Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science) on 06th Mar 2021

The Top 11 Skincare Combinations That You Will Absolutely Love!

Skincare Combinations You'll Love

Skincare concerns have tormented people since time immemorial. With wisdom from our forefathers and the tremendous advancement of science in recent years, we now have access to multiple potent skincare ingredients that promise to eliminate our skin woes.

Though potent in their singular form to fight against one or two skin concerns, these ingredients can have miraculous effects on the skin if used combinedly with certain other ingredients. Amazed? You ought to be! But blindly mixing any ingredients will not do any good for your skin. Instead, you might get your skin cells stunned with so much goodness, they will be able to do nothing.

Understanding what ingredient can be layered with what needs a bit of knowledge about the science and mechanism of the ingredients. This time, we thought of taking up the task of putting to you some of the best and most efficient skincare combinations that your skin will fall in love with.  

1. Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid 

Niacinamide is an active form of Vitamin B (Niacin), often regarded as a versatile active ingredient because of its multiple benefits on the skin. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid generally used as a chemical peel to exfoliate the dead and superficial skin cells. Both Niacinamide and Salicylic acid are water-soluble and go perfectly well when layered together.

Both these active ingredients have anti-aging as well as anti-acne action. Salicylic acid, being oil-soluble too, can penetrate the skin cells and reach the deeper skin layers. It exfoliates at a cellular level by detaching the dead skin cells from the healthy ones and also helps in unclogging the congested pores by washing away the dirt, debris, excess sebum, and microbes. This allows Niacinamide to get absorbed in a better way. Niacinamide reduces sebum production, minimizes open pores, and also improves skin texture.

Salicylic acid and Niacinamide help improve collagen production in the skin, making the skin firmer and more resilient. They increase the elasticity of the skin and make it appear more youthful and vibrant. Salicylic acid and niacinamide can also help eliminate hyperpigmentation and give you a smoother, evenly toned skin complexion.  

2. SPF and Antioxidants

Exposure to sun rays can generate free radicals in the skin, responsible for premature aging, skin damage, and even skin cancer. The solar radiation-induced free radicals can alter the cellular DNA structure and break down the skin's collagen. This, in turn, can damage the integrity of the skin. Thus, to protect the skin, dermatologists recommend using a good quality broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF at least over 30.

However, sunscreen can only block about 55% of free radicals produced due to exposure to UV rays and offers no protection against free radicals produced by infrared rays and visible light. This is where antioxidants help. Whether applied topically or taken orally, these ingredients help neutralize free radicals' harmful effects by counteracting their action. It has been seen that when antioxidants like Vitamin C are added with sunscreen, it can reduce the generation of free radicals by about 78%.  

3. Vitamin E and Vitamin C 

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Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants that help in counteracting the effects of free radicals in the skin. It is also responsible for promoting collagen production in our skin. However, the amount of Vitamin C that we get from our diet is not sufficient for our skin as it gets drained from our body circulation. This is why you need topical Vitamin C for your skin’s needs.

Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble nutrient present in abundance in the stratum corneum. It helps in absorbing the oxidative stress from the free radicals induced due to exposure to solar radiation. Together, Vitamin C and Vitamin E have synergistic effects. While Vitamin C helps in increasing the generation of Vitamin E, it has been found that Vitamin E can increase the power of vitamin C by four times when used together.  

4. Retinol and Niacinamide 

Retinol is an active form of vitamin A that promotes skin cell turnover and boosts collagen synthesis in the skin. It can increase skin hydration, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and reduce skin hyperpigmentation to some extent. However, some cases have shown that one can experience skin irritation and dryness, damage, and increase transepidermal water loss.

Layering Niacinamide with Retinol will help stabilize the skin barrier function and reduce water loss from the skin cells. Niacinamide can also help in improving skin hydration. Thus, niacinamide helps counteract the dehydrating effect of Retinol and helps the skin tolerate the ingredient.  

5. Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C 

Though not a popular one, the combination of Vitamin C and Glycolic acid can be very powerful. Together, these ingredients can help in boosting collagen production in the skin. These ingredients can also inhibit tyrosinase activity and thereby help in reducing melanin synthesis in the skin. This combination is very potent in fading away skin hyperpigmentation spots and patches on regular use.

Some studies have also shown that Vitamin C and glycolic acid can increase epidermal and papillary thickness. This helps in reducing the signs of aging and makes the skin appear younger.  

6. Hyaluronic Acid with Alpha Hydroxy Acids 

Alpha Hydroxy acids are known as chemical peels that help exfoliate the superficial skin cells and bring out newer, younger, more radiant skin cells from beneath. It helps in promoting cell regeneration rate. It fights against acne and controls sebum secretion.

Hyaluronic acid being an inert ingredient, goes perfectly well with AHAs. It helps in counteracting any skin irritation caused by facial acids. Exfoliation can also cause dryness. Hyaluronic acid, being a potent humectant, adequately hydrates the skin. This also makes the skin cells healthier and strengthens the skin’s integrity. 

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7. Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids 

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Layering Alpha hydroxy acids with Beta hydroxy acids can result in a very powerful combination.

While AHAs can help in exfoliating the superficial deposition of dead skin cell debris and in the regeneration of dermal cells, the BHAs penetrate the skin, help unclog congested pores, remove accumulated debris and sebum. AHAs can help in reducing inflammatory acne-like pimples and pustules. BHAs help in reducing non-inflammatory acne like whiteheads.

However, the double exfoliation can be harsh on certain skin types, dry the skin out, and cause skin irritation.  

8. Hyaluronic Acid and Peptides 

If you are in your late twenties or just stepped into your thirties, Hyaluronic acid and peptides can be a great combination for aging skin. Peptides are amino acids that are the building blocks responsible for building skin proteins such as collagen and keratin. This ingredient can help make your skin look vibrant and younger and help in fighting acne and breakouts.

Hyaluronic acid is an inert ingredient that you can combine with almost all other active skincare ingredients. The ingredient works as a booster and peptides that help keep the skin well moisturized and make it appear softer and supple. The plumper look that hyaluronic acid gives your skin and increased collagen synthesis caused by peptides make the skin firmer and more resilient.  

9. Alpha Arbutin and Vitamin C 

Alpha arbutin is known for its extraordinary ability to lighten the skin complexion by reducing melanin production. Combining Vitamin C with it can complement their effects. The antioxidants property helps neutralize free radicals in the skin that helps in brightening skin tone and reducing signs of aging.

These ingredients and skin lightening agents like Kojic Acid or even Niacinamide work in the same way. This combination is highly effective in treating skin hyperpigmentation spots and patches. Vitamin C also promotes cell turnover, which gradually brings up newer cells with brighter and more evenly toned complexion. 

10. Green Tea Extracts and Caffeine 

Both Green tea and caffeine are great sources of antioxidants. While green tea has wonderful anti-inflammatory effects, caffeine demonstrates photoprotective properties. Green tea and caffeine hold each other up and enhance their properties by working together. If you are using a product with a combination of these two ingredients, it can neutralize free radicals and prevent skin damage. It can help in fighting acne and even help prevent UV-B-induced skin cancer.  

11. Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide 

If you are not happy with your uneven skin tone, Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide can be an excellent combination for your skin. These ingredients have a similar action and help in reducing the melanin synthesis by targeting the melanosomes. Regular application of this combination can visibly reduce skin pigmentation and fade away spots and patches.

Niacinamide can also help in promoting collagen production and improve skin hydration. This, in turn, helps in reducing visible signs of aging and makes your skin more radiant, plumper and youthful.  

The Bottom Line: 

Sometimes two is better than one, and this can be proved by the incredible skincare combinations resulting from years of research and experimentation.

We hope this article will help you and allow you to pick the best combination of skincare ingredients for your skin.