Lactic acid and niacinamide are two skin favourites that are highly effective at combating fine lines, wrinkles, and a dull looking complexion. But is it possible to use them together, or do they require a little more thought before applying them?
Before you panic, don't worry as things will make a lot more sense by the end of today’s blog post so stay tuned! Not forgetting of course that if you have any questions come and follow Procoal’s Instagram, you can find me in there!
What is Lactic Acid?
One of the lesser known and used AHAs, compared to glycolic acid, lactic acid is derived from soured milk and fruit sugars. With a larger molecular size, it is unable to penetrate too far into the skin to cause irritation. It will work on the outer surface of the skin ridding it of dead skin cell build-up and impurities that can often clog the pores leaving the skin congested. It also contains unique humectant traits ensuring it can improve the skin’s natural moisture factor. This results in the skin having the ability to protect itself from environmental aggressors and free racial damage, such a pollution and UV rays. Check out our dedicated blog post about lactic acid for more information on this clever exfoliant.
What is Niacinamide?
This multitalented skin ingredient is able lock moisture into the skin surface, minimise the appearance of pores whilst targeting any concerns with dark spots and hyperpigmentation. By keeping the lipid barrier of the skin hydrated you’ll find your skin will remain at its healthiest state. The added bonus of niacinamide is the fact it regulates the sebum production meaning all skin types will benefit from introducing this talented humectant into your daily routine. Don’t forget to find out more about niacinamide over on The Beauty Insiders.
Does niacinamide go before lactic acid?
It is advised to apply niacinamide after lactic acid. This ensures the acid can work at exfoliating whilst niacinamide restores hydration back into the skin barrier. This is a result of each ingredient containing different pH levels. With niacinamide having a higher pH the less it absorbs into the lower layers of the epidermis, working mainly on the surface. With lactic acid having a lower pH level, meaning it is more acidic, it can penetrate further. Although it is a lot gentler compared to its potent cousins, such as glycolic acid and malic acid.
Different pH levels may sound like something that shouldn’t cause too much trouble, but quite often is the main cause of irritation to the skin. The skin has a naturally acidic pH level and can become imbalanced when certain active ingredients are applied. Always ensure you leave enough time in between applications allowing the pH level to rebalance and ready for further ingredient application. The optimal amount of time is considered 15 minutes or more which will help avoid unwanted skin irritation.
What can you not mix with niacinamide?
When it comes to skincare ingredients it is generally thought that niacinamide is one of the easiest to add into your routines. There are few ingredients it does play nicely with, but there is one that should be avoid and that is vitamin C. Both ingredients are packed with antioxidants and perform similar benefits for the skin which results in them competing if layered on top of each other. Having said that, you are still able to benefit from using both ingredients it’s just a case of alternating the time of day you apply them.
There’s more to find out over on our dedicated blog post about what can you not mix with niacinamide.
Can I use niacinamide every day?
Yes, you can! Due to the fact niacinamide can be tolerated by almost all skin types, in fact you can apply it twice a day, every day. You will often find niacinamide is formulated into water-based and gel like serums that are highly absorbent for the skin. It is particularly useful ingredient to have in your routine during the winter months as the humectant properties will draw moisture into the skin. Niacinamide can combat signs of dryness and dehydration which occurs during cold temperatures and central heating.
Can I leave lactic acid on overnight?
The short answer is no, although lactic acid is one of the gentlest alpha hydroxy acids and doesn’t cause too much irritation to the skin, it is best to not leave high percentages of lactic acid on the skin overnight.
For medical grade standard of 10% or higher, to get the best result and avoid unwanted reactions leave the product enriched in lactic acid on the skin for no longer than 10 minutes. This is the ideal timing to ensure the AHA works at hydrating and restoring the health and balance of the protective barrier without stripping the skin of oil or causing irritation.
Can you use niacinamide under eyes?
Yes, you can indeed! Niacinamide has found its way into many eye-cream formulas lately. With the risk of irritation being considerably low, niacinamide can work in the under-eye area safely, quickly and effectively. Dark circles are combated with the antioxidants properties whilst reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet that are generally the main complaints of the eye area.
The skin around the eye area is more delicate and up to 40% thinner compared the rest of the face. I suggest that you firstly consult with a doctor or dermatologist to check you and your skin are happy with the formulation.
Is niacinamide better morning or night?
The beauty of niacinamide is the fact you can use it twice a day. When it comes to teaming it with other ingredients, such as lactic acid, the added boost of hydration will counteract any slight imbalance to the skin barrier. So, if its plumped, hydrated skin with reduced redness and hyperpigmentation and pores notably less visible, then aim for applying niacinamide during your morning and evening skincare routines.
I hope that I have answered any questions you had about whether you can use lactic acid and niacinamide together. Much like all ingredients and formulas to avoid skin irritation and allergic reactions it is best to perform a patch test for 24 hours before applying anything on the face. I would also advise that if you use a product that later makes your skin feel irritated you should stop using it and seek the help of your doctor or dermatologist.