Home Beautygab Niacinamide Vs Vitamin C

Niacinamide Vs Vitamin C

by Gabbi

The skincare community is growing faster than ever. Nowadays, consumers are becoming more educated about what they are absorbing into their bodies and have even learned to read the ingredients list on cosmetic products. As a result, some of these previously enigmatic ingredients have surged in popularity. 

Niacinamide and vitamin C are the most popular ingredients in skincare. These ingredients are generally well-tolerated among everyone and provide excellent benefits for the skin. They promote an even and youthful complexion.

What is the difference between niacinamide and vitamin C? Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, an essential nutrient like vitamin C. Vitamin C can help combat signs of aging, while niacinamide is great for controlling oil production, among other factors.

Both of these ingredients can help you achieve a bright, even, and youthful complexion. However, many people are still wary about pairing these components together in one routine, even though they provide numerous benefits.

Thankfully, niacinamide and vitamin C are relatively safe to use together. However, depending on your skin type and sensitivity levels, you may find you prefer one ingredient over the other. What else do you need to know about these skin-savers?

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is the latest ingredient in skincare products, making a huge impact. Everywhere you turn, there is a product with niacinamide in it, whether it’s a cleanser, serum, moisturizer, etc. But what makes niacinamide so unique?

We know that niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, but what benefits does this provide for the skin? Niacinamide is great for controlling oil production and reducing inflammation, which is ideal for oily or acne-prone skin. 

According to Healthline, “Niacinamide can help build proteins in the skin and lock-in moisture to prevent environmental damage.” It can possibly treat multiple skin conditions as well, including eczema.

Paula’s Choice defines niacinamide as a “skin-restoring ingredient that can visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, and dull skin.”

Benefits Of Niacinamide 

We briefly mentioned earlier that niacinamide is great for oily, acne-prone, and combination skin types. Niacinamide does wonders in controlling oil production, reducing the appearance of texture, and creating an even skin tone.

According to Healthline, other benefits include “minimizing redness and blotchiness, protecting against sun damage, and treating hyperpigmentation.” 

Vitamin B3 is also present in numerous food sources like eggs and fish.

Niacinamide is also a generally well-tolerated ingredient, so many people are obsessed with it. It pairs well with other skincare ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and retinol.

Cons Of Niacinamide

There are very few cons to niacinamide. However, it can be an irritating ingredient for some people. Most serums or moisturizers will contain 10% Niacinamide, which is much more than the recommended 2-5% dose.

So, one way to avoid possible irritation from niacinamide is to stick to a lower percentage of the ingredient or use it less often. Most side effects can occur when you consistently apply a high percentage of niacinamide, but lower doses are more effective.

Healthline states that “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.” Thankfully, this isn’t that common, but it is a possibility. 

How To Use Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a popular ingredient in serums. If you have a niacinamide serum, you can apply it after cleansing and before moisturizer. 

As mentioned earlier, niacinamide pairs well with a wide variety of ingredients and can support other serums for the skin.

Niacinamide is generally safe to use in the morning and night, but applying it once a day will still allow you to reap the maximum benefits. Niacinamide can be formulated in creams, masks, treatments, cleansers, and more. 

So, depending on your skincare product of choice that contains niacinamide, it’s best to follow the brand’s directions. 

Every skincare brand will provide step-by-step instructions to show you how to use their niacinamide product in order to get your desired outcome. 

What Is Vitamin C?

We know that vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits. However, in addition to being a vitamin that’s great for you to eat, it’s also an antioxidant. So, when applied to skin, not only will vitamin C brighten your skin tone, but it will also combat signs of aging.

According to Paula’s Choice, “Vitamin C is one of the most well-researched and beneficial vitamins you can apply topically…Vitamin C comes in many forms, ascorbic acid being the most well-researched for its efficacy.”

They also mentioned other forms of vitamin C including L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ascorbyl glucosamine, and more. 

Vitamin C is also a wonderful ingredient to protect the skin from the sun and other environmental stressors. 

Benefits Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most loved ingredients for a reason. It can provide numerous benefits for the skin, like anti-aging, dark spot fading, and more. Like niacinamide, vitamin C is also generally well-tolerated among various people and skin types.

What are some other benefits of applying vitamin C to the skin?

Healthline states vitamin C provides positive effects like “hydration, brightening, reduces redness, reduces hyperpigmentation, promotes collagen production, and soothes sunburns.”

Of course, the list of benefits can go on forever; vitamin C is said to be an excellent ingredient to protect the skin against sun damage as well. Vitamin C can also be layered with other elements or products like hyaluronic acid and sunscreen.

Cons Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also a well-tolerated ingredient. However, most vitamin C serums can oxidize quickly or cause irritation. You might also find that many products contain a high percentage of vitamin C.

Therefore, allergic or adverse reactions can occur if you use a high percentage of vitamin C or have pre-existing allergies.

The best way to tell if a vitamin C serum will work for you is by conducting a patch test. 

A patch test is the safest way to incorporate a new product into your routine. Vitamin C is hard to stabilize, so it can oxidize quickly, which reduces its efficacy.

According to Healthline, “Many serums are yellow, but if your product takes on a brown or dark orange hue, it’s because it’s gone bad. If your serum starts out clear and turns yellow, that’s also a sign it’s oxidizing and will be less effective.” 

Vitamin C should always be paired with sunscreen. Without sunscreen, vitamin C can cause even more irritation for the skin and cause many issues like redness, dryness, and more. 

How To Use Vitamin C

Like niacinamide, vitamin C is most commonly found in serums. Also, it can be an excellent addition to your morning skincare routine with sunscreen to combat UV Rays, environmental stressors, and more. So, where does vitamin C fit in a routine?

A serum is always best to use after cleansing and before moisturizer and sunscreen. The most effective vitamin C serum should have a form of vitamin C that can prolong potency like L-ascorbic acid and have dark, air-tight packaging to avoid light.

Vitamin C can also be formulated in other skincare products like eye cream, moisturizers, sunscreens, cleansers, and more. When in doubt, always follow the brand’s directions on applying your vitamin C product to the skin correctly.

Vitamin C Vs Niacinamide

Overall, vitamin C and niacinamide are beautiful ingredients to add to your skincare routine. 

However, if vitamin C is a vitamin, and niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, what are their differences? While they are similar, they offer varying benefits to the skin.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. Because it’s an antioxidant, vitamin C can combat free radicals that might harm the skin and reduce the appearance of aging as a result.

This vitamin will also keep the skin plump and youthful when paired with sunscreen.

Niacinamide will also restore the texture of your skin but in varying ways. For example, niacinamide will reduce the appearance of dull skin and imperfections like fine lines and pores. It will also regulate oil production to help reduce acne.

Can You Use Niacinamide & Vitamin C Together? 

Pairing skincare ingredients in one routine can be intimidating, especially when you don’t know what reactions can occur. For example, most people are scared to combine niacinamide and vitamin C because they can create nicotinic acid.

According to Paula’s Choice, this “becomes an issue only when the niacinamide and vitamin C are combined in a high-temperature environment for a long time. That temperature is higher than you’d find in most at-home scenarios.”

This even includes leaving your products to stand outside in the sun for days. Most studies that prove niacinamide and vitamin C to be harmful are outdated, or have used unstabilized versions of the ingredients, among other reasons.

Of course, some people are more prone to sensitivity than others, but niacinamide and vitamin C are generally safe to use together.

How To Use Niacinamide & Vitamin C 

How can you effectively add niacinamide and vitamin C to the same skincare routine? Well, it will first depend on your products. As mentioned earlier, vitamin C and niacinamide are commonly formulated in serums.

However, if your vitamin C or niacinamide is not in a serum, it will be best to apply the product as directed by the skincare brand or your dermatologist. 

Always perform a patch test to ensure you won’t react to vitamin C, niacinamide, or both of them together. While they are generally safe to pair together, it’s better safe than sorry!


If you plan to layer your niacinamide and vitamin C, you’ll want to do so correctly. 

For example, you can start with your vitamin C serum first and gently pat it onto the skin. Next, you’ll want to wait at least 15-20 minutes for the vitamin C serum to absorb into your skin thoroughly. This will ensure you’ll get all the benefits from vitamin C.

Once the vitamin C is fully absorbed, you can layer your niacinamide and follow up with the rest of your routine. This layering method will ensure you don’t reduce the efficacy of either product.

Morning & Night 

Vitamin C often pairs well with sunscreen, so most people will suggest using vitamin C in the morning. Also, if you use a retinol, vitamin C will cause an adverse reaction, but niacinamide can pair well with retinol.

So, use vitamin C in the morning and niacinamide at night. This is an easy way to use both ingredients in your routine without worrying about irritation or reducing their efficacy. 

Alternate Days 

Another easy and simple way to incorporate niacinamide and vitamin C in your routine is to alternate them every other day. For example, one day, you can use vitamin C, and the following day you can use niacinamide.

Niacinamide can be safely applied twice daily, but once is also enough to get the max benefits. Niacinamide pairs well with chemical exfoliants like AHAs/BHAs, unlike vitamin C, which can cause a reaction.

Use Products With Both Ingredients 

Surprisingly enough, many brands create niacinamide and vitamin C products. These products are ideal for skincare beginners who want to use both but want a concise step.

Products formulated with both will have reasonable percentages of both ingredients to lessen the chance of an allergic taking place. 

Also, a product containing niacinamide and vitamin C is versatile and ideal for anyone looking to simplify their skincare regimen. 

Who Can Benefit From Vitamin C?

Vitamin C works well for most skin types and all ages. It’s fantastic for anyone looking to brighten their complexion, fight free radicals, and create an even skin tone. It can be found in serums, creams, cleansers, and more. 

Who Can Benefit From Niacinamide?

Like vitamin C, almost anyone can benefit from niacinamide. However, it’s beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin because niacinamide will regulate oil production, reduce the appearance of pores, and combat hyperpigmentation.

Niacinamide is also soothing and will help create an even skin complexion like vitamin C. 

Who Can Benefit From Both?

According to Paula’s Choice, “together these form a powerhouse combo that addresses uneven skin tone, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and dullness. All skin types will see a complexion that progressively becomes more radiant, smoother, and more even.”

If you’re on the more sensitive side, you can always perform a patch test to reduce the chance of irritation. 

The Takeaway

Overall, both niacinamide and vitamin C are superhero ingredients that will fit any skincare routine. Both of these ingredients are generally well-tolerated among all skin types and address a wide range of skincare concerns. 

Many studies have concluded niacinamide and vitamin C combined are unsafe. However, that has been debunked because the high temperatures these ingredients would have to go under in order to become dangerous are impossible to reach at home.

Those previous studies used unstabilized niacinamide and vitamin C to reach these results as well, and only stabilized versions are present in cosmetics.

Niacinamide and vitamin C are safe to use together in one routine. However, if you feel skeptical, you can also perform a patch test.

Vitamin C and niacinamide can be successfully layered together, you can alternate the days when you use each product, or find a product that contains both ingredients. 

Regardless of which method, you won’t have to worry about reducing the efficacy of either ingredient. 

Lastly, vitamin C and niacinamide are ideal to pair together to help create an even skin tone, improve elasticity, brighten the complexion, and achieve youthful-looking skin.

What are your thoughts on vitamin C and niacinamide? Do you find that these ingredients work well together, or are they better when separated? 

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