December 11 2019 – Tyra Johnson-Brown
The old advice about keeping your acids and retinoids separate may have made sense once upon a time, but that has now become no such thing. Now you can use AHAs/BHA together with Retinoids.
What the Heck Are Retinoids?
Retinoids are forms of Vitamin A. Retinol is the most famous member of the family, but Retinol Palmitate and Hydro pinacolone Retinoate are starting to get more noticed to.
Retinoids are one of the very few things proven to reduce wrinkles and they handle acne very well, too. They work in three ways:
- Boost collagen production
- Fight free radicals
- Speed up cellular turnover (the skin’s natural exfoliating process)
What About Exfoliants, how do they play a part?
- The Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) family has some famous members, including Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid.
- The Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) family only has one member currently working in skincare: Salicylic Acid.
- These acids all work in the same way: they dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together, so they can slough off and reveal the brighter, smoother, more even toned skin underneath. Their exfoliating action brightens the complexion, fades away wrinkles and dark spots and smoothes the skin.
- The main difference between them? Salicylic Acid is oil-soluble so it can penetrate the pores and unclog them from within. This means bye-bye breakouts! Alpha Hydroxy Acids are humectants: they boost the skin’s moisture content and amp up its collagen production a notch or two.
- If Salicylic Acid is a godsend for oily, acne-prone skin, Alpha Hydroxy Acids are best for dry, sun damaged skin.
All You Need to Know to Customize Your Skin Regimen!
Combining different actives in one regimen can give you multiple benefits but you up the risk of irritation and you can over-treat. So, if you are going to combine, keep the following in mind:
- Hypoallergenic: Choose products with minimal or no allergens to up the safety factor.
- Sensitive Should Simplify: For sensitive skin, less is more, period. Use fewer products and choose gentle but multi-beneficial ones.
- If you’re going to increase the risk of irritation by adding actives, add what’s proven to be good and reliable.
Can I use Multiple Actives if I have sensitive skin?
IT DEPENDS ON THE ACTIVES - “Active ingredient” is often an alpha- or beta-hydroxy acid, another type of microscopic exfoliant, or a drug (like an antibiotic). While effective, too much of these good things can be too much for sensitive skin. There are excellent actives that are less irritating and some that are even anti-inflammatory such as virgin coconut oil; monolaurin (anti-acne, antimicrobial), and green tea (antioxidant). If the rest of the ingredients in your products are free of allergens, combining anti-inflammatory actives may not only be ok but very beneficial. Check out our Purifying Charcoal Moringa Clay Body and Face Mask
containing activative ingredients like oleic acid.
How to Combine Actives the Right Way
1) GO SLOW. With any active product, start with once-a-week applications, then twice-a-week, very slowly increasing frequency to three times a week and so on until you achieve once or twice-a-day usage, which should be no earlier than eight weeks after your first application.
Get to once or twice-a-day usage of one active product before starting another. Do this for each new active product that you add. That’s eight weeks or more per new active product — for example, you would only be using three active products together by week 24, at the earliest.
2) BE GENTLE. It is crucial to use a pH-lowered cleanser to prevent irritations. Active treatments are more acidic, which the skin can easily adjust to (the skin’s natural pH is slightly acidic) but low-pH active treatments plus a high-pH cleanser can prove to not work well and become a disaster.
3) PROTECT: Actives tend to make the skin more sensitive to sun and light. It is important to use an MPF every day, indoors and outdoors, even if actives have not been applied on a given day.