When it comes to layering some ingredients, you’ll often find that some work together ensuring the skin is left looking and feeling in its healthiest state. Niacinamide and azelaic acid are two potent ingredients that work effectively on the skin targeting different areas of the skin. The question we are left with however, is how can I use niacinamide and azelaic acid at the same time?
Before we dive into finding out more, let’s quickly refresh ourselves about what these ingredients are and the benefits they deliver to the skin.
What is azelaic acid?
- Derived from barley, wheat, rye, as well as naturally occurring in the yeast found in the skin.
- Often mistaken as a member of the alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid family, azelaic acid performs exfoliation to the outer layers of the skin.
- Works at sloughing away the build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, debris, and other environmental aggressors that can clog the pores and lead to blackheads and other blemishes.
- Rich in antibacterial properties, azelaic acid can effectively combat P.acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.
- Helps to reduce inflammation meaning it is able to target rosacea and other skin inflammations, including acne and other breakouts.
- Combats areas of hyperpigmentation and dark spots giving the skin an overall improved, brighter complexion.
- Packed with antioxidants, azelaic acid can ward off any damage caused by the skin from exposure to free radicals, such as pollution, UV exposure and central heating.
- You’ll often find the concentrates of azelaic acid vary between 15%-20% with lower percentages found in over the counter formulations.
- If you wanted to learn more about azelaic acid, check out our dedicated blog post.
What is niacinamide?
- Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and can be naturally derived from such things as, brewer’s yeast, and cereals.
- Helps to stimulate the production of collagen resulting in plumper, younger looking skin with less signs of fine line and wrinkles.
- Targets signs of hyperpigmentation, sun damage, and age spots. It does this by preventing melanosome transfer inhibiting further hyperpigmentation from forming on the skin surface.
- Regulates and balances the production of sebum making it an effective ingredient for those prone to acne and breakouts.
- Packed with antioxidants allowing the skin to be protected from oxidised stress on the face.
- Contains anti-inflammatory properties which reduce redness, blotchiness, and uneven texture on the surface of the skin.
- Increases the speed of cell turnover helping the complexion to look more even and brighter.
- Find out more about niacinamide by checking out our blog post.
How do you use niacinamide and azelaic acid together?
The easiest way to determine how to use niacinamide and azelaic acid together is taking into consideration the formulations the ingredients come in. By this I mean you must be mindful of the order you need to apply skincare products to gain optimal results. It’s generally considered best to start with the thinnest consistency and work your way up to the thickest.
You’ll often find that azelaic acid is popular blended into products such as toners and serums. As for niacinamide, this is usually found in serums mostly and benefits the skin with an added boost of hydration, especially after using toners containing exfoliants such as azelaic acid.
Can you mix azelaic acid with niacinamide?
Yes, you sure can! It is said that mixing niacinamide and azelaic acid together is a simple way of benefiting the skin and counteracting any potential dryness caused by the chemical exfoliant.
Due to the effectiveness of teaming both ingredients together, there is little to no side effects when layering these actives on top of one another. However, everyone’s skin is different, and it is something to remember if you find your skin becomes irritated, therefore I advised to always consult with a doctor or dermatologist to find the best formula for you and your skin needs.
Should I use azelaic acid or niacinamide first?
This boils down to the consistency of the formula the ingredients are blended in to. You’ll find that azelaic acid will often occur in products such as exfoliating toners, or face cleansers. These are applied to the skin during the beginning stages of your skincare routine. This can then be followed with a serum enriched in niacinamide which, thanks to its humectant properties, will work at drawing water into the skin from the area surrounding the face and locking it into place.
The lipid barrier of the skin needs hydration to remain strengthened and able to protect the skin from exposure to free radicals, such as pollution, UV rays, central heating, and other environmental aggressors.
What should you not mix with niacinamide?
There are several outdated studies stating how you must avoid using niacinamide with vitamin C. This is a result, as I have mentioned already, about outdated research explaining how vitamin C as a skin ingredient is too unstable. It was also thought that with niacinamide and vitamin C both containing high amounts of antioxidants will counteract each other making each of these potent powerhouses useless.
Having said that, there have been incredible improvements within the beauty industry with more recent formulations containing stable versions of vitamin C. You will also find that with some brands and their formulas will include an effective blend of both niacinamide and vitamin C.
When should azelaic acid be used in routine?
You can use azelaic acid twice a day in your routine once you have built a tolerance to the acid. Depending on the formula containing azelaic acid will determine when you use it in your routine. As I have previously mentioned, the thicker the consistency the later in your routine it should be applied. The reason for this is to ensure you avoid creating a physical barrier on the skin preventing the other actives from penetrating the skin.
Luckily for many of us azelaic acid is suitable for all skin types and should be an easy ingredient to include into your routine. If you have some concerns however, you can always perform a patch test on the skin for 24 hours before applying it all over the face. This will avoid any unwanted side effects and help you find the best products to use in your daily routine.
There you have it; I hope I have answered any questions you had with using niacinamide and azelaic acid at the same time. Don’t hesitate to come and find me on Instagram if you had any further questions.