Acne-prone skin can be worrisome for both adolescents and adults. You may be wondering if layering multiple skincare products such as BHA and Niacinamide could be effective and improve your daily skincare routine.
Well, if you know how to properly layer them, they could quickly help you improve skin texture and solve your skin concerns.
With its amazing properties to penetrate deep into the pores and keep them clean from excess sebum, salicylic acid (family of BHA acids) is one of the most well-known chemical exfoliants.
In terms of popularity, Niacinamide (a form of Vitamin B3) is also one of the most used serums as it controls enlarged pores, excess oil production and strengthens the skin barrier.
When used together, Niacinamide and BHA come to benefit all skin types. However, based on your skin type, you should know the right technique and the right order to use these products together.
If used without a gap, their mix can cause a skin irritation or even an allergic reaction, plus it won’t be really effective!
Can You Use Niacinamide With Salicylic Acid?
Yes, niacinamide and salicylic acid can be used together.
However, to avoid potential skin inflammations or allergic reactions, as well as get the best results, it is important to know your skin type and then know the right order to use these two products.
Being slightly acidic, your skin should adapt to the different pH levels of these products which mixed at the same time, can reduce the effects of one another.
That is why a time gap between their use is highly recommended when adding both niacinamide and BHA to your skincare routine at the same time of the day1.
If you want to use niacinamide and salicylic acid in the same skincare routine2, here’s how you can do it:
Cleanser with salicylic acid, follow by niacinamide serum and finished with a layer of moisturizer.
Cleanser, followed by salicylic acid serum (use it max. 3 times per week), after at least 30 minutes niacinamide moisturizer, sunscreen (during morning routine).
Cleanser, followed by niacinamide serum and after at least 30 minutes salicylic acid serum3 (the latter one up to 3 times per week), moisturizer, sunscreen (during AM routine).
Can I Use Salicylic Acid And Niacinamide Together Everyday?
Being complementary to each other, there is no problem on using salicylic acid and niacinamide together everyday.
If your skin has reached a level of tolerance, meaning that layering skincare products doesn’t irritate it, niacinamide and salicylic acid can be both used together everyday.
As for every other product mix, it is important to firstly do a patch test on your hand or your arm when mixing niacinamide and salicylic acid.
Depending on the serum you are using, there are so many varieties and you don’t want your skin barrier to get damaged by one of them.
If the test doesn’t show any irritations or allergic reactions, you can safely add these two products to your daily skincare routine.
When first starting your new skincare routine, it is not preferable for these two products to be used together more than once a day.
When your skin gets used to this mix, if needed, you can use them up to twice a day.
However, it is important to know that salicylic acid and niacinamide are more recommended for oily skin than for dry skin since they are also used to reduce oil production and can damage your skin barrier if you have dry/sensitive skin.
In my article here you can find out more about using niacinamide everyday, and when can you expect to see results!
How Do You Use Salicylic Acid And Niacinamide Together?
Since we want to avoid skin irritations, integrating too many products with different ingredients to your skincare routine is not recommended by dermatologists, especially when it involves acidic pH levels3.
It would be more effective and less dangerous for you skin if salicylic acid and niacinamide would be both found in one single product.
Otherwise, using salicylic acid serum and niacinamide serum separately at different times of the day can be pretty effective too.
You can choose to apply one of them in your morning routine while applying the other one in your night routine, in order to achieve the best results in your skin repair routine.
Do You Use Salicylic Acid Before Or After Niacinamide?
Based on your preference, you can alternate the use of your products in the order you want.
However, it is more advisable to first use salicylic acid and then proceed with niacinamide after a short gap.
Since the pH level of niacinamide is almost the same as most moisturizers and sunscreens, it can be used at the end of your routine without having to wait in between layers.
How Long To Wait Between Layering Salicylic Acid And Niacinamide?
After applying salicylic acid at the very beginning of your routine, skin needs about 30 to 45 minutes to fully absorb the product and go back to its initial pH level.
It is safe and surely effective to use, after this waiting period, any other skincare product as well as niacinamide.
Benefits Of Using BHA And Niacinamide Together
When mixed, these two major skincare products can make magic.
Clogged pores and excessive sebum production are the most common causes of acne breakouts5.
Salicylic acid helps to prevent acne by removing dead skin cells, it can also reduce wrinkles and regulate an uneven skin tone because it can reduce skin redness and hyperpigmentation.
By unclogging skin pores, salicylic acid penetrates deep down to the sebaceous glands and gives you a clearer skin.
On the other hand, niacinamide is used to regulate oil production, to reduce skin inflammation and acne associated inflammation.
It is also helpful on dislodging blackheads and it leaves you with that smooth feeling since it leaves your skin hydrated: it gives you the needed youthful complexion6!
In other words, the combination of salicylic acid and niacinamide will be your favorite tip if you deal with acne prone skin.
Beside, it decreases potential side effects of acids (like dryness)7.
Potential Side Effects Of Pairing BHA With Niacinamide
As mentioned earlier, you are not supposed to apply niacinamide right after applying products with acidic pH levels.
When mixed with niacinamide, salicylic acid which is a chemical exfoliant can have a pretty surprising reaction. It can trigger a skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
Depending if you have dry skin or oily skin, your barrier can get damaged if there is not a time gap between the use of the two products.
Everything You Need To Know About Niacinamide
Nicotinamide (often called niacinamide) is one of the different forms that Vitamin B3 can take.
Essential for the proper functioning of your body, niacinamide is also known for its amazing proprieties to solve almost every skin problem.
Topical application of niacinamide can increase cellular energy. This in turn stimulates skin cell turnover, as well as microcirculation, and provides antioxidant protection against free radicals.
Benefits Of Niacinamide
- Anti-inflammatory effects that also help on reducing redness due to conditions like acne or eczema.
- Reduces enlarged pores by improving skin elasticity, texture and reducing excess sebum production8.
- Restores skin barrier by stimulating lipid synthesis so the outer layer of the skin doesn’t get dehydrated. By staying hydrated, skin barrier’s strength is improved and it is now less sensitive.
- Reduces wrinkles by boosting collagen production in the dermis. When it boosts collagen production, niacinamide improves the compactness and the texture of the skin, which shows less signs of aging.
Does Niacinamide Have Any Side Effects?
Niacinamide is a safe product, very well tolerated by all skin types.
It rarely shows any side effect.
A small number of users experience allergic reactions or redness. Even smaller is the number of users who experience burning or pulling sensations.
Even if most of the time it is safe to use, when you add a new product to your skincare routine, it is always recommended to apply a small amount of the product on your wrist/near collarbone before applying it on your face.
If your hand/arm doesn’t show any irritation, allergic reaction or redness in less than 24 hours, your new product is safe to use.
What Not To Mix With Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is compatible with most other products and ingredients.
Being compatible with other products such as retinol, caffeine, hyaluronic acid or salicylic acid, niacinamide is one of the most versatile skincare products.
Thanks to its multiple benefits, niacinamide can be integrated in every skincare routine and be complementary to other products.
Vitamin C is one of the few ingredients that used to be considered by old studies as incompatible with niacinamide.
Thanks to the evolution of techniques, current studies show that the mix between vitamin C and niacinamide can be very beneficial for your skin.
Everything You Need To Know About Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is a widely used component in the creation of topical medicinal treatments as well as body and face cosmetics.
It is an organic substance that appears as a colorless crystal in several plants.
Because of its keratolytic, exfoliating, regenerative, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities, salicylic acid is widely used in cosmetics.
Additionally, it soothes sensitive skin and reduces skin irritation in acne-prone areas.
It improves the quality of the skin by peeling off and eliminating the dead cells that accumulate on the stratum corneum.
Benefits Of Using Salicylic Acid
- Unifies skin by eliminating dead skin cells, reducing dark spots hyperpigmentation and allowing the skin brightening to show
- Soothes skin by stimulating cell regeneration
- Prevents and reduces acne by reaching the enlarged pores and keeping them clean
Does Salicylic Acid Have Any Side Effects?
The first time you apply salicylic acid, you can experience some tingling.
People with sensitive skin might worry that salicylic acid isn’t for them since they experience skin burning and drying out, which is usual at the beginning of treatment.
Be careful, if you want to use salicylic acid for your sensitive skin!
What Should You Not Mix With Salicylic Acid?
Even though it is adapted to almost all skin types, salicylic acid is a very powerful organic element that should be used with caution.
It is a fantastic skincare product on its own but mixed with some other products such as glycolic acid, retinol or vitamin C might not be the best thing to use.
It can create some major irritations and seriously damage skin barrier.
Also, keep in mind that BHAs make your skin more susceptible to sun damage and sunburns9.
Wrap Up: Can You Use Niacinamide With BHA?
Long story short, niacinamide and salicylic acid can be used together.
When you start using them, progressively, your skin gets used to both these products.
Once all adapted, your skin will love this combination and will look completely new in a really short time.
Nevertheless, if you struggle with sensitive skin and are encountering issues, don’t hesitate to talk to your dermatologist before starting to apply niacinamide and salicylic acid together.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.
Sources of pictures: