Niacinamide and Vitamin C: Your Guide to Glowing Skin

Niacinamide and vitamin C are both ingredients that you can find in skincare products and they’re both very popular.

Why? Because niacinamide and vitamin C are both highly effective at getting rid of all kinds of skin concerns.

Besides treating acne, both help to provide antioxidant protection while improving the look of uneven skin tone and fine lines.

This article will help you understand what niacinamide and vitamin C are and how they can benefit your skin. By the end, you’ll have a solid idea of which one is right for you.

What Is Niacinamide?

For starters, niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3, an essential nutrient that helps with important bodily functions like DNA repair. It also helps with the production of ceramides (a lipid that keeps skin hydrated and plump).

However, while you can get niacinamide from certain foods and supplements, applying it topically has a lot of benefits for your skin—and in a short amount of time.

Niacinamide helps reduce inflammation, which can be triggered by everything from sun damage to dryness to acne. It also works to correct skin discolorations, repair the skin’s barrier function, and retain water within the skin.

So if you’re looking for a miracle ingredient that addresses multiple skin concerns at once, niacinamide is your guy. It’s non-irritating and gentle enough for all skin types.

What Are the Benefits of Using Niacinamide?

  • Brightens complexion: Niacinamide works to brighten skin tone by diminishing discoloration, like dark spots, sun spots, or blotches.
  • Reduces excess oil production: This ingredient also helps regulate sebum (skin oil) secretion, making it great for oily or acne-prone skin.
  • Fights water loss: This ingredient helps increase ceramide levels in the skin barrier, which helps reduce water loss and improve hydration.
  • Minimizes pore appearance: By reducing excess oil production, niacinamide also decreases enlarged pores on your skin.
  • Reduces wrinkles: Niacinamide helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other aging signs by increasing the production of collagen in the skin.

SEE: How Does Niacinamide Work? The Truth About This Effective Skin Care Ingredient

Side Effects of Using Niacinamide on Skin

Niacinamide can cause skin flushing and redness. You may experience these symptoms if you use a high concentration of niacinamide or if you have sensitive skin.

Niacinamide causes this reaction by stimulating the release of histamines in your body. It’s similar to what you experience with some sunscreens — but less severe and not lasting. If this occurs, avoid using the product until your skin becomes accustomed to it.

Another common side effect associated with niacinamide is nausea. This may occur as a result of flushing or production reaction. If this occurs, discontinue the use of the product and contact your doctor for an alternate treatment plan.

Diarrhea is another common side effect associated with using niacinamide. If diarrhea occurs, discontinue the use of the product and contact your physician for an alternate treatment plan.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient present in many fruits and vegetables such as broccoli. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means excess amounts of it leave your body through urine.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you expose yourself to toxins like smoke.

Being an antioxidant, vitamin C helps fight free radicals, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. In addition, vitamin C helps your body produce collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal and increase skin elasticity.

Vitamin C is one of the most popular ingredients in anti-aging products because of its many benefits for the skin. You can find it in a variety of different products such as serums, moisturizers, and cleansers.

Forms of Vitamin C

There are many different forms of vitamin C, but L-ascorbic acid is the most effective at improving skin texture and tone. It’s also the form most likely to irritate sensitive skin.

The problem with this form is that it’s very unstable and oxidizes rapidly when exposed to air or light. That’s why products containing L-ascorbic acid have to be packaged in dark glass bottles with air-tight packaging.

Other common forms of vitamin C are sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, and dehydroascorbic acid.

All these forms have the same skin benefits but may vary in their stability and how easily your skin absorbs them.

For example, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is considered to be more stable than ascorbyl phosphate, but it also doesn’t have the same potency. It’s often combined with vitamin E or ferulic acid for additional antioxidant benefits.

SEE: Does Vitamin C Serum Help With Acne? The Truth About Vitamin C Serum and Acne

What Are the Benefits of Using Vitamin C?

  • Treat dark spots: Vitamin C serums are often used to reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin. This is due to its ability to even the skin tone and minimize discoloration.
  • Treat wrinkles: Manufacturers often use vitamin C in anti-aging skin care products because it promotes collagen production. Collagen is what keeps our skin elastic, which helps prevent wrinkles from forming.
  • Brighten complexion: Topical application of vitamin C can also help to improve skin texture by evening out discolorations and creating a more uniform skin tone.
  • Protect from sun damage: Because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it can help neutralize UV rays and prevent some of the damage that comes with overexposure to the sun. 
  • Treat acne: The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin C fights acne-causing bacteria and reduce redness associated with acne breakouts. You may also find that you have less scarring after using a vitamin C product regularly.
  • Fight free radical damage: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can help protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

Side Effects of Using Vitamin C on Skin

Some people experience dryness or itchiness after using vitamin C products; this can be caused by a couple of different factors.

For instance, the vitamin C product itself can be drying or irritating to the skin. If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to test out a small amount of vitamin C on your wrist before applying it to your face.

Also, if your skin is dry from the overuse of harsh cleansers or exfoliating products, vitamin C can further dry out your skin and make it feel uncomfortable. In this case, you should avoid harsh cleansers and exfoliants that could strip your skin of its natural oils.

Another common side effect of using a vitamin C product is redness or flushing. This may be due to irritation from the vitamin C itself or from rubbing the product into your skin too vigorously.

As with any new skincare product, adding vitamin C to your regimen can cause some irritation; but don’t let this deter you from using it. There is a five to seven-day adjustment period because your skin is getting used to the active ingredient.

SEE: Can You Use Niacinamide With Salicylic Acid? The Answer to Clear Smooth Skin

Can You Use Niacinamide and Vitamin C Together?

The short answer is yes. You can use niacinamide and vitamin C together to treat skin discolorations, dry and damaged skin, aging signs, and more.

However, niacinamide and vitamin C are both powerful ingredients that can cause skin sensitivity if you use them together in high concentrations. Therefore you should limit your use of each ingredient to low concentrations.

As you might’ve guessed, using niacinamide and vitamin C in the same formula isn’t generally recommended because of their conflicting pH levels.

The ideal pH range for vitamin C is between three and four, while niacinamide has a pH range of five to seven. If you apply both ingredients at once in high concentrations, you’ll be neutralizing them, rendering them less effective.

If you do decide to use niacinamide and vitamin C in the same routine, try applying them at alternate times — so one in the morning, and then one at night. Or you can alternate days to be on the safe side.

It’s also important to use sunscreen while incorporating niacinamide and vitamin C into your morning routine. This is especially important if the products you’re using contain high concentrations of these ingredients.

Benefits of Using Niacinamide With Vitamin C

Treats acne

Niacinamide and vitamin C help treat acne by reducing oil production, softening the skin tissue, and promoting new, healthy skin cell growth.

Improves skin tone

This combination also improves skin tone by evening out blotchy areas, such as redness or discoloration.

Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

This powerful duo reduces fine lines and wrinkles with regular use because they are antioxidants that protect against free radicals that cause aging.

Helps improve skin elasticity

Niacinamide and vitamin C increase elasticity in your skin so that it appears firmer and more youthful-looking with regular use.

SEE: Can You Use Lactic Acid and Niacinamide Together? Will They Help You?

Side Effects of Using Niacinamide With Vitamin C

Flushing, itching, dryness, and stinging are common side effects, which usually lessen after a week or two. If irritation continues, try using your products less often (e.g., every other day instead of daily) and talk to your doctor.

As with any other ingredient, it’s also important to do a patch test to see if you have any allergic reaction before using this duo. If you do, discontinue use and speak to your doctor about alternative treatments.

You should also use niacinamide and vitamin C cautiously if you’re taking other drugs that cause flushing or redness, including aspirin, ibuprofen, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications.

FAQs

Can you use vitamin C with hyaluronic acid?

Yes, you can. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals linked to aging signs like wrinkles and dark spots. HA works by attracting moisture to the skin—making it an ideal product for all skin types, especially dry skin.

Combining these two skincare ingredients together helps keep your complexion looking plump, hydrated, and radiant.

What are the best food sources of vitamin C?

Citrus fruits like lemon, orange, and lime are excellent sources of vitamin C. Green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach are also good sources of vitamin C.

Other food sources include red peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapple, cranberry, kiwi, strawberries, and papaya.

Can you use niacinamide every day?

Yes, you can. Niacinamide is not toxic and is quite gentle for the skin. However, because it has a powerful effect on oil production, if your skin is dry, you may want to alternate its use with other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.

If you’re new to this ingredient, you should start with once a week and work up to twice a week. This increases your body’s tolerance for the product without over-drying your skin or causing any adverse effects.

Conclusion

Niacinamide and vitamin C are both amazing, multitasking skincare ingredients that offer many benefits for your skin.

These two ingredients are the right fit if you’re interested in fighting acne, improving skin texture, and protecting your skin against further sun damage.

When you use niacinamide and vitamin C together, the results are even better because vitamin C helps increase the effectiveness of niacinamide.

And the best part about using these two ingredients together is that they have very few side effects when used in low concentrations.

Thanks for reading.

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