We all know how effective niacinamide and salicylic acid are at targeting various skin concerns, but when it comes to using them together it can often feel a little daunting. Trying to find a potent duo of skin ingredients that work together without causing any irritation or reaction. So with that in mind, let’s dive right in and find out more about how to use niacinamide and salicylic acid together.
But before we get stuck in, we’ll quickly refresh your memories of what these ingredients are and how they work on the skin.
What is Salicylic Acid?
Salicylic acid is one of the most used BHA in various skincare formulations and is naturally derived from willow bark but can be synthetically produced. With its ability to penetrate through the lipid layers of the skin whilst exfoliating the outer surface of dirt, bacteria, and impurity build-up. With salicylic acid gaining a reputation for being oil soluble resulting in it being a great ingredient for those with oily and blemish-prone skin.
What is Niacinamide?
A form of vitamin B3, niacinamide acts in a similar way as the popular hyaluronic acid with its humectant properties. It is able to draw water in from surrounding the face and lock it into the skin giving it a plumped, supple and youthful bounce. It also carries a unique benefit by being able to regulate the skin’s natural production of sebum.
Can we use niacinamide and salicylic acid together?
You certainly can! In fact, it has been considered that teaming both ingredients together make a potent duo for those combating frequent breakouts. Whilst the salicylic acid works at removing impurities and congestion in the pores, niacinamide can balance the oil on the surface of the skin as well as regulating the production of sebum (the natural oil found in the skin) and help to strengthen the skin barrier by boosting hydration ensuring the skin is able to protect itself from exposure to free radical damage.
It isn’t just those prone to blemishes that will reap the rewards from teaming these ingredients together. Since salicylic acid is a BHA and can work further down into the pores thanks to the fact it is oil soluble. This is a great way of deeply cleansing the skin if you have been given the go ahead by your dermatologist as it is one of the few ingredients able to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin easily. By teaming it with niacinamide that not only works as a humectant helping give the skin a much-needed help in boosting hydration, but can help the barrier to remain supple, smooth and improve its resilience.
Should I use niacinamide or salicylic acid first?
When it comes to which should be applied first, niacinamide or salicylic acid, it is thought that firstly applying niacinamide serum will result in the skin barrier is fully functioning with signs of damage repaired enabling the skin to absorb salicylic acid quickly and able to get to work targeting any signs of blemishes with the peace of mind you can avoid skin irritation thanks to the humectant traits keeping the skin fully moisturised.
How do you use salicylic acid and niacinamide?
When it comes to using these ingredients together, you’ll find that they are often formulated into skincare products that are applied in the later stage of your routine, such as serums and moisturisers. This will benefit your skin further as this will result in both ingredients remaining on the skin for a longer time meaning this multi-tasking powerhouse will be able to work its magic.
This also means you must consider the consistency of the products containing the ingredients as this will determine when you should apply them in your routine. The general rule is to apply your products from thinnest to thickest, so face cleansers, toners, serums, face oil, moisturiser and finally SPF.
Which is better niacinamide or salicylic acid?
It may feel a little confusing considering each ingredient can provide similar benefits for the skin, but overall deliver their own unique qualities, the most important difference is their mechanism of action. By this I mean how they can work on the different layers of the skin, and although salicylic acid is unable to aid hydration, but it is able to remove the barrier of dead skin cells on the surface that can often prevent your moisturiser or serums penetrate and reach the areas of concern. What it all boils down to is that not one ingredient is better than the other, but in fact provide the most effective skin results when teamed together.
Can niacinamide be used with AHA BHA?
Absolutely, when introducing an AHA or BHA into your routine you must remain vigilant when using any form of chemical exfoliant due to the increase in skin dryness. Of course, there are some AHAs and BHAs that cause more problems than others, the most potent being glycolic acid and salicylic acid. It is always best to perform a patch test for 24 hours before applying the product all over the skin to avoid any unwanted allergic reaction. You must also follow the instruction of use found on the packaging as using AHAs and BHAs incorrectly will lead to flaking, dryness, redness, and discomfort for the skin.
This is when niacinamide can step in to ensure the skin remains hydrated and comfortable. With the humectant traits I have already discussed, the skin barrier will not only remain plumped and looking healthy, but it will also be able to function to its full compacity, repairing any damage caused to the skin and prevent any further exposure to harmful free radical damage, such as UV rays, pollution, and other environmental aggressors.
Can I use niacinamide every day?
You can not only use niacinamide once a day, but you can use it twice a day! Because of its multi-tasking talents and the fact, it is safe for every skin type to use, applying niacinamide twice a day will give you the most hydrated, healthy, and happy complexion. You’ll also find that with the skin containing the correct levels of water any products you apply after will absorb more effectively and show skin results a lot quicker.
Can I use salicylic acid every day?
This is very much dependant on your skin type as salicylic acid does tend to cause skin dryness. If, however, you have introduced this BHA the correct way into your routine and have built your skin’s tolerance then using salicylic acid every day shouldn’t result in any problems.
So now you should have a better understanding of how to use niacinamide and salicylic acid together, don’t forget if you want to know more about using both powerhouses in your daily routine you can check out our dedicated blog post.