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THE SKINCARE PRODUCTS YOU SHOULD & SHOULDN'T MIX | SHOP SKINCARE FOR DARK SPOTS

I often find myself reading about that new "latest & greatest" skincare product. You know the one. It promises "wrinkle free" or "clear, even toned (minus all those dark spots!)" skin. Those promises make it very tempting to add that new product to your routine. (That's what marketing is all about!) And if you can get the layering right, it's definitely doable! But there are some things you need to consider anytime you add something new. Throw the wrong combination into the mix and one product can cancel another out. Or even worse, some products when combined create a perfect storm of flaking, redness, and irritation.

Below Is a List of Ingredients That Don't Play Well With Others.

Please keep in mind that this is a list of products that you should avoid combining when layering your skincare. I'm not referring to manufactured skincare products that combine the ingredients in one bottle or tube. Manufacturers are able to manipulate the ingredients so that they work together MUCH BETTER than either your or I could. They have scientists and tips and tricks and clinical studies that we just don't.

I've also included ingredients that are compatible, so you have some good alternatives. Hope this helps!

1. Retinoids

Retinoids are recommended by just about everyone. If you can use them, you should. That said, retinoids can be irritating to skin. However, over time, the irritation usually disappears. So most people feel the benefits of retinoids (wrinkle reduction, a more even skin tone, quicker skin cell turnover, increased collagen production, acne treatment) far outweigh the drawbacks!

Don't mix retinoids with VITAMIN C.

“Vitamin C has a very acidic pH, and (when layered) together they can be unstable.”  - Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Instead, use Vitamin C in the morning and retinoids in the evening.

Don't mix retinoids with exfoliating acids (AHAs, BHAs, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc.) Together they'll create red, peeling, painful skin. Note: Hyaluronic acid is a different kind of acid that is used to moisturize skin. It's not an exfoliating acid. Hyaluronic acid is great to use with retinoids. 

“They’re both harsh on the skin individually, so they cause even more detriment when used together.”  - Dr. Joshua Zeichner

BUT - and there's always a BUT, isn't there?! There's a product from SkinBetter Science called AlphaRet. It combines AHAs with retinol to give you beautiful skin!

"The AHA absorbs moisture and hydrates skin, reducing the irritating effects of the retinoids, so we can use a way higher dose than in even prescription-strength formulas. Plus, AHAs improve skin's permeability, so more retinoids can get in."  - Dr. Bruce Katz, New York City Dermatologist

Instead of layering acids and retinoids, use them on different days - unless your skin is VERY oily.

The two together, “can be too drying for the skin, but if your skin can handle the two in tandem, then stick to a salicylic acid wash (which would only be in contact with your skin for a short time before rinsing) or a spot treatment, and use the retinol and/or retinoid on the entire face.”  - Dr. Dendy Engelman

Don't mix retinoids with benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is used to treat acne. It's strong stuff on it's own, so when the 2 are mixed it's the perfect recipe for dry, flaky, peeling skin.

Some doctors don't recommend layering benzoyl peroxide with a topical retinoid (like retinol) - especially tretinoin (the prescription retinoid). This is because there are a few studies that suggest that when layering the 2 together, benzoyl peroxide causes degradation of the retinoid molecules. Newer studies have shown that this might not happen with all formulations of tretinoin.

Instead of layering benzoyl peroxide and retinoids, use them separately. Apply benzoyl peroxide in the morning and your retinoid in the evening. By separating the 2, you'll get less dry, peeling skin. You'll also know for sure that your retinoid isn't being degraded by your benzoyl peroxide. Epiduo (adapalene 0.1% / 2.5% benzoyl peroxide) Gel and Epiduo Forte (adapalene 0.3% / 2.5% benzoyl peroxide) Gel are available by prescription. They treat acne by combining adapalene, a retinoid, and benzoyl peroxide in one cream that works really well.

Don't mix retinoids with peels, waxing, or facials. Instead, stop using your retinoid 1 day before and 2 days after peels, waxing, or any kind of facial treatment that might irritate your skin.

“If waxing is done while these are being used, very often small tears in the skin (especially on the eyelids) may occur. The same may occur with peels, such as glycolic peels.”  - Dr. Joshua Zeichner

2. VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and powerhouse ingredient. It's another one where, if you can use it, you really should! Why? Because Vitamin C (sometimes called ascorbic acid) decreases skin water lossIt increases collagen formation in your skin, lightens dark spots, and improves inflammation. Studies have shown that, after 6 months of use, there's a significant increase in skin density and a decrease in deep wrinkles. There's also evidence of elastic tissue repair. In each study, vitamin C was well tolerated. But vitamin C doesn't mix well with several ingredients.

Don't mix Vitamin C with acids like AHAs, BHAs, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid. You see, vitamin C formulations with a pH (a measure of how acidic or alkaline a product is) greater than 3.5 are not able to penetrate skin. Acids like salicylic acid and glycolic acid both change the pH of any ingredients mixed with them. So your vitamin C won't have the opportunity to improve your skin because those acids raise its pH. That's not to say that when these ingredients are mixed by the manufacturer they won't work - because they will. Products like SkinCeuticals C + AHA are formulated so the 2 ingredients work together. But the manufacturer is doing the mixing and is testing to make sure the product works. When you're applying them yourself, separating these ingredients should give you a better result.

“Vitamin C is a very temperamental ingredient that requires an acidic pH to remain stable and can easily become inactivated.”  - Dr. Joshua Zeichner

Instead, apply your vitamin C serum in the morning and your AHAs and BHAs before bed.

Don't mix Vitamin C with retinoids. Remember how I talked about the pH of vitamin C earlier? It needs to be at a pH of 3.5 (acidic) or lower to penetrate your skin. But retinoids need to be closer to neutral (5.0 - 6.0) or slightly higher. (Your retinoid will still work in an acidic pH, but not as well.) When you mix the 2, the numbers don't work. That said, there are skincare products that do combine the 2 ingredients. They usually contain a "micronized" or "encapsulated" form of retinoid that slowly releases the retinoid over time. The theory is that the acidic vitamin C will be delivered first, allowing your skin time to return to its natural pH of about 4.7. Then your retinoid can step in and work its magic - without interference from your meddling vitamin C.

Instead, try applying your vitamin C in the morning and a retinoid at night.

DO MIX vitamin C with vitamin E.

“Vitamin A helps to smooth lines and wrinkles while increasing moisture and elasticity. Vitamin C minimizes imperfections in the skin including uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, and can reduce the appearance of acne scars. Vitamin E defends against and disables free radicals made by the body. Note that vitamin C and vitamin E are both important to apply topically everyday in your cocktail. Not only are they synergistic, but Vitamin C is water-soluble, while vitamin E is lipid-soluble. Together, they penetrate into the different phases of the skin and neutralize free radicals in their path.”  - Dr. Dennis Gross, dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in New York City

Try SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. It's the serum that put SkinCeuticals on the map.

DO MIX vitamin C & sunscreen.

“Sunscreens block UV light from penetrating into the skin, and antioxidants are the safety net that put out the fires from anything that passed through.”  - Dr. Karyn Grossman, Dermatologist in Santa Monica

3. BENZOYL PEROXIDE

Benzoyl Peroxide is used to treat acne. It works by limiting bacteria growth without causing bacterial resistance (when the bacteria become enough to defeat the drugs designed to kill them). It may also decrease inflammation.

Don't mix benzoyl peroxide with retinoids. As mentioned above, both are very strong ingredients. And when used together, it's the perfect recipe for dry, flaky, peeling skin.

Some doctors don't recommend layering benzoyl peroxide with a topical retinoid (like retinol) - especially tretinoin (the prescription retinoid). This is because there are a few studies that suggest that when layering the 2 together, benzoyl peroxide causes degradation of the retinoid molecules. Newer studies have shown that this might not happen with all formulations of tretinoin.

Instead of layering benzoyl peroxide and retinoids, use them separately. Apply benzoyl peroxide in the morning and your retinoid in the evening. By separating the 2, you'll get less dry, peeling skin. You'll also know for sure that your retinoid isn't being degraded by your benzoyl peroxide. Epiduo (adapalene 0.1% / 2.5% benzoyl peroxide) Gel and Epiduo Forte (adapalene 0.3% / 2.5% benzoyl peroxide) Gel are available by prescription. They treat acne by combining adapalene, a retinoid, and benzoyl peroxide in one cream that works really well.

DO MIX Benzoyl Peroxide & Moisturizer. Apply moisturizer before spot-treating with benzoyl peroxide.

“Studies have shown that if you take care of the skin barrier first and hydrate it, it allows the benzoyl peroxide to work more effectively.”  - Dr. Joshua Zeichner

DO MIX Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic or Glycolic Acid. Glycolic acid is a alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the surface of your skin. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that exfoliates by penetrating the top layer of your skin. It penetrates oil. Both of these acids complement benzoyl peroxide. Try a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment over a salicylic or glycolic acid toner or wash.

"Many patients with oily skin benefit from washes, lotions, and creams that contain glycolic acid to help reduce excessive oil and prevent the plugging of pores that leads to acne breakouts."  - Dr. Robert Anolik, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center

"They (salicylic and glycolic acids) exfoliate skin, allowing benzoyl peroxide to penetrate deeper."  - Dr. Joshua Zeichner

4. EXFOLIATING ACIDS LIKE BHAs & AHAs

Don't mix exfoliating acids (AHAs, BHAs, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc.) with retinoids. Together they'll create red, peeling, painful skin. Note: Hyaluronic acid is a different kind of acid that is used to moisturize skin. It's not an exfoliating acid. Hyaluronic acid is great to use with exfoliating acids. 

“They’re both harsh on the skin individually, so they cause even more detriment when used together.”  - Dr. Joshua Zeichner

BUT - and there's always a BUT, isn't there?! There's a product from SkinBetter Science called AlphaRet. It combines AHAs with retinol to give you beautiful skin!

"The AHA absorbs moisture and hydrates skin, reducing the irritating effects of the retinoids, so we can use a way higher dose than in even prescription-strength formulas. Plus, AHAs improve skin's permeability, so more retinoids can get in."  - Dr. Bruce Katz, New York City Dermatologist

Instead of layering acids and retinoids, use them on different days - unless your skin is VERY oily.

The two together, “can be too drying for the skin, but if your skin can handle the two in tandem, then stick to a salicylic acid wash (which would only be in contact with your skin for a short time before rinsing) or a spot treatment, and use the retinol and/or retinoid on the entire face.”  - Dr. Dendy Engelman

5. ORAL ANTIBIOTICS & OTHER MEDICATIONS CAN CAUSE SUN SENSITIVITY

Some medications shouldn't be mixed with sun (or tanning beds - which are a bad idea anyway!). They cause 2 kinds of reactions that can happen to anyone who takes enough of the drug and is exposed to enough sun.

When taking these medications, or using these ingredients, your best bet is to avoid sun exposure as much as possible. If you have to be out in the sun, use sunscreen and sun protective clothing. A hat and sunglasses are a really good idea!

The following lists of medications are from the article, Medscape | Drug-Induced Photosensitivity, by Alexandra Y Zhang, MD, Staff Physician, Dermatology & Plastic Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Some ingredients in sunscreens can cause phototoxic or photoallergic reactions:
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid
  • Cinnamates
  • Benzophenones
  • Salicylates
Some fragrances cause problems too:
  • Musk ambrette
  • 6-Methylcoumarin.
Medications & Classes of Drugs That Can Cause Phototoxic & Photoallergic Reactions:
  • Tetracyclines (doxycycline, tetracycline)
  • Fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin)
  • Sulfonamides
  • Ibuprofen
  • Ketoprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Celecoxib
  • Furosemide
  • Bumetanide
  • Hydro-chlorothiazide (HCTZ)
  • Isotretinoin
  • Acitretin
  • Sulfonylureas (glipizide, glyburide)
  • Statins (atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin)
  • Cetuximab, panitumumab, erlotinib, gefitinib, lapatinib, vandetanib
  • Vemurafenib, sorafenib
  • Aminolevulinic acid
  • Methyl-5-aminolevulinic acid
  • Verteporfin
  • Photofrin
  • Phenothiazines (chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, perazine, perphenazine, thioridazine)
  • Thioxanthenes (chlorprothixene, thiothixene)
  • Terbinafine
  • Itraconazole
  • Voriconazole
  • Griseofulvin
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid
  • 5-Fluorouracil
  • Paclitaxel
  • Amiodarone
  • Diltiazem
  • Quinidine
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Coal tar
  • Enalapril
  • Dapsone
  • Oral contraceptives

Below You'll Find Some Skincare Products Great for Dark Spots & Hyperpigmentation!

My beautiful girls - who've worn sunscreen practically every day since they were born - have freckles. I think their freckles are pretty (I'm one of those people who love freckles). But someday my girls may not like their freckles. Or they may develop dark spots from one of the OH-SO-MANY things that cause dark spots (acne scars, sun exposure, hormone changes, and laser treatments gone bad, to name a few). They may start to dream of even skin.

Because it doesn't matter how old you are.

Eventually, "the mistakes of our past start to catch up to us, usually in the form of sun damage," says Dr. Dendy Engelman.

When you're in your 20s, skin damage, like freckles and dark spots, starts to show. Sometimes they only show underneath those scary UV lights at the med spa - but they're there. When that happens, it's time to incorporate a retinoid into your skincare routine. It'll speed cell turnover and you'll be rid of those spots much more quickly.

"Retinol helps diminish the appearance of sun spots, minimize the appearance of pores, and even reduce blemishes," says Dr. Engelman.

But don't stop there! You need to focus on prevention! Applying an SPF 30 (or greater) sunscreen every single day will give you the most bang for your buck.

"Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays to help reverse damage and prevent more from occurring," says Dr. David E. Bank, Dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York.

If dark spots happen to you, there are skincare products to treat them! See below!

But First, Let's talk About the Elephant in the Room: SHIPPING COSTS.

Disclosure:

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We recently joined the Rakuten Marketing network. Just like Amazon, if you click on one of the Rakuten links, then make a purchase, we earn a percentage of that purchase. Rakuten Marketing affiliate links allow us to earn money by recommending products we LOVE - that are not available on Amazon. There is no added cost to you!

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SKINCEUTICALS SHIPPING:  SkinCeuticals.com ships to all 50 U.S. States via UPS Ground for a standard charge of $5.00. If you're a registered SkinCeuticals Member and your order is $100 or more, you get free shipping via UPS Ground to the contiguous United States.

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Because customer service is our highest priority, we only recommend and link to products that we believe in. As always, thank you for supporting Masterpiece Skin Restoration!

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When you care for yourself first, everything in your life benefits. We all need time to refuel, and for each one of us that means something a little bit different. For most of us, it means making sleep, good nutrition, emotional, or physical health a priority. We make things like gym time nonnegotiable, or follow a certain diet, or stop checking the cell phone after 7 p.m. Most of us are happier when we are healthy - and it shows. That's where we come in. Masterpiece Skin Restoration gives you all the information you need to restore your skin's health - because healthy skin is beautiful!

We have all the information you need to restore your skin.

Masterpiece Skin Restoration was founded on the principle that each one of us is beautiful. It's an online resource to help you, our valued reader, find the very best of all things medical aesthetics, skincare, beauty, and wellness. Our registered nurse provides all the information you need to make the best choices for your skin - in language you can understand. We research skincare products and treatments that are backed by science and have proven results.

References:

https://fashionmagazine.com/beauty/skincare-ingredients-mix/

http://www.honestyforyourskin.co.uk/skincare-ingredients-you-should-never-mix/

https://www.newbeauty.com/blog/dailybeauty/6453-is-mixing-skin-care-products-dangerous/

https://www.rd.com/health/beauty/skin-care-ingredients-you-shouldnt-mix/

https://www.shefinds.com/skincare-products-you-should-never-mix/

https://fashionmagazine.com/beauty/skincare-ingredients-mix/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/skincare-ingredients-never-mix_us_5a6a0f59e4b06e253265821c

https://globalnews.ca/news/3332850/these-are-the-skincare-ingredients-you-should-never-mix/

https://www.allure.com/gallery/skin-care-ingredients-that-counteract-each-other

https://www.refinery29.com/layer-skin-care-beauty-products#slide-1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958193/

https://www.acne.com/treatment-approaches/adapalene-differin/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12823436

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18489300

https://www.futurederm.com/how-do-retinoids-work/

http://practicaldermatology.com/2009/04/PD0409_01.php

https://www.medicinenet.com/sun-sensitive_drugs_photosensitivity_to_drugs/article.htm#what_is_the_difference_between_a_photoallergic_and_a_phototoxic_reaction

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1049648-overview

https://www.allure.com/gallery/how-to-fix-early-signs-of-aging

Disclaimer:

The Information provided on our website is not medical advice and should not be viewed as such. By law, only a medical doctor can diagnose or give medical advice. As a registered nurse, my goal is to educate, so I provide information on skin care, skin care products, and skin care treatments. If you have any condition that concerns you, please see a medical doctor. While most skin conditions are benign, some - like melanoma - can be deadly. If there is any doubt, please, please consult your physician. Thank you!

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