The ever-evolving skincare industry is full of different ingredients that work to help us achieve and maintain a healthy, youthful, and radiant complexion. It seems as though there is a new product in the market every other day that comes with eye-catching advertisements and promising claims. However, among these fancy-sounding newbies, there are some longstanding and reliable skincare ingredients that have proven to be effective in delivering their promised results. Vitamin C and niacinamide are arguably among those big names trusted and recommended by many experts in the skincare industry. Each of these skincare favorites comes with an array of benefits.
However, many people seem to be confused about whether they can use both these skincare ingredients together. So, today, we’re here to learn and differentiate the myths and facts about combining vitamin c and niacinamide. So, let’s get down to business!
What Each Ingredient Is And How It Works
Before we get to the widespread misconceptions and truth about using vitamin c and niacinamide together, it’s important to know what these compounds are and how they help your skin. So, let’s start by cracking down on each ingredient individually.
- Vitamin C: This water-soluble compound is necessary to perform several vital functions to keep us healthy. Along with its matchless health benefits, vitamin c also offers a myriad of skin benefits. Some of the most major skin benefits of vitamin c include:
- Enhanced collagen synthesis: It amps up the level of collagen in the skin by aiding in the production of collagen-synthesizing amino acids, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine.¹ These amino acids help produce and stabilize collagen-forming molecules. This, in turn, helps to repair and restore connective tissue to its healthier shape.
- Fights off Free Radicals: Another important function of vitamin c in skincare is combatting damaging external elements, particularly free radicals. These agents are the primary cause behind cell damage, which may manifest in the form of wrinkles, age spots, and fine lines. Restorative abilities of vitamin c repair and prevent cell damage as well as thicken the outer layer of the skin.
- Reduces Hyperpigmentation: We all know that an excess of melanin in the skin leads to discoloration or hyperpigmentation. Vitamin c reduces melanin synthesis in the skin, which minimizes the appearance of dark spots and scars.
- Restores and Retains Moisture: Vitamin c deeply hydrates the skin and strengthens the skin’s outer layer, ensuring the integrity of the lipid barrier. Consequently, your skin becomes less prone to losing its moisture through the epidermis.
- Soothes Inflammation: Vitamin c has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, which not only treat skin inflammation but also speed up the process of healing. Vitamin c is excellent for anyone trying to manage itchy, inflamed, and red skin.
Niacinamide: This skincare component, also called nicotinamide, is derived from vitamin B3.² Like vitamin c, niacinamide is a water-soluble ingredient and is not manufactured in our bodies. The best way to sustain the optimal level of this vitamin in the skin is through diet, supplements, and topical skincare products. Here’s what it does for the skin:
- Treats Hyperpigmentation: Niacinamide isn’t far behind vitamin c when it comes to reducing and treating hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide affects and regulates melanocyte-forming enzymes, resulting in reduced production of melanin.
- Reduces Wrinkles: Topical niacinamide helps treat and prevent wrinkles and fine lines by boosting collagen production in the skin, which repairs damaged cells and prevents more damage.
- Protects against Environmental Stress: High antioxidant power of niacinamide aids in shielding the skin against oxidative stressors, like UV rays, free radicals, and other pollutants in the air, which can lead to skin damage.
- Hydrates and Moisturizes: Niacinamide assists in the synthesis of ceramides in the skin, which keeps the skin hydrated and moisturized. Also, it replenishes lost moisture and inhibits the loss of moisture through the lipid barrier.
- Calms Inflammation and Acne: The natural soothing ability of niacinamide that comes from its anti-inflammatory components can help to relieve very dry, itchy, scaly, and sensitive skin. It also controls the overproduction of sebum, reducing acne breakouts.
Myths about Using Vitamin C and Niacinamide Together
Two of the most common misconceptions about using vitamin C and niacinamide together are:
- Combining both ingredients reduces or neutralizes their efficacy, and;
- The combination might produce a skin-irritating substance called nicotinic acid.
However, the claim that both these ingredients shouldn’t be combined is based on obsolete research conducted in the early 1960s. A point that renders these studies insignificant is that non-stabilized forms of vitamin c and niacinamide were used in the study. Both the ingredients are generally stabilized when used in present-day skincare formulas.
The concern about the undesirable element, nicotinic acid, formulated as a result of combining vitamin c and niacinamide together, can also be eliminated if the product is not kept at a high temperature for a long time. Perry Romanowski, an independent cosmetic chemist, explains, “It’s unlikely to be a problem in modern day formulations stored at room temperature.”³ Additionally, vitamin c requires an acidic or low pH environment to work its best, while niacinamide works better at a neutral pH.
Should Vitamin C and Niacinamide be Used Together?
The next question is if the combo should be added to your skincare routine. We know that mixing both these ingredients together in the same product or layering them on top of each other is safe. But what makes vitamin c and niacinamide a winning combo is the plethora of skin benefits both offer. Also, vitamin c and niacinamide yield similar benefits, so the ingredients are complementary in nature. Both the ingredients mainly target pesky signs of aging. However, their course of action differs slightly. Combining them will produce a powerful formula that will address the same skin problems in different ways.
For instance, if you’re trying to treat hyperpigmentation and brighten the skin, vitamin c will work by inhibiting the action of an enzyme tyrosinase, needed for the formation of melanin. Niacinamide, on the contrary, will reduce pigment by preventing the transfer of melanin within cells. Therefore, you’ll be targeting the problem from different angles, ensuring optimal results.
Using Vitamin C and Niacinamide Together
The next thing that many may find confusing is layering vitamin c and niacinamide skincare products. To make sure that you gain the most out of your products and don’t experience any irritation, here’s how you should use vitamin c and niacinamide together:
- Choose a Product with Both Ingredients
The easiest way to use vitamin c and niacinamide together in your skincare routine is to find a product comprising both these ingredients in active form. This way, you won’t have to stress about layering them correctly or taking extra precautions. There are many products out there in the market that contain both ingredients. For example, Sundree’s RYSE+SHYNE hydrating facial serum contains both vitamin c and niacinamide in addition to hyaluronic acid and CBD. This facial serum works overtime to visibly brighten and hydrate your skin while helping to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Follow Thinnest to Thickest Rule
Another way to apply vitamin c and niacinamide together is to follow the basic thumb rule of applying skincare products with thinner formulations first and then following with products with a thicker consistency. If you use a niacinamide serum and a vitamin c cream or lotion, apply the serum first and let it dry before applying a heavier product. It’s also recommended to give the products some time to absorb before jumping onto your next product.
- Use Vitamin C Serum and Niacinamide Moisturizer
Another option is to use a vitamin c serum and niacinamide moisturizer. One of the best things about niacinamide is that it can pair well with other active ingredients. So, if you apply it after vitamin c serum, you won’t have to worry about its stability or effectiveness.
Since vitamin c is known to be particularly unstable, you need to slather it on a clean and dry face. Allow your vitamin c serum to absorb into the skin completely, and then apply your niacinamide moisturizing cream or lotion.
The myths related to using vitamin c and niacinamide in combination are not supported by any new studies. In fact, the ingredients have proven to yield better results by complementing each other’s properties. Vitamin c and niacinamide are safe to be used together in one product or used separately in different products layered on top of each other. Here at Sundree, we take into consideration that more skincare consumers are looking for quick and easy skincare products that prove to be effective. That’s why we crafted RYSE+SHYNE facial serum. Instead of having to apply multiple products to target different concerns, as mentioned, we have combined the best ingredients in one powerful facial serum, vitamin c and niacinamide being a couple of the stand-out ingredients.
So whether you decide to use a facial serum that includes both vitamin c and niacinamide, or you use each ingredient in a stand-alone product, the ingredients will both prove to be effective.
- Cedars-Sinai Staff. (2020). ‘Collagen For Your Skin: Healthy or Hype?’, Cedars Sinai. Accessed September 15, 2021. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/collagen-supplements.html
- Kumar, Karthik, MBBS. (2021). ‘What Does Niacinamide Do for Skin?’, MedicineNet. Accessed September 15, 2021. Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/what_does_niacinamide_do_for_skin/article.htm
- Rud, Melanie. (2021). ‘Can You Use Niacinamide and Vitamin C at the Same Time? We Asked Derms’, Accessed September 16, 2021. Available at: https://www.byrdie.com/niacinamide-and-vitamin-c-4845348