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The Retinol Rules: Here’s What You Can and Can’t Mix With the Superstar Ingredient

Photo by Anna Tretiak/ Getty Images

When it comes to skincare ingredients that help with anti-aging, acne-prone skin, dark spots, enlarged pores, uneven skin texture, and more, it’s no secret that no matter what your skin type or skin goals are, retinol is the queen bee. It’s also no secret that just like a queen bee, the ingredient comes with its own set of nuances, which is why incorporating it into your skincare routine also comes with an adjustment period (including purging), various contraindications, and a host of dos and don'ts. To give you the low down, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that helps increase cell turnover, pretty much like exfoliation. Thanks to this, the rockstar ingredient helps improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles, builds collagen, helps decrease hyperpigmentation, clears up breakouts, and more—it makes sense why derms recommend retinol all the time. 

Using retional comes with a ton of skincare benefits, making adding it to your routine totally worth it (trust us!). The most important part is about making sure you’re using retinol the right way. A big part of this is learning how to make sure your retinol works well with your other skincare ingredients. So, if you’re like us and love the idea of retinol but don’t necessarily know how to incorporate it in your routine, we’ve got a list of derm-approved ingredients that play nice (and not so nice) with retinol. 

About the Expert:
Neera Nathan, MD, is a double board-certified dermatologist based in Boston, Massachusetts. 

1. Skincare Ingredients That Should Not Be Mixed With Retinol

About the author
Runa Rhattacharya
Runa Bhattacharya
Runa is an NYC-based writer and Registered Nurse with over 8 years of experience covering beauty and wellness. She’s worked for publications like SELF, Cosmopolitan, and more. She’s passionate about beauty, science, and two careers that she loves!
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Article Last Updated June 3, 2024 12:00 AM