Can You Mix Skincare Ingredient Hydroquinone And AHAs?

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

If you've ever dealt with hyperpigmentation issues on the skin, you know it can be a concerning and overwhelming process to heal. Examples of hyperpigmentation include dark spots and acne scarring. While it might be easy for some to get rid of these, it can be difficult to heal others. However, there are plenty of skincare products that you could use to help hasten the process of healing your hyperpigmentation. Various skincare ingredients promise to help heal these areas and get you closer to your perfect skin. One of the ingredients that can help your hyperpigmentation is hydroquinone. While not as popular as other skincare ingredients, hydroquinone is perfect at combating hyperpigmentation. MasterClass explains that hydroquinone is a skin-lightening ingredient that can bleach your skin and help remove areas of hyperpigmentation. If you've ever had dark spots you needed to get rid of, hydroquinone can help solve your issue.

However, like other skincare ingredients, hydroquinone should be used carefully when combined with other skincare ingredients. While some skincare ingredients are gentle enough to be used with a wide variety of other products, there are others you need to be more careful of when combing them. AHAs are another group of skincare ingredients that can be dangerous when used with others. And because these ingredients are both potent, it's vital to know whether hydroquinone and AHAs can be used in the same skincare routine. Using them incorrectly could lead to further skin issues and damage.

You should probably use hydroquinone and AHAs separately

Unfortunately for skincare lovers, hydroquinone and AHAs should probably be kept apart. While not entirely harmful, combining the two can aggravate and intensify skin reactions. Apostrophe explains that hydroquinone can cause skin irritation — and adding AHA into the mix may exacerbate this negative side effect. Because both these skincare ingredients are potent and intense, it's best to hold off on using them together until you know how your skin reacts to them. If your skin can adequately handle hydroquinone and AHAs separately, there's a chance you might be able to use them together. However, it's recommended to not mix them until you are certain your skin is ready.

Dr. Brandt Skincare adds that hydroquinone is known for causing peeling, flaking, and irritation. For that reason, you want to be careful with what you pair it with in your skincare routine. AHAs are chemical exfoliants that can also irritate the skin, as they're meant to get rid of dead skin cells. AHAs, like hydroquinone, are also designed to be used alone and not with other harsh skincare ingredients, to avoid further irritation. If you want to use both ingredients, try alternating the days you use them to avoid contact. Test each ingredient separately in a patch test on the skin to see how you react to hydroquinone and AHAs. Those with sensitive skin might find that neither skincare ingredient is compatible with their skin, and that they should seek gentler options.

How to apply hydroquinone and AHAs in your skincare

When using hydroquinone or AHAs in your skincare routine, you want to ensure you take proper precautions to receive all of their benefits. Dr. Michele Squire, a skincare scientist and the founder of skincare consultancy QR8, tells Marie Claire, "When used on its own, hydroquinone is safe to use during the daytime, and is often prescribed for twice daily use. When used as part of the 'triple therapy' combination of tretinoin, hydroquinone, steroid, it can only be used at night." Because hydroquinone is so potent, you want to avoid using it when you apply other powerful ingredients. If you aren't sure, try incorporating hydroquinone only at night to be safe. Always follow up your hydroquinone with sunscreen the next day, as it can leave your skin vulnerable to UV rays as it brightens your skin.

Like hydroquinone, AHAs should always be followed with sufficient sunscreen. Since this skincare ingredient works as a chemical exfoliant and removes your dead skin, you want to ensure your fresh layer of skin has ample protection against harmful rays. Though many AHA products are formulated for nighttime use, the Victorian Dermal Group notes that you might want to insert AHA skincare products into your daytime routine to exfoliate any dead skin before applying makeup to ensure a flawless finish. Because AHAs are a common skincare ingredient, you can find them in almost all forms — from cleansers to toners, options are abundant for your AHA skincare product.