How to Layer Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide Together?

How to Layer Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide Together?

So, you’re wanting to layer salicylic acid and niacinamide together? Well, I don’t blame you as both ingredients have an impressive array of skin benefits. But apart from this, you are also able to use them together easily in your everyday routine. With that in mind let’s find out more about how to layer salicylic acid and niacinamide together.

Quickly, before we dive in, if you are wanting to know what these skin ingredients do for the skin you can check out our dedicated blog posts.

What is Niacinamide and what does it do for the skin?

What is Salicylic Acid and what does it do for the skin?

What goes first salicylic acid or niacinamide?

It is considered the best idea to apply niacinamide before salicylic acid. This is because the humectant traits of niacinamide ensure the natural skin barrier contains the correct levels of water. When the skin barrier is moisturised and healthy it can keep itself protected from exposure to free radical damage. You will also find that when the skin properly hydrated it is able to absorb other ingredients quickly and effectively, ensuring the active ingredients are penetrate further into the lower layers. This makes niacinamide a useful team mate to use with salicylic acid as it can counteract the drying effects that often occurs when using daily salicylic acid in your skincare routine.

What can you not layer with niacinamide?

It is best to avoid layering vitamin C with niacinamide. Both ingredients are rich in antioxidants and are highly beneficial for the skin when used separately. However, when used together their potency is affected leading to both becoming useless and unable to deliver the results they are praised for.

Having said that, if you are wanting to use niacinamide and vitamin C together you can, it just requires you to alternate when applying them to the skin. For example, if you use vitamin C in your morning routine then you can follow this with niacinamide in your evening routine. This allows plenty of time in between applications to reap the rewards without any skin irritation, dryness, or discomfort to the skin.

Can I use niacinamide every day?

Yes, you can, applying niacinamide twice a day on cleansed, clean skin ensure you are rehydrating the skin barrier and helping moisture to be locked into the lower surface.

Water and moisture are usually the first thing your skin loses which not only results in dehydration lines and a lack lustre complexion, but you’ll also find because the skin barrier is weakened any exposure to free radicals, such as pollution, harsh climates and UV rays will damage the skin. Signs of ageing, blemishes, uneven skin tone and texture are a result of this skin damage.

Can salicylic acid be used with niacinamide and Alpha Arbutin?

Yes, you can, don’t let all the complicated names of these ingredient fool you, it is very easy to use them all together.

When using this potent trio together I would suggest firstly applying an exfoliating toner enriched in alpha arbutin to slough away dead skin cells. Follow this with niacinamide to replenish the skin surface and the final step a serum containing salicylic acid which thanks to niacinamide will reach deeply into the pores without any concern with irritation. 

Now if you are wondering what Alpha Arbutin is I will briefly explain the benefits of this powerhouse, but if you are wanting to know more you can check out our blog post in our Skin School.

What is Alpha Arbutin?

One of the lesser-known skin ingredients, but certainly not one to be taken for granted! Arbutin is often sourced from plants and fruits such as bearberry, blueberry, cranberry, and wheat. It can work on the outer layers of the skin and combat signs of hyperpigmentation, reduce the appearance of scars, and prevent the production of melanin that causes dark spots to become more pigmented.

You’ll find that Arbutin can be found in two forms, Alpha Arbutin and Beta Arbutin. The latter is often considered too unstable and not used in formulas compared to Alpha Arbutin, which is in fact perfectly safe to use for all skin types.

Should you use niacinamide in the morning or night?

Ideally you should apply niacinamide twice a day, during your morning and night routines. This is the easiest and most effective way of gaining optimal skin results whilst keeping the natural skin barrier hydrated and at its healthiest state.

Niacinamide is generally considered fine to use for all skin types, but if you haven’t used it before and are planning on introducing this ingredient into your daily routine it is best to consult with a doctor or dermatologist first to ensure you and your skin will be happy with this new addition. You can also calm any worries by performing a patch test for 24 hours before applying the formula directly to your skin.

Is niacinamide or salicylic acid better for acne?

Both ingredients are considered beneficial to use for anyone prone to blemishes and breakouts. Salicylic acid is most effective due to the fact it is oil soluble and able to penetrate the pores and combat excess sebum, dirt, bacteria, and debris build-up that result in frequent blemishes.

Although niacinamide performs on the skin very differently to the potent BHA, salicylic acid there is one trait that is unique and highly effective at combating blemish-prone skin. This trait is its ability to regulate the sebum production keeping the barrier balanced, replenished and able to function properly. The bonus is the fact you can use both niacinamide and salicylic acid together resulting in a power couple of combating blemishes and acne.

Is niacinamide bad for oily skin?

Not at all, as I have already mentioned niacinamide is able to regulate the sebum production of the skin. This helps keep the skin surface balanced with the secretion of oil on the skin surface kept under control and flare-ups in breakouts, spots and blemishes becoming more manageable. Quite often oily skin types tend to use very potent and sometimes very harsh active ingredients on the skin that strip the surface of water and oil. This is when niacinamide steps in and rehydrates and replenishes the skin.

I hope that this has cleared up some confusion surrounding how to layer salicylic acid and niacinamide together. Don’t forget you can find me on the Procoal Instagram so please give us a follow.


1 comment


  • Madi

    Thank you so much for this info! It was very helpful.


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