These are the skincare questions that I get asked frequently.
Q: Can I use Retin-A with AHAs or Vitamin C? I’ve heard you can’t use Retin-A (tretinoin) with other acids.
A: You can use Retin-A with other acids like AHAs (glycolic, lactic) and/or Vitamin C. While there are plenty of blog posts that tell you that these acids will somehow negatively affect each other, there’s really no scientific evidence to support that claim. The acids are the work horses of your skincare routine and they can work beautifully together. The only thing to look out for is irritation caused by their lower pH. So when introducing any acid into your skincare routine, it’s important to ease in slowly to give your skin time to acclimate to it. Be on the lookout for the signs of irritation which are redness, stinging, burning, itching, or dryness and cut back accordingly.
Q: Do Vitamin C and Niacinamide “cancel each other out”?
A: No, vitamin c and niacinamide don’t have any affect on one another and can be used at the same time. This is an internet rumor that has been debunked.
Q: Can Vitamin C and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Glycolic, Lactic) be used together?
A: Yes, vitamin c and alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and lactic acid can be used together at the same time. In fact, they can work synergistically together and improve the performance of both. Both should be formulated at a low pH so their similar pH ranges make them compatible.
Q: Is it ok to use Peptides with Acids? I heard they shouldn’t be used together.
A: Peptides and acids like vitamin c or alpha hydroxy acids can be used together. There’s a theory that the acid will break the peptide bonds making the peptide worthless, but that theory is false. Peptide bonds are very strong and while they can be broken by boiling them in strong acids for about an hour, these conditions just don’t occur on your face.
Q: Should I avoid products in jar packaging?
A: No you don’t need to avoid jar packaging for most products. The “no jar packaging” movement assumes that the ingredients in the jar are unstable and will degrade when exposed to light and air or that there are no preservatives in the product. But the reality is that most ingredients in skincare are perfectly stable when exposed to light and air and will not degrade due to opening the jar. Ingredients that aren’t stable are usually not packaged in jars to preserve the ingredients. In addition, skincare in jar packaging contains preservatives that keep the contents fresh and keep it from growing unwanted bacteria.