Can You Mix Niacinamide and Vitamin C?

While it seems the skincare industry is bringing forth new ingredients all the time, there are some that remain quintessential in skincare routine for many. Niacinamide and vitamin C are time-tested, potent ingredients with many benefits to offer. But can you mix niacinamide and vitamin C?

You don’t have to be a skincare savant to know that some ingredients don’t always work well together. As far as niacinamide and vitamin C go, it’s largely safe to use them together. However, there are different opinions and research. 

This article will answer all your questions about using niacinamide and vitamin C in any form together. 

What are the Benefits of Niacinamide?

Niacinamide (also called nicotinamide) is a water-soluble vitamin B3 that is essential for our body and highly beneficial for the skin. 

For starters, it’s a highly tolerable ingredient, which is why it’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. 

Source: pexels.com
Source: pexels.com

The most prevalent use of niacinamide is in moisturizers and cleansers because of its ceramide synthesis. According to investigative research, niacinamide improves the skin barrier by way of ceramide biosynthesis. Ceramides are natural lipids that help moisturize and protect the skin.

Another notable benefit of this miraculous ingredient is its effect on common aging signs. Niacinamide can stimulate the production of collagen, which is crucial for maintaining the elasticity of the skin. By extension, it also helps deal with fine lines and wrinkles

Niacinamide can also help treat hyperpigmentation and melasma. One Dermatology and Research Practice study compared niacinamide with hydroquinone for melasma and found it to be safe and effective. 

If you think that’s all it does, there’s more. Niacinamide is also good for a skin condition that affects 40 to 50 million people in the US: acne. Thanks to its oil-controlling and anti-inflammatory properties, it can help treat acne when consumed orally or topically. 

There are endless benefits to incorporating this vitamin B3 into your skincare routine. 

What are the Benefits of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid hardly needs an introduction in the context of skincare. While we have known its many benefits for decades, some argue it’s still an underrated ingredient in skincare. 

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It’s common in products for hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone. This particular benefit of ascorbic acid is well documented, with research proving the effect it has on melanin production. 

Vitamin C is a potent ingredient even in the more stable form that is used in skincare and beauty products these days. It’s rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals in the skin layers and prevent photodamage from UV rays. 

While it wasn’t always popular with anti-aging products, we see an increase in its use in such products mainly because of its ability to increase collagen synthesis. A 2015 study explored the anti-aging effects of vitamin C, and it concluded that it’s beneficial for reducing aging signs, especially for people under 50. 

Can You Use Niacinamide and Vitamin C Together?

Now, if you’re wondering, ‘can I use niacinamide and vitamin C together,’ the answer is yes. However, it wasn’t always yes. 

Had you asked this question a decade earlier, you probably would have found that it’s not a great idea to use these two ingredients together. This opinion was based on old research from the 60s that said when niacinamide is combined with vitamin C, it can turn into niacin or nicotinic acid, which can cause the skin to be irritated and inflamed. 

This research was done using unstabilized forms of both ingredients, which is not the case for most skincare products. Most skincare products use a stabilized form of ascorbic acid or its less potent derivatives like sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid

Also, this reaction would normally occur at very high heat, which, again, is not the case for skincare products. 

More importantly, vitamin C is already found naturally in our skin. If it was that bad for niacinamide, we wouldn’t have so many products with this vitamin B3. 

That said, if you have extra sensitive skin, you might want to tread with caution and consult with a dermatologist first or use very mild and low concentrations of either of the ingredients. 

Related: Can you use niacinamide with hyaluronic acid?

Effects of Niacinamide with Vitamin C

The use of niacinamide with vitamin C can actually be quite beneficial. 

While niacinamide will help reduce pores and pigmentation, vitamin C can keep environmental stress at bay with its wealth of antioxidants. Together, the two ingredients can target multiple skin issues from different angles, especially for aging skin that naturally has less collagen and is more prone to cellular damage from free radicals

Source: pexels.com

Both niacinamide and vitamin C are great for brightening skin complexion and lightening dark spots. You’ll find these ingredients in many skin brightening products together. 

There’s also a concern that vitamin C can reduce the effectiveness of niacinamide by turning it into niacinamide ascorbate. While that may be when this compound goes into the deeper dermis layer it turns into niacinamide and ascorbic acid once again. 

Why You Should Use Both Niacinamide and Vitamin C in Your Skincare Routine?

Keeping the debate of ‘can you mix niacinamide and vitamin C’ aside, it’s clear that both of them are star ingredients. These are good for all skin types and can easily be incorporated into the skincare routine with different products. 

Both niacinamide and vitamin C are present in cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and essences. Of course, the potency and impact can vary by the type and brand of products. However, it’s advisable to use both in your skincare routine even if you don’t have the skin problems like acne, fine lines, or hyperpigmentation. 

These can also serve preventive benefits for such problems.

Related: Can you mix niacinamide with retinol?

How to Use Niacinamide and Vitamin C?

If you want to take the safest route for using niacinamide with vitamin C, go for a product that contains both of them. This would ensure that you don’t get any kind of irritation. Plus, you won’t have to wonder which one to apply first!

If you have highly sensitive skin that gets irritated by pure ascorbic acid, you should use one of its derivatives that are less potent. 

The same is the case with niacinamide. While it’s highly tolerable, if you’re using a high concentration product like a serum, you can mix it with a moisturizer. This is another one of niacinamide’s benefits that it works well with almost anything.

Should You Apply Niacinamide Before or After Vitamin C?

The order of application doesn’t matter so much, as both ingredients can be layered on top of each other. But if you’re using the actives of both like serums, apply the vitamin C serum first and let it absorb completely before applying the niacinamide serum. 

Normally, you should take the standard thin to thickest consistency approach. So if you have a serum with niacinamide and a moisturizer with vitamin C, you apply the serum first in this case. 

Best Niacinamide and Vitamin C Recommendations

If you’re convinced that niacinamide and vitamin C are a good combo, which they are, here are some products you can try:

1. NEOGEN DERMALOGY Real Vita C Serum

For those looking for a two-in-one solution for niacinamide and vitamin C, the NEOGEN DERMALOGY Real Vita C Serum packs in the goodness of both. The serum has a 22 percent concentration of vitamin C derivative, along with vitamin complex and niacinamide. 

The vitamin C derivative is sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which is less potent than pure vitamin C. 

This serum can target hyperpigmentation, UV damage, and dark spots to deliver an even skin tone that’s also quite firm. 

2. Paula’s Choice Boost 10% Niacinamide

While niacinamide is the main ingredient in this Paula’s Choice Boost, there’s also some vitamin C in the mix. It contains a vitamin C derivative called ascorbyl glucoside. So you also get some of the vitamin C benefits like oxidative stress reduction and dark spot lightening. 

The niacinamide replenishes the skin and brightens the complexion. Although it’s a stable, lightweight serum, you can also combine it into a moisturizer for easy and safe application. 

It’s good for all skin types and can also be used as an anti-aging serum. 

3. TruSkin C+ Super Serum+

The TruSkin C+ Super Serum+ is essentially a vitamin C serum with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and even retinol. It’s a super serum as it has several potent ingredients, particularly vitamin C and retinol. 

Even when used just twice or thrice a week, it can impart many benefits like preserving collagen, improving complexion, and deflecting skin damage. 

The vitamin C in this is sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Also, this product is made in the US. 

4. CeraVe Vitamin C Serum

If you’re looking for pure ascorbic acid, the CeraVe Vitamin C serum is a viable option. With 10 percent concentration, it can deliver the many benefits of vitamin C, especially bright and even skin tone. 

Other ingredients include three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5

While most serums come in glass containers, this one comes in an easy-to-use tube that you can even carry in your bag. This CeraVe product is lab-tested and free of fragrances and parabens. 

Final Verdict

Niacinamide and vitamin C can work well together, which is why you’ll find them in many products, particularly serums, together. 

As some of the benefits of these two amazing ingredients are the same when you layer them together or one after another, the effects only amplify. 

While both are appropriate for most skin types, those with sensitive skin or skin allergies should take some caution and avoid going for pure vitamin C.