Layering skin care is a popular way to gain benefits from multiple hero ingredients (like niacinamide, vitamin C retinol and more) in the same routine. The idea is to target skin concerns by layering different toners, serums, moisturizers and more for the appearance of smoother skin that’s more hydrated. However, not all skin care ingredients can be mixed together.
Thankfully, there is one hero ingredient that is friendly with skin care ingredients making skin care layering possible. Enter niacinamide, an incredibly popular topical ingredient found in many formulations because of how well-tolerated it is when combined with other ingredients. There are still a few caveats when it comes to layering niacinamide and trying to figure out what you can use with niacinamide. Here, learn all about niacinamide, what ingredients you can layer it with and what combinations to be mindful of.
What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide (aka niacin) is a form of vitamin B3 that has become a popular topical ingredient in skin care for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Dr. Michelle Henry, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant says, “It contributes to moisturizing the skin, and it also contributes to fortifying the skin barrier and reducing inflammation.”
According to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, the use of topical niacinamide has also been shown to help minimize the appearance of dark spots. Post-acne marks from picking at acne or sun spots from too much-unprotected sun exposure are well-known forms of dark spots that niacinamide can help reduce the appearance of.
Niacinamide — as well as the other ingredients mentioned in this guide — can be found in serums, moisturizers, face masks and even cleansers. The type of formulation you use may affect how certain ingredients layer with each other (more on that below). This incredibly popular skin care ingredient is found in many formulations because of how well-tolerated it is when combined with other ingredients.
What Can You Layer With Niacinamide?
According to Dr. Henry, “Niacinamide is one of those ingredients like ceramides. It plays really well with other ingredients.” She adds that this is part of the reason she likes the ingredients so much. When it comes to skin care layering, keep in mind that you’ll want to apply skincare based on consistency with the thinnest products coming first. Below, learn more about the benefits of layering active ingredients with niacinamide and which ones to be cautious about combining.
Can You Use Niacinamide With Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a key molecule in skin aging that is naturally found in the body but diminishes with age. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCB), when hyaluronic acid is used topically it helps the skin retain water to improve the skin’s barrier. Together, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide help boost hydration and soothe the skin, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Layering niacinamide and hyaluronic acid is beneficial for all skin types since everyone can afford more hydration in their routine. When used in the same routine these two ingredients help restore moisture to dry skin and balance oil production in the skin.
For an everyday routine, use a niacinamide serum like L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum to target skin concerns like acne and dark spots and layer it with the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Micro Hyaluronic acid + Ceramides line-plumping water cream to lock in moisture and visibly re-plump dehydrated skin. If you prefer layering serums for a more concentrated dosage, consider using the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum to deeply replenish hydration and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Can You Use Niacinamide With Retinol?
You can (and should) consider layering niacinamide and retinol in the same routine, especially if you have sensitive skin. Retinol is a well-known ingredient that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging. However, it’s a powerful exfoliant that can irritate sensitive skin. That’s where layering niacinamide comes in to soothe skin.
Introduce retinol and niacinamide into your skin care routine with a layering of serums like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum, 0.3% Pure Retinol and L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum to target dark spots and other signs of aging. Or, use a pre-mixed formulation and try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Pressed Night Moisturizer with Retinol + Niacinamide which is formulated to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles while evening skin tone and its overall texture.
According to Dr. Henry, you’ll want to pay attention to the formulations you use and the way your skin reacts when layering niacinamide and retinol. “Some people can get a little bit of flushing with it,” says Dr. Henry. If you experience this, cease use immediately and contact your dermatologist if the irritation doesn’t subside within a few days
Can You Mix Vitamin C and Niacinamide?
If you scroll online through other sources you’ll find a lot of disparity as to whether you can mix vitamin C with niacinamide. Per the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, when a vitamin C formula is exposed to the light or left open for too long, it can become unstable making it not as effective. And when you pair it with certain ingredients, like niacinamide, that can make both ingredients ineffective. With this in mind, you can still layer these ingredients in the same routine — just use pure formulations to target concerns specifically.
Try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 12% Pure Vitamin C + E + Salicylic Acid Serum and L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum to target skin dullness and dark spots. When used in the same regimen, these serums nourish skin by resurfacing skin’s texture for a smoother complexion and reducing the appearance of enlarged pores. With these serums, you’re technically layering vitamin C, niacinamide and salicylic acid in the same routine. Salicylic acid is another skin hero that layers well with niacinamide (more on that below).
Can Niacinamide Be Used With Salicylic Acid?
As stated above, you can use niacinamide and salicylic acid together. Both of these ingredients have been studied as a way to help the appearance of acne and post-acne marks. Keep in mind that niacinamide is an incredibly gentle skin care ingredient that helps soothe skin, especially when using exfoliants (like salicylic acid) that may be irritating to some skin types, per Columbia Doctors.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is great for penetrating oily skin and acne-prone skin that produces an excessive amount of oil, according to the NCBI. When layering salicylic acid with niacinamide you’ll get the benefits of an exfoliant that promotes smoother skin with minimal irritation. Similar to the previous section, when you layer a niacinamide serum like L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum, with a serum infused with salicylic acid like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 12% Pure Vitamin C + E + Salicylic Acid Serum, you get brighter skin with visibly diminished dark spots.
Can You Use Glycolic Acid With Niacinamide?
According to the NCBI, glycolic acid is a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that has been used to help the skin from the effects of photoaging (when the sun prematurely ages skin) like fine lines, wrinkles, and skin elasticity — to name a few. You can use niacinamide after an AHA or BHA peel to help soothe inflamed skin, similar to its use with retinol (an exfoliant) and salicylic acid (a BHA).
If you’re looking to reduce the signs of aging, use a concentrated glycolic serum to target these concerns. Try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum which serves as a physical exfoliant to resurface skin for a smoother and refined complexion. Its lightweight formula quickly absorbs into the skin, making it easy to layer with niacinamide without leaving behind a greasy feeling. Layer it with the L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum to further address sun aging concerns like sun spots, post-acne marks and other forms of dark spots from too much sun.
What Not to Mix With Niacinamide
You can use niacinamide with the most active ingredients, however, you don’t want to actually mix the products together before application. This may lead to skin irritation or redness according to Dr. Henry. Instead, layer individual products on top of each other or use pre-mixed skin care that’s been precisely dosed by cosmetic chemists.
Now that you have a better understanding of layering this hero ingredient you can go through your skin care regimen to reap the benefits of using niacinamide with other skin care actives. The results will be a stronger skin barrier with soothed skin that better targets skin concerns like acne, dark spots, fine lines and more.
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