I have always been big on multi-ingredient products or product combinations which provide various benefits to your skin in one go, every time you use them. But multiple ingredients raise the issue of interaction between ingredients which may cause problems.
This blog looks at two popular ingredients, Vitamin C and Niacinamide (Vitamin B or Niacin), which offer a host of potential complementary benefits,/ from helping relieve redness and irritation to brightening and improving your skin texture.
But can you use both in tandem or is this something to avoid?
My view is yes, you can use products that contain Vitamin C with others that contain Niacinamide in your skin care routine, in fact you most definitely should.
There was a time when some people reported it was unsafe to mix the two, but as is often the case this stemmed from very specific research using non-skincare grade forms of Niacinamide with Vitamin C in the form of unstable ascorbic acid under extreme lab conditions. Such outdated research has no application to skincare products and the real-world environments in which we live.
It is important to note that while both ingredients target similar various indications of ageing, they have slightly different mechanisms of working, so you're addressing the specific skin concern from different angles. For example, in the case of skin brightening, using both creates a positive interaction because they're working in different ways to achieve this benefit. Vitamin C works by inhibiting the pigment producing enzyme tyrosinase, while Niacinamide is indicated to prevent the transmission of pigment within cells. So, there is no doubling up or cancelling out.
What can Vitamin C and Niacinamide (Vitamin B) do for your skin?
Now we have established it is safe to use both ingredients, lets recap their actual benefits for your skin.
Vitamin C is one of the most effective antioxidant ingredients in topical skincare products with numerous potential benefits:
- Brightens and reduces dullness;
- Lightens hyper-pigmentation and brown spots and can also help relieve blotchy or inflamed patches of skin;
- Helps to clarify a troubled skin (acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis);
- Contest free radical damage from UV exposure and environmental pollution;
- Increases collagen production which can help firm up skin and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C Brightening Serum with Kakadu Plum, Turmeric & Rosehip
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3, also offers several potential skin benefits when applied directly to the skin, including:
- Reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other early signs of skin ageing;
- Improved hydration and barrier function of the skin which over time assist to strengthen your skin barrier and further protect against moisture loss;
- Promote a more uniform skin tone by reducing areas of hyper-pigmentation and patchiness;
- Shrink the look of pores (but there is no serum, cream which can shrink the actual size of a pore);
- Assists to regulate oil (sebum) production and thus lead to fewer acne breakouts and improve redness and swelling;
- Assists to reduce facial discoloration, flushing and inflammation caused by skin conditions like rosacea.
Cell Renewal Peptide Serum with Green Tea, Ginseng and Fig
What is the science saying?
Niacinamide mitigates oxidative stress of skin cells by way of direct molecular free radical scavenging action or an indirect action that enhances the antioxidant resistance of cells.
An increasing number of clinical trials have shown that the formulation containing Niacinamide has the effect of relieving skin ageing such as wrinkles, elasticity when used in a well-rounded routine. Has an anti-ageing effect comparable to that of retinol products
Wondering how to go about adding these ingredients to your skin care routine?
A few points to remember when adding new products or combination to your skincare routine:
- I always recommend applying active ingredient products before you layer on moisturiser and sunscreen.
- ‘Listen to your skin’ and pace the product transition with one new product at a time and wait around a week before adding the second product. If you have very sensitive skin, a little more patience and time may be required before adding something new;
- Start slowly with one daily treatment per day or one every second day. Even if your skin is quite robust, it’s a good idea to start new products gradually to give your skin more time to adjust;
- Consider doing a patch test first with a small amount of product and wait about 24 hours;
- The most common side effect combining Niacinamide and Vitamin C skin is irritation but you would have to be unlucky to experience this with a cautious approach. Obviously, any redness, itching, and stinging during your initial use suggests that the product night not agree with your skin or that you are applying too much, too quickly, so slow it down or cease application;
A few final thoughts
Both Vitamin C and Niacinamide have the potential to benefit your skin in plenty of ways. Combine these powerhouse ingredients by layering them, just don’t forget to do a patch test first.
While most modern skincare products are stable, always store away from heat, sunlight and oxygen. Check product labels for any other details on how best store them.