Jerry Maguire and Dorothy Boyd. Apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Smoky eyes and MLBB lips. Some things are just better together…
Like these pairs of skincare ingredients, all of which work powerfully alone but even more effectively when they have their BFF at their side. Read on to learn which synergistic duos will dramatically elevate your skincare routine (as well as the few that don’t play as nice).
SPF + Antioxidants
Ask any dermatologist, aesthetician or your aunt who’s been telling everyone for years that she’s only 35, and they’ll all tell you: Sunscreen is the number-one beauty product. It’s no secret that UV rays accelerate aging, so it’s common knowledge now that stepping out without sunscreen is willingly morphing yourself into the Wicked Witch of the West. But did you know that even broad-spectrum sunscreens aren’t as protective as we’ve been led to believe? Studies have shown that SPF only blocks between 50 and 75 percent of free radicals, which damage cells and DNA and make you age. And not like a fine wine—more like a raisin.
Your best defense is to double down on sun protection with a dose of antioxidants, known to neutralize free radicals. After cleansing skin, pat on an antioxidant serum before anything else for optimal penetration. Top it off with sunscreen and you’re good to go.
Vitamin C + Vitamin E
Speaking of antioxidants, vitamin C is everything. Thanks to its knack for improving hydration, evening out skin tone and promoting collagen production, it’s one of the most youth-enhancing gifts you could ever give to your skin. And pairing it with other antioxidants—particularly vitamin E—gives it a superboost. When their powers combine, C and E become formidable in the face of sun damage compared to when either are used alone. Vitamin C can even regenerate vitamin E that’s been compromised by oxygen and light exposure.
Look for products that boast the mother of all vitamin Cs: ascorbic acid, also known as L-ascorbic acid, which is the most widely researched and considered to be the only form that really works.
Salicylic Acid + Hyaluronic Acid
As tough as salicylic acid is on acne, it’s also a bit harsh on skin; what good is being pimple-free if your face is a red, flaky mess? Hyaluronic acid to the rescue! This substance is found naturally in the body and lubricates skin and tissues, but we lose it as we age (and also when we do naughty things like smoke). Reintroduce its moisture-retaining properties to your skin to balance out the drying effects of your acne-fighting routine.
Retinol + Hyaluronic Acid
Same as salicylic acid, retinol is always in beast mode, so it can really irritate and parch skin—especially sensitive skin. But the benefits are too good to pass up: increased collagen production, faster-than-light cell turnover and major blemish control. Solution: Follow up your evening retinol treatment with a big gulp of a hyaluronic acid before slathering on your night cream. This is the ultimate combo for baby-soft skin. You can also use ceramides, which are known to help repair the skin barrier and negate the drying effects of retinol.
Of course, when you’ve got an arsenal of hardcore skincare heroes, you’re gonna get a few that don’t play so nice together. There are a some combinations that are just pure trouble.
Vitamin C is the sensitive type, meaning acids like salicylic and glycolic, which can alter the pH of other ingredients, can easily destabilize it. Give the girl some space and, as mentioned above, keep her with a support system of antioxidants that actually get her.
Retinol is quite volatile, too. Throw lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide into the mix and and you just might get burned—literally! Retinol has been known to irritate skin when paired with any of these other ingredients, and yes, it can go so far as to burn your skin. So savage, retinol.
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