Can I use AHA with Azelaic Acid, Clindamycin Zinc and Niacinamide?

Can I use AHA with Azelaic Acid, Clindamycin Zinc and Niacinamide?

Never have we been so clued up to skincare and its potent ingredients. When layered correctly, there is an unbelievable number of benefits to the skin and its overall health and appearance. I’ll admit, at times you do feel like some sort of scientist applying this endless list of actives, but it is simply something that after some time of getting used to, you will reap the rewards.

This brings us round nicely to the benefits of layering these ingredients mentioned in today’s blog post. So, the question is, can you use AHA with azelaic acid, clindamycin zinc and niacinamide. We’ll quickly cover the benefits of these actives, before diving in to find out more about the effects these ingredients will have on the skin.

What is AHA?

  • AHA, also known as alpha hydroxy acid, is the name given to a group of chemical exfoliants.
  • Derived from several different natural sources, such as fruit, grains, and dairy products.
  • The most popular AHAs, are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid which are all found in various skincare formulas.
  • AHAs can slough away the layer of dead skin cells, dirt, and debris, that build-up on the surface of the skin and cause breakouts, flaky patches of skin, and a dull lack lustre complexion.
  • Some AHAs work in the deeper layers of the skin helping to unclog the pores ridding them of excess sebum, bacteria, and dirt.
  • Each acid varies in potency, so it is important to understand your skin type to opt for the most effective formula.
  • If you want to know more about AHAs, check out our dedicated blog post.

What is Azelaic Acid?

  • Naturally occurring on the skin and derived from grains, such as barley, wheat, and rye
  • Often mistaken as an AHA but has its own unique benefits and properties it delivers to the skin.
  • Contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties meaning it can target a few skin concerns, such as acne, rosacea, and uneven skin tone.
  • Encourages the skin cell turnover helping to heal the skin quickly giving it a smoother finish.
  • Has a larger molecular size meaning it is a mild acid and can be used by all skin types.
  • Can be teamed with other active ingredients if they are applied the correct way.
  • Find out more about azelaic acid by checking out this blog post.

What is Clindamycin Zinc?

  • This combination belongs to a group of actives called “anti-acne” ingredients.
  • Often comes as a prescribed medication as its effectively combats problematic skin at a higher percentage.
  • Clindamycin is the antibiotic ingredient that inhibits the bacteria from growing on the skin and increasing its flare-up in acne.
  • Zinc helps to protect the skin cells from exposure to free radicals, such as UV light, pollution, and other skin damaging toxins.
  • Can be known for causing skin peeling, itching, severe dryness, and increased redness.
  • There are a few safety concerns so you must consult with your doctor.

What is Niacinamide?

  • Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide and delivers various benefits to the skin.
  • Works on different concerns of the skin, from minimising visibility of pores, fine lines, dullness, and uneven skin tone.
  • Packed with antioxidants ensuring niacinamide can keep the lipid barrier strong and protected from free radicals and other oxidised stress.
  • Acts as a humectant helping to lock hydration and moisture into the skin keeping it healthy and plumped with a youthful bounce.
  • Regulates the skin’s production of sebum keeping it balanced, healthy, and functioning correctly.
  • There’s more to find out about niacinamide, over on The Beauty Insiders.

Now that we have had a brief run through of what these ingredients can do to the skin, we’ll explore further into combining them together in your daily skincare routine. 

Can you use AHA and azelaic acid together?

Yes, you can use AHA and azelaic acid together, providing you are using them in the correct way. By teaming these actives, you will combat an array of skin concerns, from acne, signs of ageing, lack lustre complexion, and uneven skin tone. There are a few ways of layering these acids together to gain optimal results without the unwanted side effects.

  1. Ensure you leave about 30 minutes in between applications; this is best for those who have built a skin tolerance to the actives prior and benefit from combining them during the same routine.
  2. Apply one active during your morning routine, and the other in the evening. This allows plenty of time for the skin’s pH to rebalance and for each ingredient to work effectively on the skin.
  3. You can also alternate the evenings you use the acids; this is ideal for anyone who is new to introducing these ingredients to their routine as it allows you to reap the rewards without causing irritation.

Whichever method you choose to use, bear in mind what skin type you have and how it will react to the application of the ingredients. If you have any concerns with using these actives, consult with your doctor or a dermatologist to give you some peace of mind.

Can you use niacinamide with azelaic acid and zinc?

Yes, you can but this takes a little work in application. What I mean by this is ensuring you layer these actives the optimal way, starting off with using niacinamide and azelaic acid. These ingredients make a highly effective duo and although work well on their own, they really benefit from being applied together. Niacinamide can minimise any dryness or irritation caused by azelaic acid on the skin. You can then apply zinc after 30 minutes ensuring enough time has passed to allow the pH levels to rebalance and settle.

If you find yourself with a product or formulation you haven’t used before, I’d advise performing a patch test for 24 hours to determine your skin will remain happy with the application. Simply apply a 10p size amount of the product onto the inside of your forearm. Leave it there for 24 hours and if there’s no signs of irritation, you can apply it to the face.

How do I incorporate clindamycin into my skincare routine?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic ingredient and can often come in topical product or oral medication, both of which are prescribed to those who suffer with severe acne caused from bacteria, as well as reducing the inflammation that’s associated with the problem.

When using topical clindamycin products, you’ll find they come in lotion or gel-like consistencies.

Depending on the instruction of your doctor, you can apply clindamycin onto fully cleansed skin either morning or evening. Ideally you want to apply it once you have used a hydrating moisturiser to avoid any irritation or increased risk of dryness.

The final step throughout anyone’s skincare routine is to apply an SPF to protect the skin from further damage. This should happen even if the weather seems cloudy and overcast as the UVA rays are constantly present and will result in sun damage that can become a long-term concern to the skin.

There you have a little more information about using AHA with azelaic acid, clindamycin zinc and niacinamide. If you have any further questions, you can come and find me over on our Instagram, look forward to seeing you there.


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