Can you use vitamin C and niacinamide together?

Breaking down how to use these skincare ingredients.

Written by
Jessica Bahr
Medically reviewed by
min read
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It's no secret that in this day and age, the world of skincare can be more than a little complicated.

With a seemingly endless number of beauty brands, influencers and experts offering advice and recommendations on skincare products or ingredients, how do you know which ones are right for your skin type and which you should include in your own skincare regimen?

When trying to create the perfect skincare routine, we all have different requirements, but some common concerns include sun damage, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, skin redness and visible signs of ageing.

Two ingredients that can both assist with these concerns are niacinamide and vitamin C.

While the two can be a winning combination when correctly used together, it's important to make sure you are aware of how to properly use niacinamide and vitamin C serum before incorporating them into your skincare routine.

What is niacinamide?

Niacinimide (nicotinic acid) is one ingredient you might have heard of in your quest for healthy skin. It's one of the most popular skincare ingredients out there at the moment, and for good reason.

This stable vitamin offers a whole host of benefits, but in short, it can help build proteins in the skin, reduce visible signs of ageing, and lock in moisture to protect the skin from environmental aggressors.

Niacinimide is also called nicotinamide and is a form of vitamin B3, an essential nutrient that is found in a variety of foods and can help maintain healthy cells in the body when ingested.

When applied topically on the skin, it's one of our favourite powerhouse ingredients due to its versatility and the wide range of benefits it offers.

It can assist with improving the skin's barrier, help retain moisture, reduce skin redness, improve hyperpigmentation and dark spots, reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, regulate oil, treat acne, increase collagen production and prevent premature signs of ageing including minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Can you use niacinamide every day?

Despite its status as a holy grail ingredient, niacinamide is surprisingly gentle and can be added to both your morning routine and evening routine.

For best results, it is recommended to apply niacinamide serum morning and night after cleansing.

To minimise the risk of skin irritation (particularly for those with sensitive skin or those prone to skin irritation when starting new products), it is often a good idea to do a small patch test prior to incorporating it into your skincare routine.

When it comes to seeing results, of course, everybody is different, but research indicates the skin barrier and oil production could improve within a month, while acne and hyperpigmentation are likely to take two to three months.

What is vitamin C?

Like niacinamide, vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a popular nutrient, and when taken as part of a daily diet it is well known for supporting the immune system, and also aids in the growth, development and repair of body tissues.

When it comes to skincare, vitamin C serums are an excellent addition to your morning routine, primarily due to the ability of vitamin C to act as a barrier against environmental aggressors such as air pollution and UV radiation.

This makes it one of the best anti-ageing skincare ingredients on the market, and definitely something worth considering adding into your routine. As one of our favourite powerhouse ingredients, it also offers a host of other benefits!

It can brighten skin, improve redness and hyperpigmentation, support collagen production, boost hydration and help address issues with uneven skin tone.

How to use vitamin C?

So, after reading about all of those benefits, we bet you're eager to add vitamin C into your skincare routine as soon as possible! Of course, it's important to make sure you understand your skincare products before you start using them, and that's where Software comes in.

Software's Vitamin C + Ferulic Serum is one of the most potent vitamin C serums on the market, made with a powerful combination of antioxidants and highly specialised actives designed to brighten skin and fight atmospheric ageing.

Not only does this formulation brighten and firm skin but it even skin tone, stimulates collagen and reduces fine lines. Your vitamin C serum is best used in the morning after cleansing, and should be followed by moisturiser and SPF.

If you are using Software's personalised prescription-strength formulas, the Vitamin C + Ferulic Serum can be introduced into your routine once your skin has adjusted to your new skincare products.

We recommend waiting between six to eight weeks before introducing it gradually and then, you can experience the glow for yourself.

Can you mix vitamin C and niacinamide?

So we know that niacinamide and vitamin C are both powerful ingredients, and we have a feeling you're probably eager to add them both into your skincare routine as soon as possible.

However, since not all skincare products get along with one another, you might be wondering — can you mix niacinamide and vitamin C?

The short answer is yes, you can use these two ingredients together and see some serious skin benefits! Niacinamide and vitamin C have complementary benefits, and when applied correctly they can be a powerful combination.

In the past, rumours circulated about pure niacinamide and pure ascorbic acid (vitamin C) causing skin irritation when combined, but this stems from outdated research and is not really applicable when it comes to the way we use these two ingredients in our skincare today.

However, it is always a good idea to be cautious when introducing new products, especially if you have sensitive skin. Start gently, always do patch tests with new products, and make sure to follow storage instructions for each product.

For more detailed advice or personalised recommendations, we always recommend speaking to a qualified medical professional.

Should niacinamide be used before or after vitamin C?

Now that we're comfortable using both niacinamide and vitamin C in our skincare routine, it's important to make sure we are using them in the right order to get the maximum skin benefits.

After all, skincare products only work if used correctly! This one is pretty simple. For best results, experts suggest applying your vitamin C serum first due to the fact that it often comes in less stable forms.

Once it is dry and the ascorbic acid has had a chance to settle into your skin, you can add your niacinamide.

However, another rule of thumb to consider is that skincare products should always be applied from thinnest to thickest; so if you opt for a vitamin C infused moisturiser rather than a vitamin C serum, you will want to apply it after your niacinamide (assuming your niacinamide is in a serum form).

What should you not mix with niacinamide?

Ok, so now we know combining niacinamide and vitamin C is safe for our skin. But is there anything you can't use with niacinamide?

As niacinamide is such a low irritant ingredient, it is safe to mix with most things without causing skin irritation. However, one thing to be cautious of is using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in conjunction with niacinamide due to their conflicting pH levels.

It can also reportedly cause a 'niacin flush'.

What should you not mix with vitamin C?

When it comes to vitamin C, you might also want to be careful with AHAs, and consider applying them at different times. We suggest opting for vitamin C as part of your morning routine and then applying AHAs at night.

Another ingredient to use with care alongside your niacinamide product is retinol or retinoids. Like vitamin C, these vitamin A derivatives are powerful active ingredients, and when combined the two could cause irritation to your skin.

Additionally, as they both require different environments in order to be effective, it is likely neither will work optimally if you use them at the same time.

Stick with applying your vitamin C serum in the morning and your retinol product at night, or use them on alternate days.

It's also important to note that retinol and AHAs can both increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun, so it is crucial to make sure you are wearing sunscreen after using these products (of course, we're sure you're wearing SPF every day anyway, right?).

So, there you have it! Everything you need to know to get with niacinamide and vitamin C, and how to combine the ingredients for the best results.

Next time we see you, we just know you'll be glowing.

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