Clash of the Actives: Be Careful When Mixing These Products with Retinol

Credit: Disney/Marvel

Imagine making a smoothie and throwing all sorts of ingredients into the blender, from apples to ice cream and salmon. While these foods taste good on their own, when mixed together, it becomes a big cup of bleh.

Likewise, while skincare actives can be good for you on their own, when you layer on too many, you risk the products clashing. Sometimes, it causes irritation, and in other cases, the actives can cancel each other out. Now that would be a waste, wouldn’t it?

If you are using a product with acne-fighting retinol, such as our almighty Clear Out, here are some common skincare ingredients to be more mindful of:

Benzoyl Peroxide

As one of the most popular products out there for clearing acne, benzoyl peroxide is effective at killing the pimple-causing P. acnes bacteria and shedding dead skin cells. It’s pretty strong stuff, but when combined with retinol, the actives can end up deactivating each other, making them less effective.

What to do: Choose one. There’s no need to have both titans in your routine. But if you’d like to, try using benzoyl peroxide in the morning and retinol at night.


AHAs

AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, work by exfoliating the outermost layer of your skin. While retinol and AHA can work well together in a skincare routine, there’s also a chance for them to irritate skin, leaving it red, stinging, burning, and flaking. This is especially a concern if you have sensitive skin.

What to do: Experiment with how your skin reacts to these actives by starting with one of them first. If there’s no irritation, you can start introducing the other active into your routine. Still, it’s best to space these ingredients out. Consider applying AHA in the morning (followed by your sunscreen) and retinol at night.


BHAs

Similar to AHAs, BHAs such as salicylic acid are excellent exfoliants. BHAs go deep into the pores to break down dead skin cells and oil, which makes them great additions to a routine for acne-prone skin. But, they can also be drying. Depending on the concentration, when used together with retinol, there's a risk of irritation.

What to do: Use BHAs in the morning and retinol at night.

Note: While Balancing Cleanser, our recommended cleanser for those with oily skin, is formulated with glycolic acid and salicylic acid to break down sebum, it is perfectly safe to use with Clear Out every night. This is because we’ve added botanicals to keep the cleanser effective yet gentle to skin. In fact, it is one of the most gentle AHA + BHA washes out there.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a celebrated antioxidant that protects us from the villains out to attack our skin, such as UV rays and pollution. But when mixed with retinol, some might experience irritation and sensitivity.

What to do: Again, this does not mean you need to cut vitamin C out of your routine completely. Simply apply your vitamin C product in the day and use retinol at night.


More Retinol

Retinol, and especially the medical-grade retinol in Clear Out, is already a powerful active. So there’s no need to use it twice in your routine. By doing so, you could even risk irritation.

What to do: Choose one retinol-powered product and you should be good to go!

At the end of day, it’s best to listen to your skin. Your skincare routine should be personal to you so if you find that layering on these potentially clashing actives works for you, go ahead!


Want to be sure your current routine is A-OK for your skin?

Send any questions you have our way via Messenger chat or Instagram DM (@clearlybasics)!

Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.

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Skin Type: Combination

I am getting breakouts since last three years and i tried many things on my skin but got nothing, then i saw clearly basics on instagram but i was bit confused about the results, then i saw the reviews and results of it and i made my mind. I am using it from last three months and I am seeing improvement in my skin and i am patient about it that soon i will get a acne free skin.

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Comments: Amarpreet’s journey with clearly basics

I am using clearly basic since 3 months and i am seeing lots of improvement in my skin day by day. Sometime its hard to believe in products but about clearly basic i am sure that i can get a clear skin soon, because before my skin was worst but now its improving, no doubt still i am getting breakout but i can trust on clearly basic products, even i was worried about results in the beginning but when i saw the results and reviews about it, i decided to give it a try instead of medication which i tried a lot without any results.I just want to say thanks to clearly basics to make that amazing products.

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All I can say is wow

Got all the acne products on a whim and they did not disappoint! I have noticed such a difference in the texture of my skin. I have tried so many acne products and felt like nothing was working. The clearly basics range has lasted me soooooo long and I saw results in just 3 weeks! Really happy with my experience, I would highly recommend those with acne to try this brand. Love it!

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The entire Clearly Basics product line is the only one that has cleared my skin. I tried any product you can think of including doctor prescribed medication and ointment and nothing worked. After having acne for over 15 years I am so happy to have clear, radiant skin!

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I love all of clearly basics! They made my confidence rise because I finally feel comfortable without makeup.
This cleanser is amazing 👏
My skin doesn't feel tight afterwards and now I don't get that mid day shine near as bad.

I love everything from clearly basics! It totally changed my life by clearing my acne. Now they have a new sunscreen and it's great.
It doesn't have a smell or leave your face white or greasy. Best of all it doesn't cause breakouts!

The products are just amazing!! My results in 4 months of using clear out extra strength!!

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Love this product 👏🏽

Works really well! Enjoy using this face wash, never stings or dries out my acne prone skin !

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Emma S.

Worked really well in quite a short amount of time! I now see long lasting results, my skin is healthy and my acne is finally under control! The first product I have tried which works and is actually affordable!

I struggled with lots of painful cystic acne so tried the clear out product. Found by the end of the first bottle a lot of the smaller spots were not coming back and the more painful larger ones were coming back less inflamed. I was happy with the results from the first bottle so I ordered another, this is halfway through the second bottle and can see most of the acne on my cheeks has gone! I still get cystic acne in the T area but it is much less painful than before. Definitely recommend, but takes time to see real results.

Clearly Basics has been an absolute life saver! Not an over night miracle, be patient and stick with it, amazing products

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Sinead C.

I started using clearly basics at the beginning of the year. I have struggled with acne most of my adult life and when I saw a video from a customer on instagram, everything she described is exactly what I had done…had hormonal acne on chin and jaw line in particular. I had been to the doctor, was referred to a dermatologist and had been on medication, tried all sorts of creams and gels with no success.

I cannot believe this actually worked. I would say I saw results within the first month and probably took around 4 months so really clear up. I have continued with using it and now only get the odd spot at that time of the month but use the calm down on it. It has given me my confidence back and now I’m working on reducing the scaring. I use clear out each evening, the TLC in the morning, lighten up twice a day (but that is a small bottle so doesn’t last long) and then have tried both the so fresh and balancing cleansers. For me it really worked so would highly recommend.

Tightens pores and brightens and smoothes skin. This was my first bottle but I will continue to purchase. I use day and night.

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After a few weeks the results were already visible (right photo). Now the red spots are also less visible!!

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"My skin has changed in better after using these products, they are practical and are not aggressive towards the skin.
I was ashamed of going out in public because everyone was pointing out my acne and scars, but since I started using clearly basic, I found a new me. Thank you changing my life!!"

I am 32 years old and still suffering from acne. I tried many things, but acne will dissappear and come back. Now I am using this product and my skin is getting better. Still I get some acne, but hopefully it clear all. But I am not sure how long I should use this product ?

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I love my transformation! I suffered severe acne breakouts for a couple of months and didnt know what to do – I decided to try this So Fresh cleaner alongside the Clear Out and Lighten Up products and saw a massive difference! It took a few months but it cleared up. I have since purchased the So Fresh cleanser again, and will continue to use.

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