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Is Mixing Skin Care Products Dangerous?

Dr Alek Nikolic’s Advice On Mixing Ingredients

I often get this question asked by my patients and generally speaking it is 100% safe to mix different products from different ranges BUT here are some guidelines in whitch active ingredients you should take note of before adding them to your skin care regime.

Adding as many topical products as possible all with their own unique characteristics and concentrations of active ingredients can cause unwanted side effects on our skins including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Rashes
  • Dermatitis
  • Pigmentary changes

Here is a quick guideline to help you prevent any unwanted reactions:

Don’t Mix Vitamin C With:

Alphahydroxy Acids (AHAs):

When we combine AHA with Vitamin C we can increase reactions such as redness, peeling and skin irritations.


When mixing Retinol (vitamin A) with Vitamin C (especially high concentrations) can cause the skin to become dry and even feel sensitive. This is typically seen when combining concentrations of:

Retinol: 0.5% and 1.0%

Vitamin C: 10% or higher

Don’t Mix Retinol With:

Benzoyl Peroxide:

Both are brilliant for Acne, pimples and blemishes but when used at the same time they may increase your skins chances of excessive peeling, unwanted pigment, lasting redness and even blistering and scarring.


Retinol and AHA together is generally considered safe to mix but in some of us this combination may cause and increased sensitivity. So if your skin is sensitive my advice would be to first try the two on a small part of the face for at least 10 days to ensure no reactions take place.

Final Advice:

Irrespective of the ingredients you are using or which ones you are mixing to get added skin benefits always remember to add a daily sunscreen SPF 30 or higher that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.


About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 24 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively and has performed live demonstrations throughout South Africa and Internationally including Bangkok, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, and Warsaw. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care, skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, Botox, and Dermal Fillers. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is Vice President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) and is an Associate Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

One thought on “Is Mixing Skin Care Products Dangerous?

  1. Isabella says:

    thank you for the great advice

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