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Truth Blog:

(Last update 10/10/20)

NEW: How about Red Light Laser Therapy?

Too Good to be True?

Article: Red Light Therapy May Actually

Be the Fountain of Youth

When I first encountered red light therapy (RLT), I thought I'd found the holy grail of health treatments. It sounds like actual magic: With the flick of a switch, a dose of red light is rumored to cure everything from acne to sore muscles from cellular level up. No chemicals, no down time. But as with most magical-sounding health cure-alls, you have to wonder: Too good to be true?

There is a lot to be excited about, according to experts, but RLT isn't totally free of controversy, either. Here's how red light therapy works, and which of its claims are legit and which remain shady.

Illuminating How Red Light Therapy Works

RLT works its magic by delivering safe, concentrated wavelengths of natural light into your skin (up to 10 deep millimeters, to be exact) where it's absorbed by your cells. This "stimulates the production of collagen, elastin and fibroblasts," says Rhonda Klein, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut. That in turn enhances a little something known as ATP, the source of energy fro every cell in the body (read: natural energy sans a 3:00 PM caffeine crash). "RLT also boosts circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your cells and tissues," Dr. Klein says.

Translation? When your cells are hit with the red light wavelengths, a host of regenerative effects occur, leading to potential benefits like younger-looking skin, enhanced muscle repair, and diminished scarring.

As evidence for RLT's benefits mounts, so do ways to soak them up. Professional wellness spots- your dermatologist's office, local spa, or maybe even a fancy gym- offer a variety of options, from full-body panels that allow you to bask in the glow to smaller devices for more targeted treatments. You can also do DIY treatments at home with a handheld device, red light face mask, or even an RLT bed, if you want to go all in.

It's not just any red light that delivers this performance-optimizing boost, however; two wavelengths of red light in particular- 660 nanometers and 850 nanometers- deliver the best biological response, explains Michael Hamblin, M.D., an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. The former, 660 nanometers, is more quickly absorbed in the skin, making it the go-to for cosmetic treatments, while the 850 nanometer wavelengths penetrate deeper into your body to help with muscle recovery, joint pain, and full body health. 

In other words, you can't just pop a red light bulb into your desk lamp and expect to jumpstart a cellular time machine. When you visit a professional, you can expect a treatment utilizing one of these optimal wavelengths, but if you buy a DIY device, be sure to check that it specifies an output intensity. "With so many devices coming out online, it's a good idea to consult a dermatologist or other skin care specialist to guide you on the most effective choice," says Dr. Klein. (You should also be wary of tanning salons that swap out UV bulbs for red bulbs in tanning beds and bill them as "anti aging" treatments, she adds.)

Where red light does become controversial is how many rays you actually need to soak up to see results- researchers haven't yet nailed down the optimal dose. What they do know is there isn't a fear of overdoing it. "You could use RLT for 24 hours a day and wouldn't damage the skin," says Dr. Hamblin. "It's almost impossible to cause any harm." 

Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Wound healing

Wolverine-esque wound healing is just one of the many benefits touted by proponents of RLT- and there's no shortage of research to confirm it really does help you heal faster. A 2014 study found red light therapy promoted, "increased tissue repair and healing...[plus] beneficial effects on wrinkles, acne scars, hypertrophic scars, and healing of burns." 

Muscle repair and recovery

When it comes to muscle repair and recovery, evidence suggest RLT has benefits when used both pre- and post workout. A 2014 study found that the therapeutic technique led to reduced muscle loss, less muscle soreness and fewer range-of-motion impairments for up to four days of exercise. A more recent 2018 study also proved that RLT both before and after exercise reduces knee muscle fatigue.

Pain relief

At the core of many of these benefits is RLT's potential to reduce inflammation and pain. Researchers have found that RLT exposure can help reduce pain for osteoarthritis knee pain, meniscus tears, general knee pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and back pain. The data on red light therapy for pain relief is so convincing the FDA has approved it as a therapy for treating minor pains and arthritis.

Skin Issues

One of the most popular uses of RLT is to clear up skin issues like acne. "I wouldn't traditionally recommend red light therapy for severe acne, but it's a wonderful additive therapy that's safe and well-tolerated by all skin types and tones," says Angela Lamb, M.D., associate professor of the department or dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The skin-clearing secret lies in RLT's anti-inflammatory effects, says Dr. Klein. It also helps naturally decrease oil production and bacterial levels in your skin-no drying effects or harsh chemicals required.

While there's solid evidence that RLT benefits acne, the research is still lacking when it comes to psoriasis. "At this time, psoriasis probably has the least amount of data when it comes to red light therapy alone being an effective treatment," says Dr. Klein.


Ok, so how about that whole fountain-of-youth thing? There are plenty of studies to support RLT's antiaging prowess, such as a 2014 study which determined that users of RLT experienced significantly improved skin complexion and an increase in collagen. "Science shows that red light therapy protects existing collagen and boosts new production," says Dr. Lamb. "Plus it helps with texture, tone, pore size, and wrinkles,"

The Verdict

So is RLT really magic? Not quite- no treatment is able to give you Wolverine-like powers just yet. But the science behind red light therapy is incredibly promising. "Realistically, you can expect RLT to improve your skin's tone and texture," Dr. Klein says. "We know that it soothes inflammation, improves mild acne, and proactively treats fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to other benefits."

The jury is still out regarding the exact dosage needed for optimal effect, but in the meantime, you can rest easy knowing there's proven antiaging benefits [for both skin and body wellness] and no harmful side effects.

Source: Hannah Chenoweth, Wellness Glamour Magazine February 24, 2019

Click here for Full online version of article and links to referenced studies (Wellness: Red Light Therapy May Actually Be the Fountain of Youth)

Want MORE exciting and interesting information about Red Light Laser Therapy?

NEW: Understanding Hydrophilic Oil

Article: What The Heck Is Cleansing Oil,

And Why Is Everyone Obsessed With It?

When the cleansing oil craze first took off, we were skeptical about slathering our faces with more a product our skin naturally produces. But we've secretly obsessed over having clear skin like the women we've met who swear by the face cleansing method.

Still there are plenty of questions we have: What exactly makes cleansing oil just as good or even better for your skin than regular bar soap? Can people who have oily skin use the product? Why doesn't the oil clog our pores?

We asked three skincare experts to help us sort out the hype.

Here's what we learned.

Cleansing oil uses the "good oils" in your skin to remove the "bad oils."

No matter the skin type, cleansing oil mixes with the preexisting oils already on your face, according to cosmetic dermatologic surgeon, Dr. Ariel Ostad. "Some of these oils can either be naturally produced sebum or those from makeup and other products. When you rinse it all off, the 'good oil' takes those 'bad oils' and dirt along with it," he told HuffPost Style.

When massaged into the skin, oils in the cleanser bind to surface impurities [pulling out dirt without clogging pores] and allow them to be comfortably rinsed away leaving the skin clean, soft and hydrated, explained Dr. Diane Walder, a Miami-based cosmetic dermatologist. So, cleansing oil does not sink into your pores since it works to remove impurities and then gets washed away.

Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa aesthetician Kayla Causey believes the oil cleansing method is a win/win situation. "A lot of oil-free cleansers strip our skin of natural oils, leaving it unbalanced and causing it to produce more oil to rebalance it. Excess production equals more problematic skin. Oil cleansers keep the skin's natural pH balance, and prevents it from having a production overload. Plus, essential oils are naturally antibacterial," said Causey. 

Oil cleansers contain antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients that also improve the texture and appearance of your skin.

"There are a variety of cleaning oil formulations that contain active ingredients to address specific skin concerns-- dryness, dullness, acne, anti-aging-- and thus may be used to cleanse and improve all skin types," said Dr. Walder.

Depending on the product and the effects desired, cleansing oils usually contain a mixture of botanical oils (olive, sunflower, sesame, safflower, almond, grape seed), extracts (green tea, jasmine) and/or vitamins (vitamin E and C).

Dr. Ostad recommends cleansing oils with botanical amino acids to patients with oily skin to gently remove the excess sebum. Those with dry skin can use most oils, according to the medical expert, as their skin needs its hydration factors the most. Combination skin will receive the best benefits from safflower oil because it is capable of both cleansing and hydrating. And finally, those with sensitive skin should go for a soothing formula of olive oil to prevent skin irritation.

The question of whether cleansing oils are helpful and/or safe for those with acne-prone skin has been a matter of much discussion, Dr. Walder told HuffPost Style. Because acne encompasses oil production, bacterial overgrowth and inflammation, she prefers cleansers with non-pore clogging oil-like ingredients such as glycerin and/or silicone.

Baby Oil is a great make up remover, but it's not an effective cleansing oil.

Baby oil contains mineral oil, lanolin and fragrance whereas cleansing oils contain mostly botanical oils, extracts and vitamins, according to Dr. Walder. "Some cleansing oils may contain mineral oil and/or fragrances, so there are some similarities between the ingredients in baby oil and cleaning oils," she said.

"On one end, baby oil locks in moisture, but at the same time it inhibits the skin's natural ability to breathe and can block pores", said Causey. This makes it not such an ideal cleanser when trying to wash away dirt and debris.

To break the tie, our experts recommend cleansing oil because it removes impurities while maintaining moisture without harming the skin's barrier.

Source: Dana Oliver, Style & Beauty Updated September 1, 2015

NEW January 2020: Introducing from California, the incredibly versatile "outside-of-the-box" skincare line, TUEL

Tuel took hydrophilic cleansing oil to an entirely new level by harnessing nature and cold pressed ingredients to create 5 different formulas for ALL skin types (including oily & acne & break out prone skin) as Step 1 followed by Step 2, an herbal toner, to dissolve and wash away all of the "debris" from your face.  

Welcome to the highly innovative process of Deep Pore Cleansing Duo and choose or consult for the best duo for your skin type.

In 1979, Tuel Skincare was created by Eva Friederichs based on the belief that good skin care contains only the best that nature has to offer. She formulated products with high concentrations of plant extracts, active botanicals, and minerals rich in potent antioxidants and vitamins in order to feed your skin from the outside in.

Today, Tuel Skincare is owned by Eva’s daughters, Lisa and Lori Nestore, who are both licensed cosmetologists. Their mission is to help everyone —of all ages, genders, skin types, and ethnicities — get the best skin of their lives.

Key products

Rescue Deep Pore Cleansing Duo is specifically formulated for mature skin and features anti-aging botanicals like horsetail, rosewood, and carrot seed. These extracts stimulate cell rejuvenation, support firmness, and promote skin elasticity.

Detox Deep Pore Cleansing Duo is specifically formulated for acne-prone skin and is packed with antibacterial botanicals like tea tree, golden rod, and mistletoe that help clear existing blemishes and prevent new ones from forming.

Calm Deep Pore Cleansing Duo is specifically formulated for reactive skin and contains anti-inflammatory botanicals like chamomile, marigold, and green tea that relieve irritation, balance skin pH, and calm redness.

***(Additional Skin Type Cleansing Duos are Available. See Tuel Website, in addition to my Signature Facials, The Tuel Experience pages for further information!)*** (Click Here)

Clear It Blemish Control Gel targets bacteria and helps regulate oil production without drying out or damaging healthy skin. C Power Antioxidant Vitamin C Serum brightens, fights aging, gently exfoliates, and protects. Power Peel Refining Glycolic Acid Gel dissolves dead skin and build-up in order to reveal brighter, fresher, more radiant skin.

Source: Derm Review

And now..... how about seeing some results from hydrophilic cleansing on four example skin types:

32 years old, blemishes and fine wrinkles on face, moderate sun damage. Combination skin.

55 years old, tired and stressed skin, with areas of dryness.

22 years old, very oily skin which became more oily throughout the day. Prior products made issues worse.

26 years old, uneven skin tone and rough texture, very sensitive skin prone to breakouts.

Source: The Oil Cleansing Method: A Beginner's Guide, by Ananya Banerjee

Why do I love Manuka Honey?

I carry some favorite and well researched products to suit a variety of skincare concerns, with the purest available ingredients found on earth. Several of my signature facials include bio-active Manuka Honey in masks or products. Manuka Honey has been a long time popular and natural choice for a variety of skin issues and many of my Wellness and Signature Facials include Manuka Honey masks or products.

The bees from which this high quality (medical grade) honey is harvested, are cherished and a highly protected natural resource in New Zealand.

Manuka Honey is monofloral (from one type of flower) produced by introduced European honey bees feeding on the manuka or tea tree which grows uncultivated throughout New Zealand and southeastern Australia. Manuka honey is considered an "active" honey. All honey has hydrogen peroxide in it, which is created by enzymes that bees manufacture along with the sugars to turn into honey; all honey also contains methylglyoxyl, a bactericidal compound, but in very low concentrations. The magic of manuka honey is that the bees pass on the additional antifungal and antibiotic properties of the tea tree into their potent honey, creating more active hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxyl.

Manuka Honey for the Skin:

It works wonders for blemished skin because of its aforementioned natural antibacterial properties. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and soothes inflamed or blemished skin. The skin’s pH is naturally balanced and amino acids slough away dead skin cells, helping to keep pores clear.

Manuka Honey for Anti-Aging:

MG (antibacterial methylglyoxal) has been shown to increase collagen cross-linking, promoting the structural growth of collagen in skin cells. Since amino acids are the building blacks of collagen, they also protect collagen. Healthy collagen means healthy, firm, youthful-looking skin.

Manuka Honey also helps skin retain moisture as a natural humectant, drawing moisture into the skin. This hydration helps to further enhance the skin’s elasticity and cell regeneration, as well as promote healing.

Microdermabrasion Or Ultrasonic Exfoliation – Which Is Better?

Why are Ultrasonic Facials simply Fabulous?

Ultrasonic Facial: Regeneration

It’s an exciting yet simple and powerfully effective tool to rejuvenate your skin. Ultrasound has been widely used around the world in medical applications and is now available for state of the art skincare treatments. Ultrasound uses the cutting-edge technology of very high speed, low-frequency sound waves that radiate invisible micro vibrations deep within cells, helping stimulate the skin’s natural repair mechanisms in distinct ways. But what does that mean for you? In short, it means Ultrasound is superior at cleansing, exfoliating, product infusion restoring elasticity, clearing of pigmentation problems & dramatically improves texture and smoothness...all without using chemicals, dangerous acids or other harsh abrasives.

But that is not all. Here are just some other important benefits of Ultrasonic treatments in skin rejuvenation:

  • loosens and removes oil, dirt and cellular debris from follicles for cleaner, healthier skin

  • reduces puffiness and helps firm the skin

  • pain free, gentle and completely non-invasive

  • treats gently the most sensitive skin

  • restores skin to a smooth, youthful glow and maintained with regular treatments

  • harmlessly exfoliates the top layer of the skin for a clearer, healthier complexion without causing redness or irritation associated with standard microdermabrasion

  • improves blood circulation and skin elasticity

  • helps remove oxidized waste material from the skin which in turn..

  • increases cell regeneration

  • soothes inflammation and speeds wound healing

  • increases moisture retention

  • improves acneic skin and scarring conditions

  • reduces pore size

  • penetrates skin care products more deeply into the skin where they are required to affect change ......and too many others to list

Want more information? Then let’s consider the main phases of Ultrasonic Facials:

*** Exfoliation - The Exfoliation Phase removes 20% to 50% of the "stratum corneum" — the outer layer of the skin that we continuously shed. Water is applied and then the hand instrument, similar to a small spatula, is stroked over the skin. Ultrasonic vibrations spin the water molecules at high frequency causing cavitation — that is a brief phase change in the water molecule. Cavitation gently removes the dead surface skin cells and cleans out follicles without irritation and inflammation associated with other mechanical methods.

*** Infusion - This is one of the best features. Normally, large molecules cannot penetrate the skin to provide the deep medication that skin often needs to maintain health. But ultrasound makes that penetration possible — the process is called "sonophoresis." More exciting still is because of the small molecular size of the active in the line, 302 skincare products, when used in conjunction with Ultrasonic treatments, prove an especially powerful combination for skin health and rejuvenation. Typically, a serum is penetrated into the skin to provide deep healing and protection to skin cells. Your skincare specialist will discuss with you any other products specific to your skin type that you may need. These are applied liberally to the skin and then the hand instrument is lightly stroked over your skin. The ultrasound frequency opens minute pathways to allow the product to penetrate deeply into your skin, for better, more long-lasting results.

*** Micro Massage Therapy - This phase normalizes the skin with a very mild electrical current — a medically proven technique to restore individual cells' natural electrical charge. The paddle is lightly stroked over the face and throat creating a slight pulsing and warming on the face. When a cell has been damaged due to environmental causes, like overexposure to the sun or aging, the cell's electrical current is adversely affected. As a result, waste products build up in the cell, restricting the flow of nutrients required to maintain its health. This condition makes it difficult for cells to heal from damage and to regenerate. The micro massage phase helps normalize the electric current within the cells and promotes healing, cell regeneration and resiliency. Thus, new life is literally massaged into tired, injured and aging skin.

Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Ultrasound helps stimulate and promote collagen and elastin production for more youthful skin. It also helps with hydration. The "plumping" of the skin fills out fine lines and wrinkles.

The Final Result - When used regularly along with a quality skincare home program, your skin will be smoother, healthier and younger looking. Who isn’t interested in that?

As a tool for rejuvenation, ultrasound is powerful. Simple and effective. It will give you the immediate result without using harmful chemicals exfoliates and continue its effects for months after applications.

Source: Essence of Beauty, Ottawa, Ontario

What does it mean to be "Natural" or "Organic" ?

Each of these is worthy of a long discussion, but here are the short answers:

1.) There is, however, no actual definition of natural according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

2.) Natural skin care is the care of the skin (the largest organ of the body) using naturally-derived ingredients (such as botanicals extracts, roots, essential oils and flowers) combined with naturally occurring carrier agents, surfactants, humectants and emulsifiers. The classic definition of natural skin care is based on using botanically sourced ingredients currently existing in or formed by nature, without the use of synthetic chemicals, and manufactured in such a way to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. We strive to be as natural as possible, but to be all-natural is virtually impossible.

3.) We do not use animal derived ingredients.

4.) There are no legally defined parameters for certifying cosmetics as being organic. The whole concept is fraught with issues. Cosmetic ingredients are not like food, so trying to apply food based standards are problematic. We strive to make the most effective products without regard to the concept of organic, or else we would have to forgo the use of such technologically advanced ingredients as Peptides, CoQ10 and Vitamins, which cannot be certified as organic.

5.) Our products are not certified vegan or vegan approved, but they do not contain animal derived ingredients.

6.) All formulas Gluten Free.

7.) No. If our products could be maintained without preservatives or with only natural preservatives, we would do so. It is imperative that products are free of contamination and remain so after the consumer opens and uses the product. Therefore, we will make sure that each formula meets the necessary level of protection.

Source: Private Label Botanical

Personal Approach on Peels:

*** Peels will be offered in the future based on client demand. My main concern with peels is even though the recommended time is 5 days to avoid sun post peel, other studies and articles indicate longer periods of time.

  Florida is a difficult territory for chemical facial peels, especially for the active individual who spends much time outdoors, golfing and enjoying the beach, or even just being on the go (we get much unexpected sun exposure while driving in our cars!). Wearing a hat while out on the boat does not protect us from the reflective rays off the water; sunblock is simply not enough protection from direct environmental elements post peel treatment. Offsetting the benefits are post-treatment or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which is detrimentally enhanced by the raw exposure of the freshly peeled skin to sun exposure. Peels also work best in series, adding another dilemma for many clients.

 For client safety, in seeking peels elsewhere, do not accept any peels in which the percentage is not available or noted by the spa. Any peel above 30% is legal ONLY in medical spa settings in the State of Florida, under the directive of a medical doctor.

Q: What products or procedures should I avoid before a chemical peel?

• Two to three days before the peel discontinue using any prescription topicals such as Retin-A, differin or Tazorac, as well as any products containing retinol, alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA), beta hydroxyl acids (BHA) or benzoyl peroxide.

Chemical peels should be avoided if any of the following conditions are present:

• Accutane use within the last year

• Allergies to aspirin

• Patients with Vitiligo

 My current facials are high powered for deep exfoliation, effective product penetration for maximal treatments (with UltraSonic technology), and avoid downtime to accommodate the lifestyle of my clients here in Naples, FL, including our visitors who certainly want to take full advantage of our sunshine and hopefully use sunblock regardless! 




Figuring Out Your DYI Skincare & Mixing Products during a Pandemic!

I have a fun collection of interesting articles and resources on my website page, Truth Blog, but this one warranted a page of all its own. During our long pandemic, we have all had quite the hiatus from professional spa services. Many of us have resorted to DIY facials at home or experimented with our “rainy day” (and often expired) skin care samples found tucked in the back of newly organized drawers. Time and boredom, coupled with our desire to keep ourselves healthy and looking our best, may not always have the most desired results!

For those of you feeling “adventurous” with your at home skin care or suffering from the freshly coined skin condition known as “Mascne” (acne or congested pores resulting from hours of wearing a mask), this is the page for you! As a skin care professional, I take for granted that “do”s and “don’t”s are often forgotten when it comes to how we use our skin care products- from mixing favorite labels and layering ingredients, to the time of day we apply. I also have to remind myself of these basic rules as I have to admit I’m like a kid in a candy store when companies send me boxes of samples!

Enjoy the following article by Jenn Sinrich, with simple, easy-to-read verbiage! Give yourself a little check list to look and feel your very best.

BodyWellness of Naples will be re-opening in September and offering massage therapy, cupping therapy and (new) red light laser therapy in our beautiful full body treatment bed. 

Facial services will be limited until further notice but open door product pick ups continue to be available with special discounts! We also have budget friendly skin care kits available to give your home care regimen a fantastic boost before your next facial. Shipping is also available.

Stay Safe and Well!

Mary Lambrecht (owner)

5 Skin-Care Ingredients You Should Never Mix- And 4 You Should.

(Source: Jenn Sinrich, August 11, 2020, Product Advertisements have been removed from this Copy Version)

As a beauty writer, my vanity, medicine cabinet, bedside table, and nearly every other drawer or empty box in my apartment is filled to the brim with makeup and skin-care products. What can I say? I'm a little obsessed. Plus, it's kind of my job to try different products, right? At least that's how I justify it.

Still, one thing I've learned over the years of trying and testing just about every single product line I can get my hands on is that there's no one-size-fits-all: what works for your skin might not work for someone else's, especially when mixing and matching is involved.

I had to learn the hard way: after breaking out and getting greasier than an empty pizza box after using a cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, and face mask from a myriad of different companies as part of my daily and weekly regimen. I realized I was doing something (or many things) wrong.

I went to see my derm, whose first question was: which skin-care products are you using? I gave her the full list. That's when she explained to me that this hybrid of formulas was most likely the culprit. "Some active ingredients used in skin-care products can act as irritants when mixed with others, particularly in individuals with sensitive skin," explained Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, M.D., Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at South Shore Medical Center.

That's not to say you can't use more than one line of product — it's just that you have to consider which ingredients each product and brand contains and whether or not that combination could wreak havoc on your skin. Combining skin-care ingredients that don't go together can lead to more than just breakouts and greasiness, but also redness, flakiness, burning, or, at the very least, will cause the ingredients to cancel each other out, leaving you without so much as a little added moisture at most. 

To help you achieve a healthy, clear glow, we asked skin-care insiders to reveal the ingredient combinations that are more powerful when used together and the ones that lead to adverse effects when slathered together.

Don't Mix: Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinol

If you've been dealing with acne for a while, you probably already know that both of these ingredients work to prevent breakouts. But there's a good reason they're not often used in combination in the very same product. "Benzoyl peroxide is a potent acne product that's great for inflammatory acne, but many people are unaware that benzoyl peroxide can inactivate a topical retinol," explained Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip.

This doesn't mean that you cannot use benzoyl peroxide during the same period that you're using retinol; it just means they should never be layered on top of each other or you'll be in for a rude (and red) awakening.

(Do) Mix: Retinol and Glycerin

Retinol is a miracle skin-care ingredient, but it's also pretty drying. That's why dermatologists and estheticians urge their patients and clients to use it sparingly. It's also recommended to use a bit at a time until skin is accustomed to it and stops peeling from it. One ingredient that can help prevent irritation when using a retinol-containing product is glycerin, a powerful humectant that helps draw water to the skin.

"When used together, they work synergistically to combat the signs of aging while also moisturizing the skin to minimize the irritating effects of retinoids," said Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip.

Don't Mix: Vitamin C and Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Both of these ingredients offer antioxidant benefits, but when combined, they can throw off the pH balance of your skin due to too high levels of acidity. Products containing vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) as an ingredient contain low levels of acidity (typically a three on a scale of 14). When you use this kind of product along with an alpha hydroxy acid, like glycolic or lactic acid, you're essentially reducing the effectiveness of the vitamin C product. Is it dangerous or irritating to combine them? Probably not. But you'll be wasting a whole lot of what might be an expensive product if you do!

(Do) Mix: Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that improves fine lines and wrinkles and help to eliminate unwanted hyperpigmentation. This antioxidant becomes even more powerful when it is combined with glutathione and ferulic acid, said Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip.

Don't Mix: Vitamin B3 and Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Also known as niacinamide, vitamin B3 is a skin conditioning agent that helps repair and refine the skin's structure. It tends to work best in an environment with a neutral pH, which we just explained is certainly not alpha hydroxy acids, as they have an extremely low pH level.

"When used in a product containing high levels of alpha hydroxy acids (i.e. glycolic, lactic,) nicotinic acid is produced, which may result in skin flushing and potential irritation," explained Ramya Viswanathan, product development manager at Biossance. While it won't necessarily harm you to use them both together, they basically cancel each other out.

(Do) Mix: Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is another powerful humectant that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, meaning it does wonders in hydrating the skin. "Skin loses water and moisture as we age, and especially with the use of drying ingredients such as retinol in other products," explained Dendy Engelman, M.D., dermatologist in New York City. "This ingredient will help store hydration."

Don't Mix: Vitamin C and Retinol

Retinols and retinoids are powerful ingredients that address several skin-care concerns, from diminishing fine lines and wrinkles and preventing acne to lightening brown spots and increasing collagen production. This is why you'll find a retinol-based product in many dermatologists' skin-care routines.

"The main concern with retinol-based products is skin irritation," said Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip. "There are several active ingredients that may increase the chance of irritation with retinoids, one being vitamin C." Like retinol, vitamin C is effective in combating the signs of aging, including fine lines, firmness, and uneven skin tone. However, when these products are used together, they may cause irritation in those with sensitive skin.

(Do) Mix: Vitamins C and E

Since both of these vitamins are antioxidants, they become even more powerful at protecting your skin from free radicals in the environment and reducing signs of aging when combined. So, basically, when you use them both, along with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you're giving your skin the most optimal shield against the sun and, inevitably, the wrinkles that come along with UV exposure.

Don't Mix: Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Retinol

Glycolic acid and lactic acid are both chemical exfoliants that help improve the skin's texture, minimize pore size, and also help with brown spots, whereas salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that controls oil production to help prevent pimples. Glycolic acid, lactic acids, and salicylic acids are often found in face washes in low concentrations.

"While these products can be used with retinol-based products, you do not want to use these products one right after the other, particularly if you have sensitive skin," warned Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip. If you must use acid washes, she suggested using them in the morning and using your retinol-based products at night followed by a gentle moisturizer.

(More Solid Advice)

Word to the wise: never start pairing immediately, no matter which product combinations you're using. "Always allow your skin to adjust to one product for at least a week before you add on a second product to prevent any confusion about potential allergic reaction should you experience one," said Rachel Nazarian, M.D., dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. "It's slightly more relevant for those with sensitive skin who are more prone to develop allergies to products, but it can happen to anyone, so expose your skin to one product at a time."

If your skin starts to react badly, you'll know which product was the most likely culprit. She suggested that those with dry skin avoid exfoliative and acidic pairings, which can cause worsening of dryness, and focus more on gentle antioxidant regimens and moisturizers or oil-based products. People with more oily or acne-prone skin can handle most regimens, but are better suited toward products containing salicylic acid and vitamin A, which help decrease oil-gland production. 

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