Risky Retinol Combinations

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Some doctors say strong ingredients, like retinol, should never be mixed with other strong ingredients and should be used solely on their own; others disagree, saying it’s safe to use them together as long as they’re applied at different times of the day.

Before you attempt to layer, talk to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon; but it’s safe assume he or she will rule out two particular ingredients if you’re using retinol.

Retinol and benzoyl peroxide can each ward off acne and prevent the formation of new blemishes. Used simultaneously, however, they can counteract each other’s effectiveness. Both are drying, exfoliating agents, and when mixed together, they can cause excessive peeling, unwanted pigment, lasting redness, blistering and scarring.

Both retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids can help to generate new collagen, but you should be careful when using them together. Most women with sensitive skin need to alternate, applying the AHA in the morning and retinol at night for the first few weeks to build tolerance.

If you’re using any of these ingredients, it’s essential to use daily sunscreen to counteract increased UV sensitivity.

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