Is It Safe to Combine Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide?

Are you looking for an acne-fighting powerhouse? If so, you may be wondering if it’s safe to combine niacinamide and salicylic acid simultaneously. The short answer is yes. They work well together.

When it comes to skincare ingredients, a few combinations are often recommended to be used together. One of these is salicylic acid and niacinamide. Both elements are used in skin care products to treat various skin issues

Salicylic acid is oil soluble and can therefore penetrate deeper into the skin layers, but if used incorrectly, it may dehydrate or irritate them. On the other hand, niacinamide promotes wound healing and enhances natural moisture retention.

Niacinamide and salicylic acid have comparable effects, although their methods of action are slightly different. In this article, we’ll take a look at how each ingredient works and why you might want to use this powerful skincare duo in your skincare routine.

What is Salicylic Acid, and What Does Salicylic Acid Do?

Salicylic acid is the most popular Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that is oil-soluble, which means it can get deeper into the skin and remove more sebum, germs, dirt, and impurities. It is a naturally occurring component in willow bark that has been shown to be effective in treating acne.

Salicylic Acid; Source:
Salicylic Acid; Source:

Salicylic acid enhances the moisture level in the skin while also dissolving the “glue” that binds together pre-existing cells. Additionally, its antimicrobial activities aid in treating blemishes and acne by regulating skin cells and removing impurities from pores.

It is beneficial for all skin types, but it’s a real star for individuals with comedonal acne or blackheads and whiteheads. Always begin with a low concentration of salicylic acid on your skin until you are sure that you can manage it. Then, to minimize any irritation caused by it, add soothing ingredients.

Skincare benefits of salicylic acid:

  • It softens and dissolves keratin
  • Mildly exfoliates the surface of the skin
  • Decreases dullness
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Clears pores and fade hyperpigmentation
  • Soothes Inflammation

What is Niacinamide? What Does Niacinamide Do?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble structure of vitamin B3 that boasts excellent hydrating qualities, attracting moisture from the air and sealing it into the skin. This, in turn, causes the skin to look hydrated and plumped with a youthful bounce. 

Niacinamide; Source:
Niacinamide; Source:

In addition, many skin problems, such as dry, flaking patches of dead skin cells that need to be moisturized, are relieved. All indicators of skin aging are reduced, including fine lines and wrinkles.

Niacinamide is a mild antioxidant that works in tandem with natural skin components to reduce inflammation, brighten skin, and promote healthy collagen stimulation. It’s safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin and rosacea-prone complexions.

Skincare benefits of niacinamide:

  • Controls the production of oil
  • Enhances uneven skin tone
  • Softens wrinkles and fine lines 
  • Decreases moisture loss and dehydration
  • Tightens lax pores
  • Visibly lessens enlarged pores

Can You Use Salicylic Acid With Niacinamide?

The simple response is yes, but there are some precautions you need to take. Niacinamide and salicylic acid are both effective when used together. Still, it’s essential to make sure you know their proper use when mixing the two ingredients in your everyday beauty routine.

Both salicylic acid and niacinamide target the same issues: increased sebum levels and decreased collagen and elasticity in the skin, manifested by enlarged pore sizes. 

With the aid of blemish reducing salicylic acid, you will see a reduction in blemish size and frequency. All of this while niacinamide works to keep your skin moisturized and comfy by limiting moisture loss and ensuring that the complexion is hydrated.

If you want to use niacinamide and salicylic acid at the same time, wait at least 30 minutes before applying niacinamide after using a salicylic acid serum. This will give it enough time for both ingredients to operate at their intended pH level

Related: Can you use niacinamide with hyaluronic acid?

What are the Benefits of Using Both Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide together?

Salicylic acid and niacinamide have a synergistic effect when used together. The duo will further prevent breakouts from appearing, flatten enlarged pores and reduce any post-acne marks that may occur after a blemish has healed.

1. Keep your skin balanced

This fantastic pair will assist in keeping your skin balanced and avoid it from going into a dry or oily state. They’ll prevent blemishes from appearing and will reduce the time a blemish takes to heal.

2. Lessens fine lines and wrinkles

Niacinamide and salicylic acid both promote collagen production in the skin, which is why they help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

3. Reduces hyperpigmentation

When used in conjunction, they make a great team to help reverse any signs of sun damage, hyperpigmentation, or photoaging skin.

4. Soothing inflammation and redness

Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide work to decrease inflammation, which may help with redness in eczema, acne, and other inflammatory skin diseases.

5. Minimize pores

Salicylic Acid cleanses pores by removing dirt, sebum, and dead cells. Niacinamide tightens the pores by increasing skin suppleness. They work together to reduce the appearance of pores by blocking sebum production. Niacinamide works to strengthen the barrier of the skin.

How to Apply Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide Together?

This is determined by the sort of skincare product you pick, as both of these components can be found in various skincare products. If you’re new to either one and are just starting to incorporate it into your regimen, using a face cleanser that includes active levels of BHA would be your finest bet. 


Besides, you can simply apply a serum with niacinamide over your skin. Follow this with salicylic acid serum. This won’t clog your pores because the ingredients work on different face areas and are an excellent method to employ both niacinamide and salicylic acid.

Additionally, applying niacinamide before complements salicylic acid well since it can counteract the drying consequences that commonly occur due to using daily salicylic acid in your skincare routine.

Don’t forget to apply a soothing lotion after your skin has soaked up the actives. To avoid any discomfort or skin sensitivity, seal the ingredients with your favorite moisturizer, and don’t forget to use sunscreen.

Related: Can you use niacinamide with retinol?

What Precautions Should You Take When Utilizing These Ingredients Together?

If you are new to both ingredients, it is vital that you patch test before using the two together on the face. It is also suggested to use daily (or every other day) applications of each ingredient for just a few weeks to ensure your skin can tolerate them without any adverse reactions.

  • Salicylic acid should be used cautiously by those with rosacea or other inflammatory skin conditions. It is known that salicylic acid will cause an increase in inflammation when misused.
  • Anyone using a retinoid or any form of Vitamin A should not use salicylic acid simultaneously as it may increase the risk of retinol and other forms of Vitamin A becoming toxic to the body.

Even though they shouldn’t cause any skin sensitivity when used correctly, it is essential always to use protection and never skip sunscreen. It’s advised to keep an eye out for signs of overexfoliation, such as dryness, redness, and flaking

If you begin to notice these signs, simply discontinue use for a week or two until your skin returns to normal

List of Best Products That Contain Both Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid

Several brands combine both niacinamide and salicylic acid. Here, listing our top niacinamide and salicylic acid-containing products:

Top Niacinamide Products:

1. No products found.

  • Reduce the appearance of pores and signs of aging
  • Vitamin C, niacinamide, and licorice extract are all present in this booster
  • It brightens and evens out the skin tone

No products found.

2. No products found.

  • Reduce sebum production
  • Affordable
  • It evens out the skin tone, improves the texture, and shrinks pores

No products found.

3. No products found.

  • It contains 5% niacinamide, glycerin, and tripeptide concentrate
  • It has a positive impact on the skin’s tone and texture
  • Resolves the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

No products found.

Top Salicylic Acid Products:

1. No products found.

  • It’s a gentle, non-abrasive leave-on exfoliator, perfect for oily, acne-prone skin
  • It gives a radiant and youthful skin
  • It brightens, hydrates, and smooth fine lines

No products found.

2. No products found.

  • Suitable for dry skin and textured skin
  • Charcoal and clays are also included to deep clean, unclog pores, and eliminate impurities
  • This masque is formulated at a pH of 3.5-4.5

No products found.

3. No products found.

  • Help with congested pores
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • It’s a gentle exfoliator ideal to use for all skin types

No products found.

Who Will Get the Most Out of Utilizing Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide In Combination? 

Anyone who wants to increase the effectiveness of their skincare routine, reducing pore size and fine lines while stimulating cell renewal in the body, can benefit from this combination. 

However, combination and greasy skin types will benefit the most from combining salicylic acid with niacinamide. Salicylic acid cleanses and prevents future congestion and balances oil production, while niacinamide repairs the damage caused by a breakout, strengthening the protective barrier to prevent further harm.

Final Verdict

Niacinamide does not reduce the effectiveness of salicylic acid and vice versa. However, you must use both products in moderation as too much can cause dryness or flake on your skin. This should be applied at night for the best results

You should always consult with an expert before combining any substances on your face if you’ve some serious skin concerns. A dermatologist will have knowledge about how different combinations react in order to avoid potential adverse reactions.

However, if we’re going to pick the best for all skin types, it will be:

  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

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