Arguably our most beloved ingredient, Niacinamide is the powerhouse antioxidant that really does it all. A question we get often is, “can niacinamide be mixed with other actives?” The answer is: yes. The ingredient pairs well with most actives. The possibilities of combinations are endless, but here are some of our favorites:
We all know that niacinamide is the holy grail in skincare— evening skin tone, clearing congestion, regulating sebum production, improving skin barrier function, reducing skin sensitivity, increasing skin hydration, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and more. Since all skin types can benefit from this superstar vitamin, we offer it in various formats to cater to personal preference including a gel cream, mist, serum, and essence. This also allows for layering with other products. Niacinamide happens to play well with others and can be paired with powerhouse actives for a customized skincare treatment.
For a deep dive into the science behind niacinamide, refer to our previous article Niacinamide: Skincare’s Multi-Faceted, Multi-Benefit Superstar Ingredient.
Niacinamide + Vitamin C: The Radiance Enhancing Pair
Once erroneously believed to be incompatible together, these two vitamins actually make a great pair. This vitamin cocktail can improve skin radiance, even skin tone, reduce free radical damage from UV and pollution, and increase skin elasticity. They are vital to skin function and topically can act as a skin supplement replenishing skin’s natural vitamin C storage and boosting important cofactors NAD(H) and NADP(H). Niacinamide reduces melanosome transfer while vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase so this combo targets two stages of melanogenesis for enhanced skin brightening.1 Both are potent antioxidants that reduce ROS (reactive oxygen species) induced by UV and pollution that can lead to inflammation, erythema, premature skin aging, and hyperpigmentation. In addition, vitamin C increases collagen production in the skin (in vitro studies suggest niacinamide might also increase collagen production) while niacinamide increases keratinocyte proliferation and epidermal protein synthesis to further improve skin elasticity. Pair together for robust oxidative protection, skin firming, and synergistic skin brightening.2
Niacinamide + Alpha Arbutin: The Skin Brightening Couple
Niacinamide and alpha arbutin are a force to be reckoned with, in regards to eliminating dark spots, evening skin tone, and reducing hyperpigmentation. Alpha arbutin acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor as well as slows melanosome maturation (the organelles that synthesize and store melanin or pigment).3 This is significant because it works on two different mechanisms of pigmentation. Niacinamide reduces melanosome transfer so together alpha arbutin and niacinamide target various stages of melanogenesis without increasing skin’s sensitivity to the sun. This includes discoloration and pigmentation caused by inflammation, environmental stressors, and UV exposure. In addition to evening skin tone, both alpha arbutin and niacinamide address glycation, sugar-induced skin sallowness and loss of elasticity.4,5 To banish spots and get a more uniform skin tone, try layering niacinamide and alpha arbutin.
Niacinamide + Retinol: The Skin Texture Smoothing Soulmates
Together niacinamide and retinol helps even out skin texture caused by both blemishes and wrinkles with minimal irritation. Niacinamide reduces diglycerides, triglycerides, and fatty acid production which translates to reduced sebum production, visually decreased pore size, and fewer blemishes. Retinol increases keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation while normalizing desquamation (shedding of the top layers of the skin). By increasing cell turnover and reducing melanosome transfer, this team can also reduce acne scarring and pigmentation. Niacinamide and retinol also tackle fine lines and wrinkles. Niacinamide increases keratinocyte proliferation and epidermal protein synthesis to improve skin elasticity while retinol boosts collagen production, increases epidermal and dermal thickness, improves skin elasticity, and speeds up cell renewal.6 The skin is further plumped as retinol increases glycosaminoglycan (GAG) synthesis, including hyaluronic acid synthesis, which has a tremendous ability to bind water.7 Some people experience irritation, erythema, and dryness from retinol which niacinamide can ameliorate if the skin is first pre-treated with niacinamide.8 Niacinamide helps boost ceramide production, inhibit proinflammatory cytokines, and increase barrier lipid synthesis to strengthen the integrity of the skin barrier.9 This helps the skin better tolerate retinoids so together you can get a smoother, more even complexion with minimal irritation.
Niacinamide + Salicylic Acid (BHA): The Pore Perfecting Couple
Congestion, enlarged pores, and shiny, oily skin can greatly benefit from a combination of niacinamide and salicylic acid. Niacinamide reduces diglycerides, triglycerides, and fatty acid production for reduced sebum production and visually decreased pore size. It also helps increase keratinocyte proliferation while strengthening the skin barrier. Salicylic acid acts as a desmolytic agent, disrupting the glue between skin cells, to promote exfoliation and encourage cellular growth for smoother, clearer skin.10 Salicylic acid is also comedolytic and helps offer both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Niacinamide reduces proinflammatory cytokines and salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties so together they help reduce visible redness and swelling often associated with congestion while minimizing future breakouts. They also reduce post-inflammatory pigmentation for a well rounded treatment to congestion and flare ups.
Niacinamide + Ceramides: The Skin Restoring Duo
Sometimes our skin barrier becomes impaired by excessive cleansing, over exfoliation, sun exposure, external stressors, or harsh skincare treatments and just needs extra TLC. Layering niacinamide with ceramides can repair, restore, and fortify the skin barrier to reduce dryness, erythema, itching, and skin dehydration. Niacinamide boosts natural ceramide and barrier lipid synthesis within the skin while reducing proinflammatory cytokines. This helps increase moisture content, protects the skin from environmental pollutants, and reduces skin sensitivity to irritants. Topical ceramides are powerful biomimetic lipids that can replenish depleted ceramide levels in the skin to restore the skin’s water-holding capacity. They can provide immediate and long-lasting hydration which improves the skin’s complexion, tone, and appearance. By reinforcing the skin barrier, ceramides help the skin fight environmental aggressors, reducing skin sensitivity. Together niacinamide and ceramides can give soft, soothed, and supple skin.
Niacinamide can compliment any skincare regimen or active ingredient.