The short answer is yes! Not only should you feel free to combine these two super ingredients, we wholeheartedly encourage it. While there are sometimes tradeoffs in life, luckily this skincare combination isn’t one of those times. Layering niacinamide and vitamin C actually enhances the benefits of both these antioxidants. Read on to learn how to incorporate this dynamic duo into your daily routine.
Can you use niacinamide and vitamin C together?
Yes, you can use niacinamide and vitamin C together. In fact, combining niacinamide and vitamin C can offer numerous benefits for your skin. Niacinamide helps regulate sebum production and reduces inflammation, while vitamin C brightens and evens out skin tone, promotes collagen production, and offers antioxidant protection. To use both ingredients together, apply a niacinamide serum followed by a vitamin C serum. However, if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to use them at different times of the day to avoid potential irritation.
Niacinamide vs vitamin C
Both of these ingredients are vitamins (niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3), and both are antioxidants. But each has its own skin-fortifying superpowers that it brings to the table, which is the reason experts suggest combining the two.
The benefits of niacinamide
- An antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals
- Strengthens skin’s moisture barrier, reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL)
- Helps regulate sebum production
- Diminishes the appearance of hyperpigmentation and redness
- Helps increase collagen levels in skin
The benefits of vitamin C
- Also an antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals
- Helps minimize discoloration and dark patches
- Helps stimulate collagen growth
- Helps control oil production
- Helps reduce the look of acne scars
The benefits of using niacinamide and vitamin C together
As we’ve discussed previously, no one antioxidant can neutralize every single type of free radical your skin is subjected to. For that reason, those in the know use a blend of antioxidants every day to ensure they’re getting maximum protection. Combining niacinamide and vitamin C will reinforce your skin’s safety net, helping put a greater number of free radicals out of commission.
But there are more benefits to using niacinamide and vitamin C together than just their Wonder Twins-like power as an antioxidant duo. While it may appear from the list above that niacinamide and vitamin C do a lot of the same things (increase collagen levels, decrease discoloration, etc.), these two ingredients work on the skin in very different ways. As a result, you can address an issue via multiple pathways, giving you both a more thorough approach, as well as a higher chance of ultimate success.
Take collagen, for example. Vitamin C aids the enzymes that stabilize collagen molecules, plus it’s a necessary component in the making of collagen itself. Niacinamide, on the other hand, has been shown to increase collagen synthesis. When it comes to resolving discoloration, vitamin C works by blocking pigment production. Niacinamide’s approach to this issue is to stop melanocytes from traveling between the cells that make melanin into epidermal skin cells. In both cases, each ingredient targets a different part of the journey, whether it has to do with building collagen or with reducing excess pigmentation.
The point is that the body is a complex organism, and just as multiple factors (UV exposure, pollution, stress, inflammation) can lead to the same outcome (fine lines), it requires a multi-pronged strategy, including a combination of ingredients, to address any skin concern successfully and completely.
How to layer niacinamide and vitamin C
Once you decide to use niacinamide and vitamin C together, your first (and possibly only) question is going to be: How do I do it? Product layering is a perennially popular topic, and there are many schools of thought on social media. However, when it comes to combining niacinamide and vitamin C, here’s what an actual dermatologist says you should do:
Niacinamide and vitamin C — which comes first?
The order of operations for skincare application (after you wash your face) is the same, whether you’re talking about your morning routine or your evening one. You should apply the thinnest, lightest ones first and increase product thickness as you layer, ending with your heaviest product last. (Typically, this is your face cream.) The one caveat is that sunscreen should always, always, always be your final skincare layer in the morning.
If you’re combining your niacinamide and vitamin C serums, the same rule applies. For example, if you are using our Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic 15% Vitamin C Firm & Bright Serum and niacinamide in the form of Dr. Dennis Gross DermInfusions Fill + Repair Serum, use the vitamin C serum first, giving it about a minute to absorb into your skin. Then apply a layer of the Fill + Repair Serum. Wait another minute, then move to your moisturizer step.
While you can apply niacinamide both morning and night, if you also use a retinol serum, such as our Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Wrinkle Treatment or our Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Texture Renewal Serum, you typically want to use that in the evening and save your Vitamin C Lactic 15% Vitamin C Firm & Bright Serum for the am. Again, you want to apply your products thinnest to thickest. However, a niacinamide serum can be a good skin buffer under retinol. If your skin is especially sensitive, you can apply your niacinamide followed by retinol regardless of product thickness.
Another option is to apply your Dr. Dennis Gross DermInfusions Fill + Repair Serum, then top it with our Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Dewy Deep Cream and get your morning dose of vitamin C that way.
If you opt for a targeted treatment, like our Dr. Dennis Gross DermInfusions Lift + Repair Eye Mask, you’ll want to do that in advance of diving into your full skincare routine. Our Lift + Repair Eye Mask is loaded to the brim with both niacinamide and vitamin C — super convenient, we know. After you wear your eye mask for around 10 minutes, remove it, and massage any remaining serum into your eye area. Then allow it a minute or so to sink in (just as you do when combining serums on the rest of your face). Finish by smoothing on our Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Eye Treatment for the ultimate eye lift.
Discover Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare for All Your Skincare NeedsFor more skincare tips from the experts at Dr. Dennis Gross, check out our blog’s newest content today. Shop the collection of Dr. Dennis Gross bestselling skincare backed by dermatologists.
Stay up to date on the latest advice from our team of skincare experts.
Sign up to receive a monthly digest of skincare, wellness, and lifestyle tips.