Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Shreya Singh (Pharmacist)  on 26th Sep 2020

Using Niacinamide & Vitamin C Together - Truth vs. Myths

Using Niacinamide & Vitamin C

What can Niacinamide and Vitamin C Do For Your Skin?

Vitamin C and Niacinamide have long been influential A-listers in the beauty and skincare industry. These ingredients are skin saviors that provide fantastic benefits and promises to make your dream of having healthy skin a reality!

Many-a-time, you may have been sharp-witted enough and thought of combining these two together to reap two-fold benefits. However, you may be terrified to do so because of the myth circulating since time immemorial.

Many skincare brands, beauty blogs, and articles have put forward misleading claims suggesting that these ingredients should not be used in conjunction with one another, while some state otherwise.

So, these controversial and bewildering claims urge us to go through many research studies and articles to figure out the actual science behind them and why these misconceptions were formed in the first place.

In this article, we will be carefully inspecting all the research to filter out the facts from misconceptions, whether you should use them together or not, and the potential benefits of these two ingredients.

Just read along to find out some of the greatest myths in the skincare industry, debunked! 

What are the individual benefits of Vitamin C and Niacinamide?

First and foremost, let’s deep dive into these ingredients to know their individual benefits.

Let's Start with Vitamin C

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is a skin-star ingredient that has long been praised by dermatologists worldwide. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental aggressors, remarkably brightens the skin by eliminating hyperpigmentation, and helps in smoothing out the visible signs of aging in the long run. 

Now For Niacinamide

On the other hand, Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that promises to be a one-stop solution for all skin concerns. It helps in fading dark spots & hyperpigmentation; and stimulates collagen production in the skin. It also helps in regulating sebum production and strengthening the natural lipid barrier of the skin. 

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Using Vitamin C and Niacinamide together: Myths Vs. Facts

Both Niacinamide and Vitamin C are gold-standard ingredients that provide impressive benefits. It’s a no-brainer to understand why people would want to use the two of them together.

#1 The Myth:
When both of these ingredients are used together, they nullify each other, rendering both of these compounds ineffective.

#1 The Fact:

This myth originates from the early studies and experiments conducted in the 1960s, which showed incompatibility between Niacinamide and Vitamin C.

These studies were not entirely accurate because unstabilized forms of both ingredients were utilized in these tests. These ingredients are usually stabilized when used in skincare and cosmetics.

This myth is supported by the fact that pure vitamin C, like ascorbic acid, is a highly unstable compound that readily oxidizes in the presence of air and light. But it’s important to note that modern-day cosmetics and skincare products are widely formulated using stable derivatives of Vitamin C, such as ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.  

#2 The Myth:
When combined with an acid such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Niacinamide hydrolyzes and results in the formation of an undesirable product called Nicotinic acid. This product can cause vasodilation, leading to redness and tingling sensation in the skin.

#2 The Fact:

Niacinamide is an incredibly stable compound; therefore, this unwanted reaction is only possible when these ingredients are exposed to extremely high degrees of temperatures over an extended time.

These temperatures are way higher than we could find in most houses, considering keeping these products out in the sun for several days.

Therefore, these results were slightly misguiding because both of these extreme conditions don’t translate to the real-world scenario.

Also, it’s worth noting that studies and research suggest, Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant component found in healthy skin. Considering this fact, topical use of Niacinamide would have been a complete failure in the first place, either resulting in skin issues or being ineffective, but studies only reflect tremendous benefits. 

The Truth:

Therefore examining all the facts and research, we can conclude that it is entirely safe to combine Niacinamide and Vitamin C. It’s more than fine to use them while layering or in a product that has both these ingredients already combined. Using them in conjunction with one another could even provide enhanced skin benefits.

Dr. Dray, a board-certified dermatologist and skincare enthusiast, says, 

I have been layering these ingredients together for a long time to reap maximized benefits, and they are worth investigating for yourself. In modern formulations, you don’t have to worry about the issue of this combination, causing excessive irritation or anything of that sort.

Benefits of using Niacinamide and Vitamin C together 

The benefits of mixing both of these ingredients are fantastic! Not only mixing can be done, but it should be done because two of them together have an incredible synergy in anti-aging and effectively fading out hyperpigmentation of the skin.

Together, they form a dynamic duo that tackles irregular skin tone & texture, discoloration, lustreless skin, loss of firmness, increased pore-sizing, and premature signs of aging. 

Exclusive Tip From Minimalist:

The pH levels of both these ingredients are slightly different as Vitamin C has an acidic pH, whereas Niacinamide has a more neutral pH. Therefore it’s best advised to use them one after the other in layering techniques to reap maximized benefits.

Religiously using them together makes your skin more radiant, youthful, softer, and even-toned.

They are a power couple that absolutely can and should be utilized together! 

Key Takeaways

Long story short:

It’s completely safe and effective to use Niacinamide and Vitamin C together.
These misleading fallacies were dawned because of misinformation and lack of proper research. These results were a bit problematic because: 

  • Unstabilized versions of these ingredients were used in these experiments
  • They were tested at extremely unfavorable conditions and temperatures. 
  • These conditions are far apart from the actual reality, where we apply skincare products containing stable formulations at room temperatures.

However, every skin is unique as their fingerprint and DNA. Therefore, if you have used these two ingredients together and it just doesn’t work out for you, absolutely keep them separate. But, if you have been afraid to pair them up together, we would suggest that you give it a whirl without a second thought!