December 11, 2020
Niacinamide might not get quite as much recognition as ingredients like Retinol and Vitamin C when it comes to skincare, but this superstar should not be slept on. It offers many different benefits that make it a great pick for a wide variety of skin types and skincare. But incorporating it into your current skincare routine can cause some questions. Can you use Niacinamide with Vitamin C and/or Retinol? What about with hyaluronic acid?
There are so many questions! We have your answers….
What is Niacinamide?
Simply put, Niacinamide is a B vitamin, one of two forms of Vitamin B3 that is involved in many important cellular functions of the skin.
What benefits does it have for skin?
Niacinamide is a great for those with acne-prone skin. Niacinamide reduces sebum production, which in turn helps prevent acne and diminish that dreaded skin shine.
Niacinamide is also known having anti-inflammatory effects, which are beneficial when it comes to treating acne and other conditions such as eczema.
Niacinamide helps to strengthen the skin barrier, which is a huge plus for those with eczematic and/or sensitive skin, according to experts.
It’s a brightening ingredient that combats hyperpigmentation by blocking the transfer of pigment from the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) to the skin cells where discoloration is visible.
There is also some data showing that using Niacinamide can help reduce wrinkling and photoaging.
There’s really not much that Niacinamide can’t do!
Can you use Niacinamde with retinol?
Yes! Dermatologists actually say that retinol and Niacinamide is a powerful and recommended combination for achieving quicker results. Niacinamide has calming benefits that can also fight the negative side effects and irritation that often come with using a retinol.
Does it work well with other ingredients?
Generally speaking, yes, which is why it’s found in many skincare products and is pretty easy to incorporate into your existing routine. Per those acne-fighting benefits, Niacinamide is often paired with Salicylic Acid, a Beta-Hydroxy Acid that’s a mainstay in acne products, says Dr. Frieling. Combining Niacinamide’s oil-reducing power with salicylic acid’s ability to dissolve excess oil is a great way to help keep pores clear and breakouts at bay.
Niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory and skin barrier-strengthening effects also make it a good option to pair with alpha-hydroxy acids, chemical exfoliants that have the potential to cause some skin irritation. Combining these also increases the efficacy of the Niacinamide, since the AHAs exfoliate the dead skin cells that could otherwise make it harder for the Niacinamide to effectively penetrate the skin, says Dr. Frieling. And finally, Niacinamide is often paired with hyaluronic acid, given that both can help alleviate dryness.
The one ingredient where the jury is still out? Vitamin C.
Some say that Vitamin C can inactivate Niacinamide and suggests separating the application by 15 minutes but Dr. Frieling explains that there is sure debate on the topic, but that in order for the two to negatively interact they would have to be heated, and notes more and more products are actually combining the two in skin-brightening formulations.
The bottom line here: If you’re using a product that contains both Vitamin C and Niacinamide, it has likely been specifically formulated so that they can work together. But if you’re using two distinct products with these ingredients, it's best to wait 15 minutes between applications, or save one for use in the morning and the other to be used at night.
Should I be using Niacinamide?
YES! One of the great things about Niacinamide is not only the list of benefits it delivers, but also the fact that it is relatively well tolerated ingredient, even for those with sensitive skin. This makes it a nice alternative for those whose skin may not be able to handle the stronger, more traditional acne or brightening ingredients, like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids.
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