A Skin Expert Explains What Skincare Ingredients You Should And Shouldn’t Be Mixing!

From retinol and ceramides to AHAs and Vitamin C, it’s fair to say that our skincare cabinets are filled to the brim with amazing ingredients. But with so many different actives on offer, when it comes to knowing which ingredients are compatible with which, it can all get pretty confusing.

Luckily for us, Aileen Rafferty, Skincare Expert and Trainer at TheSkinExperts.co.uk, is here to clear things up! Rafferty lets us know which skincare ingredients we should and shouldn’t mix, and why…


Retinol is vitamin A and is naturally found in our body. When used in skincare, it has many great benefits. An anti-aging ingredient which allows our skin to regenerate by increasing the removal of surface dead skin to make room for new fresh skin cells. It gives our skin a refreshed look!

Retinol is best used at night time when it works alongside our skin’s natural regenerating process. Use alongside vitamin C and an SPF to give a full 360-degree approach to anti-aging and the skins needs. Use cautiously with other exfoliating agents such as AHA’s and mechanical scrubs.

Retinol can come in different percentages and there can be other forms of vitamin A on the market too. It’s best to discuss with a skin care advisor to get the right product and the best result! With Vitamin A start slow and go slow, this will help introduce Vitamin A into the skin in a comfortable way and the skin can adjust well to its mode of action.

Try this:

retinol skincare ingredient

PRIORI Moisturizing Crème with Retinol



Otherwise known as Ascorbic acid, this ingredient has a massive anti-oxidant effect when used on the skin. It acts to protect and prevent damage from the environment. Its’s also known to lighten and brighten the skin and help with pigment and uneven skin tone.

Best used in daytime as its main benefit is to protect and that’s when our skin becomes subjected to the most environmental challenges. Great for more challenged or mature skins. Vitamin C works well when used alongside other antioxidants like Vitamin A and Vitamin E and barrier protective ingredients like lipids/oils and Ceramides.

Try this:

Vitamin C skincare ingredient

Vitage Vitamin C Tightening Serum



A very popular ingredient on the market due to the wonderful hydrating effects it has on the skin. Mimicking our own water or jelly of the skin it hydrates and plumps to give a more surface and inner healthy look to our skins.

This is an ingredient for everyone and anyone! Hyaluronic acid gives a firmer more hydrated plumped look to the skin and can be used alongside any other product. It is a water-based ingredient, so it it’s recommended to be used first on a cleansed, dry skin then followed up with any other products. Great for all ages and stages of skin concerns.

Also a fantastic ingredient to add to your routine in the winter months. Hyaluronic acid works well with all other ingredients. It pairs particularly well with Vitamin A and AHA’s to support the anti-aging and water holding ability of these ingredients. It can also sit alongside anti-inflammatory and calming/cooling ingredients such as Niacinamide.


Alpha Hydroxy Acids have been used for many years within the skin industry and were hailed as the first ingredients to give us the ‘Cosmeceutical revolution’ in skincare. Based on the acids of fruits and foods, the most common used acids are Glycolic, Lactic and Mandelic acid. All of a similar action, they exfoliate the skin from within leading to an increase in cell turnover. Also due to their water loving ability, they lead to an increase in water in the skin.

They are exfoliation acids so always good to start on a lower percent and introduce them into your programme slowly then build up so not to over work the skin. Of course, always to be used alongside with an SPF to help protect those layers of new healthy skin cells.

They can be used AM and PM. However, night time is a more naturally exfoliating time for your skin. Caution if using other exfoliating agents like scrubs or Vitamin A based products as they all work actively to remove dead skin build up. Limit the amount of these similar working products. Works brilliantly with the water based Hyaluronic acid and the Ceramides to hold and prevent water loss in the skin.

Try this:

AHA skincare ingredient

PRIORI Gentle Cleanser with Lactic Acid



Ceramides help to make the products we use act like they are our own natural skin. They can be derived from many plants and waxes and act to retain hydration levels and work as a protective layer just like our skin’s natural barriers.

They work well for protecting the skin while using other more active ingredients like AHA’s and Vitamin A. Ceramides also support the protective antioxidants and barrier functioning ingredients, helping them with their fight against environmental challenges. A damaged skin barrier can cause redness and sensitivity so ceramides are essential even for mature or oilier skins to help protect our skin and keep it functioning correctly.


One of the newer ingredients to the skincare world and a bit of a buzz word at the moment! Niacinamide is a great skin vitamin which can be used for many different reasons. It’s benefits include anti-aging, antioxidant protection, anti-inflammatory, healing, calming, brightening, soothing and reduces sebum/oil in the skin. There is probably not a skin type that would not benefit from this all-rounder.

For sensitive skins to calm, soothe and repair or acne skins looking for help with the anti-inflammatory benefit and oil control, this is a great ingredient to work with other more active skincare products like AHA’s. It’s also great for skins that can’t use more active skincare ingredients, and it can work alongside Hyaluronic acid to cool and soothe the skin.

The Skin Experts is a consumer website that works with the UK’s leading clinics to deliver expert advice and dermatologist-approved skincare.

The Skin Experts have partnered with Sk:n, Destination Skin, The Harley Medical Group and Courthouse Clinics to provide the very best advice from the UK’s largest network of skin clinics, doctors and dermatologists.


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