If you have rosacea, acne, or hyperpigmentation, you might be aware of these two ingredients in skincare that can improve your skin for good.
The lovely niacinamide reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone, along with balancing excess oil production. The other superstar, azelaic acid helps fight acne and remove dead skin cells without causing any irritation to sensitive skin.
If you’re wondering whether it is okay to use azelaic acid and niacinamide together, here’s the good news. Yes, you can!
Read on to learn all about the benefits of azelaic acid and niacinamide paired together.
Can I Use Azelaic Acid With Niacinamide?
Yes, you can certainly use azelaic acid with niacinamide.
It is exceptionally important to ensure that various ingredients work well together in your skincare routine. Otherwise, you could end up with zero results and wasted bucks.
However, with azelaic acid and niacinamide, you are in the clear because pairing these two ingredients does not increase skin sensitivity.
Instead, it gives you multiple skin benefits, especially if you are looking to reduce redness, enlarged pores, and pigmentation while decreasing acne breakouts and scarring.
As they both fade hyperpigmentation and acne scars, reduce redness, improve skin tone, fight acne, and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores without causing any irritation, they are great for most skin types – whether you have sensitive skin, acne-prone skin or even inflamed skin.
Can I Use Azelaic Acid And Niacinamide Together Every Day?
Yes, you can use azelaic acid and niacinamide together every day. Once you incorporate them into your skincare routine, you can use them together even up to twice a day, depending on your skin type and concerns.
If you use a lot of skincare actives, it is best to use them in alternate skincare routines. And always finish with sunscreen during morning routines.
How To Layer Niacinamide And Azelaic Acid?
It all comes down to the formulation of the skincare products containing these two ingredients and the right order of layering them to achieve the best results: cleanser, toner, serum, treatment, cream, and moisturizer.
Here is a little cheat sheet for you to get ahead of your skincare game:
1. Azelaic Acid Cleanser, Niacinamide Toner
- Use azelaic acid cleanser to remove dirt, dead skin cells, impurities, and excess oil that clogs the pores.
- Once you’re done, follow up with a Niacinamide toner to soothe and brighten skin, while visibly minimizing enlarged pores.
2. Azelaic Acid Toner, Niacinamide Serum
- After cleansing, use your azelaic acid exfoliating toner.
- Follow with a hydrating niacinamide serum as it prevents moisture loss from the skin while soothing it.
3. Azelaic Acid Serum, Niacinamide Moisturizer
- After you’re done with cleansing and toning, use azelaic acid serum or emulsion to reduce redness and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Follow up with a niacinamide moisturizer to protect the skin barrier and improve uneven tone.
4. Azelaic Acid Serum And Niacinamide Serums
- If you are using both skincare ingredients in the form of serums, you can apply them after cleansing and toning.
- It does not matter which one goes before or after since both azelaic acid and niacinamide potentiate each other’s effects.
5. Niacinamide Serum, Azelaic Acid Cream
- After cleansing and toning, apply niacinamide serum evenly on your face.
- After allowing your face to dry, use azelaic acid cream to reap its benefits.
6. Niacinamide In AM Routine, Azelaic Acid In PM Routine
If you feel like it’s too much for your skin to pair these ingredients in the same skincare routine, you can also try using one in the morning, a one in the evening.
Since azelaic acid is an exfoliator, I recommend using it in your PM skincare routine.
7. Combined In One Product
Some brands have formulated products with both azelaic acid and niacinamide together, so you can apply said product according to the correct sequence of layering skincare products.
Always remember to finish with sunscreen with SPF 30 or above in your morning skincare routine.
Should I Use Niacinamide Before Or After Azelaic Acid?
This depends on the formulation of the skincare products containing niacinamide and azelaic acid.
Sticking to the general rule of layering from thinnest to thickest (to ensure optimal absorption of skincare products), you can use both ingredients in the same routine.
For instance, use an azelaic acid cleanser before a niacinamide serum, or similarly use an azelaic acid serum before a niacinamide moisturizer.
If you use both ingredients as serums, it does not matter which one goes on first, as both are well tolerated and have amazing benefits for your skin, especially if you have rosacea, acne, and hyperpigmentation (melasma, discoloration, dark spots).
How Long To Wait Between Azelaic Acid And Niacinamide?
Though it depends upon the formulation of the product used, it is generally best to wait for 1-2 minutes to ensure proper absorption and optimal results.
If you use both azelaic acid and niacinamide as serums in the same routine, you can use niacinamide first, followed by azelaic acid a minute or two later.
PRO TIP: If you are using prescription-strength azelaic acid (higher concentrations, usually more than 15%), it is best to use azelaic acid and niacinamide in alternate routines. For example, you could use niacinamide in your AM routine and azelaic acid in your PM routine.
Benefits Of Pairing Azelaic Acid And Niacinamide
These are the benefits of pairing azelaic acid and niacinamide together:
- Fading hyperpigmentation
Using azelaic acid and niacinamide together can reduce hyperpigmentation (dark spots, melasma, discoloration, brown spots, blotchiness, and whatnot).
Azelaic acid inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase which is responsible for melanin synthesis. Niacinamide also decreases melanin production, hence it is great to reduce discoloration and hyperpigmentation caused by sun and UV rays.
- Effective treatment for acne
Owing to the antibacterial properties of azelaic acid, and the combined anti-inflammatory characteristics of the two ingredients, the mix is great to reduce acne, and is often recommended as part of acne treatments.
- Fading acne scars
The benefits of niacinamide and azelaic acid include a marked reduction in post-acne marks.
Since azelaic acid breaks down dead skin debris and niacinamide promotes collagen production, this combo is quite effective in reducing acne scarring.
- Reducing redness
The combination of these ingredients perfectly reduces redness with its anti-inflammatory benefits, making it a great option for people with rosacea, redness, blotchiness, and similar skin concerns.
- Improving skin texture
Using niacinamide and azelaic acid together is great for improving dull texture. Azelaic acid removes dead skin, whereas niacinamide boosts collagen production, which improves the overall skin texture.
- Brightening complexion
Azelaic acid and niacinamide can help improve uneven skin tone, which gives you glowing skin, due to their brightening and antioxidant effects.
- Regulating oil production
Both azelaic acid and niacinamide together reduce sebum production, the leading cause of acne. According to a study, niacinamide has proven to reduce sebum production after 4 weeks3.
- Fighting signs of aging
Niacinamide and azelaic acid both fight signs of aging4. Since niacinamide promotes collagen synthesis, it helps improve skin tone and texture while reducing dark spots, age spots, sun damage, skin sallowness, and more5.
Azelaic acid reduces hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, and blemishes.
- Reducing appearance of enlarged pores
Being a keratolytic ingredient, azelaic acid works to remove dead skin, and excess sebum that clog the pores.
Whereas niacinamide stabilizes the lining of the pore, giving it a smoother texture. Together, they help to visibly reduce the appearance of large pores.
Everything You Need To Know About Niacinamide
Niacinamide is a type of Vitamin B3, a versatile water-soluble ingredient commonly used in a range of skincare products, including serums, moisturizers, and toners.
Niacinamide plays an important role in your body by reducing inflammation, repairing DNA, and boosting cellular energy. It also improves skin texture, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Other than that, it moisturizes the skin, reduces excessive sebum, makes the skin barrier strong, and reduces large pores.
Benefits Of Niacinamide
- Acne and acne scars
Niacinamide reduces inflammation and aids in regulating oil production, which can clog pores and cause acne.
- Improved skin texture
Niacinamide boosts collagen synthesis, which results in improved skin texture.
Niacinamide helps to fade dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma by inhibiting the production of excess pigment in the skin.
- Great for specific skin issues
It has anti-inflammatory properties that counter the effect of environmental irritants. It helps with skin conditions like rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and pruritis (itchiness).
- Strengthens the skin barrier
Being a natural humectant, it prevents moisture loss from the skin. It increases skin cell turnover and ceramide production, contributing to skin barrier strength as well as skin hydration.
- Anti-aging benefits
It improves skin moisture, reduces wrinkles and fine lines, reduces melanin production, stimulates collagen, and has antioxidant properties. It even helps repair the skin against sun damage.
- Radiant complexion
Niacinamide is known for brightening the skin tone and giving the appearance of healthy glowing skin.
- Reduced pore size
Niacinamide effectively reduces the appearance of larger pores.
Niacinamide – Potential Side Effects
Niacinamide is a very safe ingredient and is generally well tolerated.
However, it can occasionally cause skin irritation, redness, and allergic reactions in individuals with reactive skin.
It is advisable to perform a skin patch test before incorporating it into your skincare routine.
What Should You Not Mix With Niacinamide?
Mixing niacinamide with other ingredients (retinol, zinc, hyaluronic acid) is generally safe.
However, you should be extra careful when you want to mix niacinamide with skincare acids like salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid as it could cause flushing.
AHAs and BHAs work better in acidic environments, whereas niacinamide works optimally in pH levels of 6-7.5, so mixing them can reduce the effectiveness.
Wait at least 30 minutes before applying niacinamide after using exfoliating acids such as AHAs and BHAs.
It was once believed that Vitamin C should not be mixed with niacinamide. However, recent studies have proven complementary advantages when niacinamide is used with vitamin C.
Everything You Should Know About Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid derived from wheat, barley, and rye.
It is a gentle chemical exfoliant that removes dead skin, fights signs of aging, and reduces redness and pore size.
It also fades hyperpigmentation and old acne marks, along with fighting bacteria-causing acne and improving skin texture and tone.
Since it does not irritate the skin, it is great for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Benefits Of Azelaic Acid
The benefits of using azelaic acid are:
Being a gentle exfoliant, azelaic acid removes dead skin and rough patches, giving the appearance of healthier skin.
Improvement in rosacea and decreased redness
Owing to its anti-inflammatory characteristics, azelaic acid reduces inflammation, redness, and swelling, making it great for rosacea, post-inflammatory erythema, etc.
Acne treatment and prevention
It fights acne-causing bacteria, and reduces future acne breakouts while reducing post-acne scarring.
It removes blackheads, whiteheads, gunk in the pores, and excess oil, which can clog the pores.
Due to its ability to inhibit melanin production, it reduces melasma, hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and blotched patches.
There is another ingredient, often compared to azelaic acid, which also help with pigmentation: alpha arbutin.
Improved skin texture and tone
It improves both the texture and tone of the skin by removing dull and rough patches, which results in smoother, brighter, and softer skin.
It visibly improves fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and sun damage and stimulates collagen production.
Azelaic Acid – Potential Side Effects
Though it has none to minimal side effects, it can rarely cause itching, redness, peeling, or dryness.
Always remember to perform an elbow patch test before starting any new product/ingredient.
What Should You Not Mix With Azelaic Acid?
You should not mix azelaic acid with BHA (salicylic acid), vitamin C, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, or physical exfoliators.
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