’t play nice with peptides, but if layered properly, a non-acidic vitamin C can be used,” says Morav.

What other ingredient combos should you never combine?

“Using Retin A and retinol at the same time as AHA and BHA is overkill for the skin, adds Morav. “Too much resurfacing can cause aging, as it creates an inflammatory condition and long-term harm versus a beneficial anti-aging effect. Balance is what we are looking for!”

As for other skincare cocktails that just don’t work, Dr. Henry warns against mixing SPF in with your moisturizer as it may diminish its sun protection level. (Remember you need almost half a teaspoon of SPF for your face and neck!) “Also, don’t mix vitamin C and retinol as they function best at opposite times of the day.”

Which ingredient combos are actually good together?

Now onto some good skincare layering news: Morav suggests following Retin A or AHA/BHA acids by essential fatty acids (think ceramides, jojoba and avocado oil), while Dr. Henry recommends combo’ing retinol and niacinamide. “Niacinamide’s soothing, anti-inflammatory properties may decrease the retinol’s potential for irritation.”

As well as retinol and niacinamide proving to be a match made in heaven, there are other skincare duos that when combined help to boost efficacy or promote better results. Check out these other derm-approved skincare combos you should try.

Did this news leave you shook as well?! Let us know in the comments below.