How to Layer Skincare Products Effectively

As more and more skincare products pop up and you learn more and more about your skin, the collection of products you have sitting at home is likely increasing too.

That means, if you're like us, you are probably applying numerous skincare products in the same day.

Some skincare ingredients combine together well and create amazing results - but others just don't work together, or can even be harmful when combined.

Certain ingredient mixtures can weaken the skin's protective barrier, cause inflammation, or stimulate dehydration.

We have listed the most effective ways to combine and layer your skincare ingredients to maximise your glow and improve your results!

First up:

Retinol and AHAs

Retinol is a game changer that increases cell turnover, boosts the skin's collagen levels, helps remove dead skin cells, and fights off free radicals. 

AHAs on the other hand has an exfoliating effect, which does of course help remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover, but works in a completely different way than retinol and doesn't necessarily provide the same benefits.

It's important to note that combining retinol and AHAs can reduce the dead skin cells a bit too effectively, potentially damaging some living skin cells too and causing sensitive skin. This can lead to redness, soreness, and tight, dry skin. 

Neither of these products should be used in the morning - but even in the evening, we don't recommend combining both on the same day. 

If you have both a retinol based product and AHA based product, we recommend alternating them between evenings. Those with very sensitive or dry skin may even want to alternate them every week.

This will dramatically increase the results of both products while minimizing the risk of the issues mentioned above.

Retinol and Vitamin C

You might be starting to notice a pattern here - most of the combinations that cause issues involve ingredients that are acidic or have exfoliant effects. This emphatically applies to vitamin C and retinol - which can lead to irritation and itchiness when combined.

This doesn't mean you can't include both in your routine though. As already mentioned, retinol should always be used in the evening. By applying a layer of vitamin C early in the morning, below your daily SPF (the most important step of any skincare routine!), you will avoid inflammation. This will also improve the results of both products - as SPF will shield your skin from the sun's rays - which can be a nasty thing to combine with retinol - and vitamin C combats free radicals caused by sun damage. This makes retinol and vitamin C a synergistic combination that is more than the sum of it's parts, but only if timed correctly!

Vitamin C and AHAs

This is probably an obvious point if you've been paying attention so far! Vitamin C is amazingly effective at protecting the skin from free radicals and and providing antioxidant effects.

However, it requires a specific pH balance in order to do it's job correctly - and AHAs are acidic enough to throw off that balance completely. In fact, it is likely to make the vitamin C have no effect at all.

We already know that AHAs can make your skin more susceptible to UV damage, so this should always be used in the evening. Stick to using vitamin C in the mornings, and ensure your evening cleanse is thorough enough to remove it completely once it's done it's job throughout the day.