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The Ultimate Guide To Combine Active Ingredients Safely

Want to combine several skin care products? Here’s the best coupels to be used together.

Mixing and layering skincare ingredients is quite an overwhelming task. With thousands of skincare products available and a continuous influx of new products, we’re often spoilt for choice.You might often be confused if one ingredient counteracts with another. Or if two ingredients will interact and leave you with painful and irritated skin? Or if they will perhaps fortify each other and let you get the healthy, glowing skin you have always dreamed of.

While certain skincare ingredients irritate skin or work against each other when mixed, others can maximize the benefits you get. Yes, there really are some power couples in the world of skincare ingredients! So, without further ado, let’s have a look at what are active ingredients and how you can combine active ingredients safely.

What Are Active Ingredients?          
Any active ingredient in a skincare product is particularly meant to address the unique skin concern it should target. In simple terms, when you see a Hyaluronic acid moisturizer , Hyaluronic acid is the active ingredient in that moisturizer .

How to Combine Active Ingredients Safely?       
Active ingredients are the most potent ingredients in the formulation of any skincare product. However, their effectiveness largely depends on the combination and concentration of the product. Here is a list of combinations of skincare ingredients that work better together.

1 . Retinol & Niacinamide       
Niacinamide improves hydration and reduces the amount of water lost, which helps to stabilize the skin’s barrier function (Gehring, 2004). Because of this, niacinamide helps to undo the dehydration caused by retinol and enhances the skin’s tolerance to it.

2. Salicylic Acid & Niacinamide       
Salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxide, and niacinamide , a water-soluble form of vitamin b3, work quite well when mixed together. Both ingredients have anti-acne and anti-aging effects and provide some degree of UV protection as well. Salicylic acid and niacinamide both reduce sebum production and increase levels of elasticity and collagen in the skin and are quite effective in shrinking pores .

3 . Vitamin E & Vitamin C (Along with Ferulic Acid)    
Vitamin E and Vitamin C are one of the best combinations of skincare ingredients. For instance, Vitamin C helps to restore Vitamin E , whereas Vitamin E increases the effect of Vitamin C by up to four times. Moreover, combining 15 percent Vitamin C with 1 percent Vitamin E and 0.5 percent of ferulic acid increases the effect of Vitamin C by up to eight times.

4. Caffeine & Green Tea           
Research indicates that caffeine strengthens the antioxidant effects of green tea and when these ingredients are used together, they help to prevent skin cancer (Jagdeo J, 2011). Moreover, combining these two ingredients also helps to reduce acne .

5. Antioxidants & Sunscreen     
Using sunscreen daily is the best way to prevent aging of the skin. However, it only blocks around 55 percent of the free radicals produced by UV exposure.  
The good news is that antioxidants when combined with sunscreen , can reduce the production of free radicals by almost 80 percent. Thus, sunscreens and antioxidants make an ideal combination and are much more effective when mixed together.

6. Cholesterol & Ceramides & Fatty Acids             
A combination of these three ingredients can improve hydration and repair the skin’s barrier function. One study showed that a cream containing cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides enhanced skin hydration within half an hour of application (Adele Sparavigna, 2014).  
Last Few Words       
The 6 examples of skincare ingredient combinations listed above show how one ingredient can complement and fortify the effects of others. Make sure you always do a patch test before applying skincare ingredient combinations on your face.


  • Adele Sparavigna, B. T. (2014). Preliminary open-label clinical evaluation of the soothing and reepithelialization properties of a novel topical formulation for rosacea. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, 275–283.
  • Gehring, W. (2004). Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 88-93.
  • Jagdeo J, B. N. (2011). Complementary antioxidant function of caffeine and green tea polyphenols in normal human skin fibroblasts. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 753-761.

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