When it comes to skincare, we all yearn for that radiant, healthy, glowing skin. On your way to achieve it, you will encounter so many skincare ingredients. Among those active ingredients, you will find the dynamic duo of lactic acid and niacinamide.
And – be aware that these two magical skincare powerhouses can really do wonders to your skin, addressing a range of skin concerns and helping you achieve your skincare goals. How?
Well, lactic acid, as a gentle alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is really a champ at exfoliating the skin’s surface, removing dead skin cells and dead skin cell buildup, and promoting a smoother, brighter skin tone and complexion. It’s actually like a fresh start for your skin, making it a perfect ingredient for those dealing with dullness, uneven tone, or fine lines.
On the other side, niacinamide represents a hydration hero that helps strengthen your protective skin barrier. Furthermore, it can improve the appearance of pores, help you in reducing redness, and evening out your skin tone. Niacinamide is a go-to for anyone dealing with blemishes, dark spots, or looking to boost overall skin health.
So, you can see that these two ingredients are really skin-friendly. But, you may also know that mixing some skincare ingredients can be tricky and may trigger skin irritation and other issues.
So, now – the question arises: Can you use lactic acid and niacinamide together? Let’s find out together in this article!
Can You Mix Lactic Acid And Niacinamide?
Contrary to some old beliefs that these two ingredients shouldn’t be combined, these two actually CAN work harmoniously to improve your skin. Lactic acid and niacinamide are actually a compatible and effective combination.
And – when used thoughtfully and with proper skincare practices, they can help you achieve your skincare goals for a brighter, smoother, and healthier complexion.
However, there are some things to consider before you introduce these two together into your skincare routine.
Can I Use Lactic Acid With Niacinamide The Ordinary Serum?
Yes, absolutely, you can use the Ordinary lactic acid serum with niacinamide. Note that it is highly important to start slowly, and monitor how your skin reacts – and adjust the frequency of this part of your skincare routine as needed.
Using these two ingredients in combination (yes, including Ordinary lactic acid and Ordinary niacinamide serums) can help improve skin texture, skin tone, and – overall skin health. However, you need to be careful.
Ground rules of using lactic acid and niacinamide together in the same skincare routine are explained below – make sure you read and follow them!
Do You Use Lactic Acid Or Niacinamide First?
So, we already answered the question: Can you use lactic acid and niacinamide together?, now there is another question arising – How to combine them correctly? – to avoid skin irritation and other skin issues, especially if you have sensitive skin.
When incorporating both lactic acid and niacinamide into your skincare routine, the order in which you apply them matters to optimize their effectiveness.
Generally, it is better to apply lactic acid first, of course on clean, dry skin. You can follow up with applying niacinamide afterwards, allowing lactic acid some time to be absorbed. Check out the details below!
How To Use Lactic Acid And Niacinamide Together?
There are several ways to use lactic acid and niacinamide in the same skincare routine. For example, you may incorporate them:
1. On Alternate Days
In your regular skincare routine, you should start with cleansing your face and toning it afterwards.
Continue with applying your product with niacinamide (it could be the Ordinary niacinamide serum), and follow with your regular moisturizers.
On a different day, instead of that niacinamide serum, you should use a product with lactic acid (for example The Ordinary lactic acid serum), of course always after proper face cleansing and toning. Follow with regular moisturizers.
Note that you should reduce sun exposure if you use them in the morning and – always use sunscreen!
2. Morning-Evening Routine
You can use one ingredient (niacinamide serum, for example) in the morning, as part of your regular morning routine. In the evening, include lactic acid (serum) into your skincare routine.
Yes, you can layer niacinamide and lactic acid. But make sure to wait for a few minutes (some research even suggests waiting for at least 30 minutes1). It’s better if you apply niacinamide to the areas with concerns, such as the T-zone, and lactic acid to the areas that need (gentle) exfoliation.
For the safety reasons, perform a patch test before you incorporate lactic acid and niacinamide into your skincare routine, to ensure your skin tolerates them well. Also, if you are new to either ingredient or the combination of lactic acid and niacinamide, introduce them gradually to minimize the risk of irritations.
You should also be aware that both lactic acid and niacinamide can increase sun sensitivity. So, make sure you always use sunscreen in your morning routine, regardless of the method you choose.
If irritation still occurs, consider using the products less frequently or on different days. Be careful with the formulation of each product, too. Lactic acid as a serum and niacinamide as a serum or moisturizer works well, yes, but pay attention to the specific formulations of each product and how they interact.
Benefits Of Mixing Lactic Acid With Niacinamide
- Enhanced exfoliation
Lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), combined with niacinamide, promotes effective chemical exfoliation, removing dead skin cells for a smoother complexion.
- Brighter skin tone
The combination of lactic acid and niacinamide helps fade dark spots and uneven skin tone, resulting in a brighter and more radiant complexion.
- Balanced hydration
Niacinamide has wonderful hydrating properties which complement lactic acid mild exfoliation properties, removing dead skin cells and maintaining a balanced moisture level for the skin.
- Improved skin barrier function
Niacinamide strengthens the skin’s protective barrier, and when combined with lactic acid, it supports a healthier and more resilient skin barrier.
- Reduced redness and inflammation
Niacinamide also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe skin, eventually reducing redness or irritation caused by lactic acid.
- Targeted treatment
By using niacinamide on areas requiring soothing ingredients and lactic acid on areas needing exfoliating acids, you can tailor your skincare regimen to specific concerns.
- Improved collagen synthesis
Niacinamide stimulates collagen synthesis, and when paired with lactic acid, it contributes to overall skin firmness and elasticity.
- Minimizing enlarged pores
Niacinamide has the ability to regulate sebum production and – coupled with lactic acid’s exfoliation – may contribute to the appearance of minimized pores (and help you with clogged pores).
Who Should Use Lactic Acid And Niacinamide?
- Dull skin and uneven skin tone
Both lactic acid and niacinamide work well for those of you out there, unhappy with your dull skin, offering brightening effects for a more radiant complexion.
Those of you dealing with uneven skin tone, including hyperpigmentation or dark spots, can benefit from the combination, too.
- Aging skin
Lactic acid’s exfoliation and niacinamide’s support for collagen production make this duo beneficial for addressing signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
- Skin hydration for dehydrated skin
Niacinamide will keep your skin hydrated, and, combined with lactic acid, helps maintain balanced moisture levels, making it suitable for those of you with dehydrated skin.
- Oily or acne-prone skin
Niacinamide’s sebum-regulating properties, paired with lactic acid’s exfoliation properties, can help you deal with oily or acne-prone skin, helping you minimize pores and reduce acne breakouts2.
- Combination skin
Both lactic acid and niacinamide are versatile and can be adapted to suit different areas of combination skin, providing targeted treatment for specific concerns.
Who Should NOT Use Lactic Acid With Niacinamide?
While this combination is generally considered safe, you should be very careful (or avoid it altogether) in some cases.
- Very sensitive skin
If you have extremely sensitive skin, you may experience irritation when combining lactic acid and niacinamide. It’s advisable to patch-test each product separately and introduce them gradually.
Of course If you have a known allergy or sensitivity to either lactic acid or niacinamide, it’s best to avoid them to prevent adverse reactions.
- Sunburn or damaged skin
Avoid using this combination on sunburned or broken skin, as both ingredients may exacerbate irritation. Allow the skin to heal before reintroducing these products. This includes over-exfoliated skin.
Everything You Need To Know About Lactic Acid
Lactic acid belongs to the group of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) derived from fermented milk. It falls under the category of chemical exfoliants, working to gently remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover.
You can make lactic acid synthetically, or – it can be derived from natural sources like sour milk, yogurt, and certain fruits. Amazing, right?
As for the consistency and concentration, lactic acid products come in various concentrations, typically ranging from 5% to 15%. It is always advisable to beginners – to start with lower concentrations and gradually increase as their skin builds tolerance.
In case lactic acid turns out to be too strong for you, try out mandelic acid which is even more gentle (you can find my comparison of both acid here).
The texture can vary from lactic acid serum to various creams and masks based on lactic acid. The choice is on you!
Lactic acid works primarily as a chemical exfoliant, breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to slough off more easily.
But the story doesn’t end there – keep reading to find out the benefits of lactic acid!
Benefits Of Lactic Acid
Lactic acid gently exfoliates your skin, promoting a smoother complexion and encouraging cell turnover.
Lactic acid also effectively addresses dullness, brightening your skin and improving overall radiance. You will love this one!
Lactic acid has humectant properties, attracting moisture to the skin and enhancing hydration, similarly to hyaluronic acid.
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
By promoting skin renewal, lactic acid can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – which is great if you are looking for skincare products with anti-aging properties. Lactic acid serum could be your fit.
- Evens out skin tones
It assists in fading dark spots and hyperpigmentation, contributing to a more even overall skin tone.
- Softened texture
Regular use of lactic acid results in softer and smoother skin surface.
- Stimulated collagen production
Lactic acid products may stimulate collagen production, contributing to skin elasticity and firmness.
- Improved absorption of other skincare products
Exfoliation from lactic acid enhances the absorption of subsequent skincare products, maximizing their effectiveness! Amazing, right?
- Suitable for different skin types
Besides its various benefits for the skin, lactic acid’s gentle nature makes lactic acid suitable for a range of skin types, including sensitive skin types!
Potential Side Effects Of Lactic Acid
- Possible irritation
Overuse, incorrect use, or higher concentrations of lactic acid (serum) can lead to skin irritation, redness, tingling sensation, or itching. So, make sure you start slowly and with lower concentration, after performed patch test.
- Increased sun sensitivity
Lactic acid may make the skin more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn. So, sunscreen is essential when using lactic acid!
- Dryness or peeling
Excessive use may (ironically) cause dryness or peeling, indicating an imbalance in the skin’s moisture levels.
In some cases, lactic acid may cause a temporary increase in breakouts as it accelerates the skin’s renewal process.
This is often mistaken for an adverse reaction, especially for those with (already) oily skin. Don’t worry!
- Allergic reactions
Individuals with allergies to lactic acid or related ingredients may experience allergic reactions. Again – patch test, always!
- Stinging on broken skin
Applying lactic acid to open wounds, cuts, or broken skin can cause stinging and should be avoided.
What Can You Not Mix With Lactic Acid?
You should keep in mind that you can’t mix lactic acid with everything. You should avoid combining it with products containing benzoyl peroxide or vitamin C, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, retinoids, or strong exfoliators, without professional guidance of your dermatologist.
Everything You Need To Know About Niacinamide
Niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinamide, with nicotinic acid as its precursor, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in your skin’s health.
It’s a versatile skincare ingredient known for its amazing benefits for the skin.
Its consistency and texture depends on the product itself. Niacinamide products typically range from 2% to 10% concentration.
It’s available in various formulations, including niacinamide serum, of course, and then different creams, and moisturizers based on niacinamide. Beginners should start with lower concentrations and gradually increase as needed.
Benefits Of Niacinamide
Improved skin’s natural barrier
Niacinamide supports the skin’s natural barrier function, enhancing its ability to retain moisture and resist external aggressors.
Reduced redness and inflammation
Its anti-inflammatory properties help calm irritated or inflamed skin, making it suitable for those with sensitive – or reactive skin.
Even skin tone
Niacinamide effectively reduces the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, promoting a more even and radiant complexion. So, if you have those issues, niacinamide serum might be a solution!
Minimizing enlarged pores
As it regulates oil production, it minimizes the appearance of pores and provides a smoother skin texture, reducing oiliness. Plus, it helps you unclog pores, being a wonderful aid in treating acne.
Niacinamide promotes collagen production, contributing to improved skin elasticity and a firmer appearance.
Regular use can diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, contributing to a more youthful-looking complexion and smoother skin texture, overall.
Potential Side Effects Of Niacinamide
Although this rarely happens, some of you may experience mild irritation or redness. It’s, therefore, absolutely advisable to perform a patch test before regular use.
Those of you with allergies to niacinamide or related ingredients should be cautious and consult with a dermatologist.
In rare cases, niacinamide may cause breakouts or acne in some individuals. If this occurs, discontinue use and seek professional advice.
While niacinamide itself doesn’t make the skin more sensitive to the sun, the products it is combined with may. Always use sunscreen during the day to protect your skin. With or without niacinamide.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Niacinamide is generally considered safe, but pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should consult with a healthcare professional before they first start to use niacinamide.
Excessive use may lead to certain skin issues such as dryness or peeling. Follow product instructions and adjust usage based on your skin’s response.
What Should You Not Mix With Niacinamide?
Niacinamide generally plays well with other skincare ingredients, but combining it with certain skincare products may lead to interactions.
If you use niacinamide and want to combine it with vitamin C, it’s best to wait between both products to ensure high effectiveness.
You should also be careful with alpha and beta hydroxy acids, retinoids, products with lower pH level – opt for higher pH levels.
Benzoyl peroxide and niacinamide may reduce each other’s effectiveness when used simultaneously, so it’s better to use them at different times, too.
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.
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