Can You Use Niacinamide with Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid?

Can You Use Niacinamide with Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid?

I don’t know about you, but there are some mornings I find myself resembling a mad scientist layering my skincare products together. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to use my favourite formulas every day. The trouble that we encounter at times, however, is slight confusion when it comes to layering these actives in the best way possible. We’ve spent some time here on The Beauty Insiders answering the questions you have about mixing and layering all manner of skin ingredients.

Today’s focus is going to be whether you can use niacinamide with glycolic acid and lactic acid. Below will be a brief recap on each of these ingredients and the benefits they provide for the skin. If you are already familiar with this, skip on to the next part to find out more about using these powerhouses together.

What is Niacinamide?

  • A form of vitamin B3 and can be applied topically to the skin or taken as a supplement.
  • Containing humectant traits, niacinamide can lock moisture into the skin keeping the protective barrier hydrated and strengthened.
  • Can regulate the production of sebum, making it an effective ingredient for those prone to breakouts and dehydration.
  • Keeps the outer surface of the skin plumped and healthy.

Find out more about niacinamide in our dedicated blog post.

What is Glycolic Acid?

  • Derived from sugarcane, glycolic acid is the most popular alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)
  • It works on the surface of the skin exfoliating the layer of dead skin cells, debris, bacteria, and other environmental aggressors.
  • Improves the skin texture, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and revives tried looking complexion.
  • Can also stimulate the production of collagen making the skin appear plumped and youthful.

Find out more about glycolic acid in our dedicated blog post.

What is Lactic Acid?

  • Naturally occurring in dairy products, such as soured milk. Most lactic acid found in skincare products, however, is often made synthetically.
  • Sloughs away the build-up of dead skin cells by dissolving the bonds and revealing fresh, vibrant cells underneath.
  • Compared to other acids, lactic acid contains humectant properties meaning it can keep the skin hydrated and protective barrier strengthened.
  • Unlike other AHAs, lactic acid molecular size is very large meaning it is unable to penetrate too far into the skin and cause irritation.

Find out more about lactic acid in our dedicated blog post.

Can you use lactic acid and niacinamide together?

Yes, you can, both lactic acid and niacinamide are very compatible with each other. This is because of the humectant properties they both contain. It is considered that the best way of reaping the rewards of each of these ingredients is to apply lactic acid first, followed by niacinamide. There are a couple of ways you can do this, but here are examples of the most used.

  • Apply an exfoliating toner enriched with lactic acid on the skin, wait for 30 minutes before following this with a serum containing niacinamide.
  • Alternate using the times of day you apply each powerhouse, using niacinamide in the morning as antioxidants will protect the skin from exposure to damaging free radicals. Applying lactic acid during your evening routine as the acid can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
  • To avoid any unwanted side effects, you can alternate the days you apply both ingredients, using lactic acid one day, the next applying niacinamide.

You can find out more about using lactic acid and niacinamide together over on The Beauty Insiders.

Can you use glycolic acid with niacinamide?

You, can, but only if you use them correctly. By this what I mean is remember that both ingredients contain very different pH levels. With glycolic acid having a higher and more acidic pH level, when it meets niacinamide it causes an imbalance resulting in the glycolic acid becoming unable to deliver its optimal results. You will also find there are some side effects, such as redness, itchiness, flaky patches of skin, and irritation.

Applying these ingredients, the correct way will ensure you avoided unwanted reactions, and reap the rewards. This can be achieved by waiting 30 minutes in between applications as this allows enough time for the pH levels in the skin to rebalance and ready for the next steps of your skincare routine.

Can I use niacinamide in the morning and glycolic acid at night?

Absolutely, niacinamide is a highly effective ingredient to apply to the skin in the morning. This is because it’s packed with antioxidant benefits ensuring it can combat any exposure to free radicals, such as pollution, UV rays, central heating, and other environmental aggressors. This will keep the skin barrier strong and functioning properly, whilst ensuring there is a continuous flow of moisture locked into the skin surface.

Many favours using glycolic acid in the evening as you can rid the skin of the layer of bacteria, dirt, debris, and remaining traces of makeup. Your skin will be left exfoliated without the worry of sun exposure causing any long-lasting damage. Teaming glycolic acid in the evening with a serum containing hyaluronic acid, squalene, and other nourishing ingredients will keep the skin looking and feeling its best. 

Is glycolic acid stronger than lactic acid?

Glycolic acid is stronger than lactic acid due to its molecular size. They are a lot smaller than the larger ones found in lactic acid meaning they penetrate further into the lower layers of skin. This is something highly beneficial for those who have an oily or blemish-prone skin type as glycolic acid can reach deep into the pores and clear them of any build-up of excess sebum, bacteria, and dirt. This is something that can cause some problems for those with a sensitive skin type as glycolic acid will cause irritation, redness, and negative side effects. Lactic acid is the better option for those prone to sensitivity as it only works on the outer surface of the skin. With the added benefit bonus of locking moisture into skin surface keeping the face plumped and hydrated.

There you have a little more information about using niacinamide with glycolic acid and lactic acid. Don’t forget that if you have any further questions about these powerhouse ingredients, or any skincare questions for that matter, you can come, and find us on Procoal’s Instagram. Looking forward to seeing you there!


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