Home Skincare Can You Use Lactic Acid And Niacinamide Together?

Can You Use Lactic Acid And Niacinamide Together?

by Gabbi

Creating a skincare routine can get overwhelming, especially for beginners. Once you start researching various ingredients, you can easily mix them up or use them in the wrong order. However, focusing on one ingredient at a time will be more helpful.

Some of the most common skincare ingredients we see today are niacinamide and Lactic Acid. These ingredients are relatively gentle and effective in treating various skin concerns. But how can you incorporate them into your skin regimen?

Can you use lactic acid and niacinamide together? Both lactic acid and niacinamide are relatively compatible, and they can be used together in a skincare routine. However, it’s crucial to understand each ingredient before using it.

Even though these ingredients pair well together, one is a chemical exfoliant, and the other is a form of a vitamin. Chemical exfoliants can be tricky to incorporate into your regimen because they increase sensitivity to the sun and cause irritation if misused.

Thankfully, there are just a few simple rules to follow to ensure you get the most from your skincare products. Chemical exfoliants don’t have to be intimidating, and they can even be paired with other skin-repairing ingredients like niacinamide. 

What Is Lactic Acid?

There are two primary forms of exfoliation. First are physical exfoliants, which are your facial scrubs containing abrasive ingredients that manually buff away dead skin cells. The second is chemical exfoliants which are acids that help exfoliate.

Chemical exfoliants are usually found in serums, and they’re usually a leave-on treatment that you don’t rinse. The most popular chemical exfoliants are Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs).

Lactic Acid is a form of AHA. According to Healthline, “AHAs are water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits.” In addition, AHAs are a fantastic product to treat skin concerns like discoloration, aging, pores, and hyperpigmentation.

Lactic Acid can also be derived from milk. Sephora states that “lactic acid brightens, smoothes, and evens skin, while also making it look firmer.” In addition, you can find lactic acid in numerous skin care products like serums, peels, masks, and more. 

This effective ingredient works by eliminating dead skin cells so you can achieve an even, balanced, and bright skin tone. Exfoliation is essential to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration, and lactic acid helps bring new cells to the surface.

However, too much lactic acid in your routine or mixing it with other potent ingredients can lead to irritation. On the other hand, lactic acid can transform your skin for the better as long as you use it correctly. 

Pros

Lactic acid can help your skin achieve a radiant and even complexion. 

If you have sensitive skin or are new to lactic acid, start by using a low percentage of this AHA to avoid instant irritation. Over time, you can increase the percentage based on your skin. You can also perform a patch test to avoid any adverse reactions.

Lactic acid is suitable for all skin types; just proceed with caution if you’re severely dry or sensitive. However, lactic acid is ideal for dry or normal skin types that prevent aging. In addition, they don’t exfoliate the skin as deep as BHAs can.

Overall, lactic acid is ideal for combating signs of aging. For example, lactic acid can reduce discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles and brighten the complexion. With the help of lactic acid, you’ll be able to reveal a youthful and radiant skin tone in no time.

Cons

One downside of lactic acid is that it can cause irritation like redness, stinging, tingling, cracked skin, and a broken skin barrier. This can occur when you either use too much lactic acid, mix it with other skincare actives, or forget to wear sunscreen.

Using a high percentage, using lactic acid frequently, or misapplying lactic acid can lead to skin irritation. You’ll want to use the proper dosage of lactic acid that your skin tolerates and layer it with other compatible ingredients.

Lactic acid can also increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. If you don’t wear sunscreen daily, you won’t see the benefits that lactic acid has to offer. In addition, increased sun sensitivity can lead to irritation like burning, redness, and dryness.

Lastly, you’ll want to avoid mixing lactic acid with retinoids or retinol. These are both highly potent and exfoliating products that can harm the skin barrier and lead to other unpleasant side effects. 

How To Use Lactic Acid

How can you safely use lactic acid? Well, thankfully, it’s not as intimidating as it looks. However, because it can increase your sensitivity to the sun, you’ll want to limit using lactic acid during the day. Ideally, you’ll achieve the best results by applying it at night.

In addition, applying at night will ensure the lactic acid has adequate time to work its magic.

It can also cause uncomfortable irritation. Applying sunscreen daily and reapplying when needed is crucial if you want to gain the most benefits from your lactic acid. As mentioned earlier, avoid pairing it on the same night as retinol to prevent adverse reactions.

If you plan to pair lactic acid with other products, like niacinamide, you will need to wait for the product to settle. You’ll first want to apply the lactic acid to a freshly cleansed face. Then wait 15-30 min before applying the following product. 

Waiting will ensure that the lactic acid does not mix or reduce its effectiveness by another ingredient like niacinamide. Then, you can then apply your following product and seal it all in with a moisturizer. 

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3. Healthline claims that “niacinamide can help build proteins in the skin and lock in moisture to prevent environmental damage.” In addition, Niacinamide can help nourish your skin barrier and keep oil production at bay.

Niacinamide is a prevalent skincare ingredient that most brands use to formulate their products. You can find niacinamide in virtually any product. Moisturizers, serums, masks, cleansers, and more can all contain niacinamide.

In addition, niacinamide is a well-received ingredient, and it can be suitable for all skin types. Niacinamide can keep oil at bay, treat hyperpigmentation, combat signs of aging, minimize acne and pores, protect the skin barrier, and increase firmness.

Healthline states that “reports suggest 5% formulas are effective in treating hyperpigmentation, and damage related to sun exposure, while formulas with 2% niacinamide may help ease symptoms of eczema and similar conditions.” 

Niacinamide is compatible with a wide variety of skincare ingredients. It can be paired with or help the effectiveness of AHAs/BHAs, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Retinol, and more. Overall, niacinamide is usually a safe and gentle product for daily use.

Pros

As mentioned earlier, niacinamide is a generally safe and well-tolerated skincare ingredient. Applying niacinamide topically can provide numerous benefits to the skin, and it has the potential to accentuate the effectiveness of other skincare products. 

Niacinamide is suitable for all skin types. It can protect the skin barrier, combat signs of aging like fine lines or wrinkles, treat various skin conditions, and keep the skin plump. Also, it can regulate sebum, soothe inflammation, and clear pores for oily skin.

Cons 

According to Healthline, “people who have preexisting allergies may be more likely to experience an allergic reaction. This is because niacinamide can cause your body to release histamine.” However, niacinamide is a generally well-tolerated skincare ingredient.

If you are still unsure if niacinamide is right for you, perform a patch test. Allow the patch test to sit for 24 hours so you can see if there is a chance for a potential reaction to occur. This is an excellent way to avoid any skincare tragedies. 

Also, contact a dermatologist to see if niacinamide will benefit your skin.

When To Use Niacinamide

When should you incorporate niacinamide into your routine? Unlike lactic acid, niacinamide can be used day or night. In addition, niacinamide can be used daily if your skin can tolerate it. But, of course, it also depends on what niacinamide product you’re using.

Niacinamide serums are the most popular products containing niacinamide. They can be paired with sunscreen in the morning to protect your skin barrier or with lactic acid at night to help reveal youthful skin. Choose whatever your skin tolerates the most.

When in doubt, read the directions on your product’s labels. Here is where you should find all the information you need to use your niacinamide correctly. In addition, some brands even suggest what to pair your niacinamide with to get the best results.

Can You Use Lactic Acid & Niacinamide At The Same Time?

Surprisingly enough, lactic acid and niacinamide share some similarities. For example, they both provide similar benefits like reducing hyperpigmentation, combating signs of aging, and keeping the skin feeling firm. 

Niacinamide is a gentle active ingredient that works well for all skin types. In addition, lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant that can also suit all skin types, especially those with sensitive or dry skin. Together, they can support or enhance each other’s benefits for the skin.

However, to get the best results, you’ll need to ensure you are applying these products in the correct order. If you misapply lactic acid and niacinamide within the same routine, you can risk reducing the effectiveness of products or irritation.

When you nail the right balance of lactic acid and niacinamide, you’ll receive benefits like an even complexion, youthful skin, and a healthy skin barrier. However, to keep getting the most from these products, wear and reapply sunscreen daily. 

What else do you need to know about using these ingredients together?

How To Layer Lactic Acid And Niacinamide

What’s the ideal lactic acid and niacinamide regimen? Because AHAs increase your sensitivity to the sun, you should use and pair these products together at night. First, start with your double-cleansing routine to have a clean base for your products.

Now it’s time to apply lactic acid first because it’s a chemical exfoliant. Read the directions of your product and follow accordingly. Then, you should wait at least 15-20 minutes before applying niacinamide if you plan to use it immediately. 

Waiting this time will ensure you get the maximum benefits from your niacinamide and lactic acid. Out of the two ingredients, there is a higher chance that lactic acid can cause more discomfort. So waiting this time will ensure the two don’t mix and cause irritation.

If you apply them together immediately back to back, this not only risks a chance for irritation to occur, but it can also reduce the effectiveness of each ingredient. Most of us want our skincare to work effectively, so let’s not dilute the power of our products. 

Finally, wear sunscreen daily. Neither lactic acid nor niacinamide will help your skin if you don’t protect it from the sun. If this routine seems overwhelming, there are a few other ways you can use niacinamide and lactic acid together. 

For example, you can use niacinamide and sunscreen in the morning and lactic acid at night. This simplifies your night routine, and you will reap the max benefits from each ingredient. 

Possible Negative Side Effects

Are there possible adverse side effects that can occur when pairing niacinamide and lactic acid in the same skincare routine?

Although a well-tolerated ingredient, we mentioned earlier that people with preexisting allergies might have a reaction to niacinamide. However, it’s unlikely that niacinamide can cause severe adverse reactions when applied topically to the skin.

Lactic acid has more side effects to be aware of and pairs with many ingredients but not all of them. For example, it’s not recommended to mix retinoids or retinol with lactic acid because it can damage the skin barrier and cause burning or inflammation.

In addition, lactic acids and AHAs can make you more sensitive to the sun. However, this can be easily avoided by wearing and reapplying sunscreen daily, no matter the weather. Lastly, the percentage of lactic acid can also impact the state of your skin.

Depending on your lactic acid product and skin, you can be sensitive to a certain percentage of lactic acid. The best way to avoid this is by conducting a patch test before using lactic acid in your regimen and starting by using a lower percentage. 

According to Sephora, “many advise using lactic acid every other night, or even once or twice a week, slight tingling or redness is normal, but if you experience anything more intense, talk to your derm.” 

Final Thoughts

Overall, lactic acid and niacinamide can complement each other very well. They both offer similar results to the skin, and they are ideal for achieving a radiant and even complexion. With the proper skincare layering, you’ll acquire flawless skin.

However, if you are worried about irritation, use niacinamide and sunscreen in the morning and lactic acid at night. In addition, you can conduct a patch test to avoid skin tragedies or talk to your dermatologist to see what is the best combo for you.

Will you be adding lactic acid and niacinamide to your skincare routine? 

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