In the ever-evolving world of skincare, these two ingredients keep hanging in there. Both ending up in more and more products.

Both promise everything from a brighter complexion to reduced wrinkles. But when it comes to choosing between the two, or even considering a combination, the decision can be as complex as the science behind these miracle molecules.

So, let’s delve into the world of Niacinamide and Vitamin C, unpack their benefits and potential interactions, and ultimately answer the question: Which one, or possibly both, would be better for your skin?

Vitamin Cvitamin C molecule

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the body’s connective tissue and acting as an antioxidant.

 It aids in the formation and repair of red blood cells, bones, and tissues. It’s important for your skin, bones, and connective tissue. It promotes healing and helps the body absorb iron.

But what are the benefits when you incorporate into your skincare? 

Brightens the Complexion: Vitamin C is renowned for its ability to lighten pigmentation and even out skin tone, leading to a more radiant complexion.

Boosts Collagen Production: It promotes the production of collagen, a protein that helps maintain skin’s elasticity and firmness. This can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Protects Against Sun Damage: Vitamin C neutralizes harmful free radicals produced by exposure to UV rays, thereby helping to protect the skin from sun damage.

Reduces Inflammation: It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness and inflammation, making it beneficial for conditions like acne and rosacea.

Improves Hydration: Some forms of Vitamin C can improve skin’s hydration levels, leading to plumper and healthier-looking skin.

Fades Hyperpigmentation: It can help fade hyperpigmentation (dark spots, sun spots, age spots) by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for melanin production.

Enhances Skin Repair Process: Vitamin C can accelerate the skin’s natural repair process, helping to heal damaged skin faster.

Improves Overall Skin Texture: Regular use of Vitamin C can lead to smoother, more refined skin texture.

Does Vitamin C have side effects?

While Vitamin C is generally safe for most skin types and offers numerous skin health benefits, it can cause some side effects, especially when used improperly or in high concentrations.

 Here are some potential side effects:

1. Skin Irritation: Vitamin C, particularly in higher concentrations, can cause redness, irritation, or stinging sensations, especially in individuals with sensitive skin

2. Dryness: Some people may experience skin dryness or flaking as a result of using Vitamin C products.

3. Photosensitivity: While Vitamin C protects against sun damage, it can also make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, it’s crucial to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when using Vitamin C skincare products.

4. Allergic Reaction: In rare cases, some individuals may have an allergic reaction to Vitamin C or other ingredients in the product. Symptoms can include itching, redness, swelling, or rash.

5. Changes in Skin Color: Although Vitamin C does not affect normal skin pigmentation, it can lighten abnormal melanin deposits caused by excess sun exposure.

To minimize potential side effects, it’s recommended to start with a lower concentration of Vitamin C and gradually increase as your skin acclimates.

 Always perform a patch test before incorporating a new product into your skincare routine to check for any adverse reactions. 

Do vitamin C supplements impact skin health?

Yes. Vitamin C actually plays a crucial role in skin health and the supplements can have a positive impact on your skin.

Some benefits from a supplement include:

  1. Boosting collagen production: Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, which is crucial for skin elasticity and firmness.
  2. Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which can contribute to premature aging.
  3. Brightening the skin: Vitamin C can help to fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation, resulting in a brighter, more even complexion.
  4. Improving skin texture: Vitamin C can help to exfoliate the skin, promoting cell turnover and improving overall skin texture.

  5. Inhibiting melanin production: Vitamin C helps inhibit the production of tyrosinase, an enzyme that aids in the production of melanin. This can help prevent hyperpigmentation, which is the darkening of an area of skin caused by increased melanin. However, it doesn’t affect normal skin coloration, only the abnormal melanin deposits caused by excess sun exposure.

  6. Prevents sun damage and early skin aging: Vitamin C may help slow early skin aging, prevent sun damage, and improve the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and acne.

  7. UV-induced photodamage: Some studies have shown that both dietary and topical ascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells. Vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage.

What is the recommended dosage of vitamin C supplements for improving skin? 

The recommended dosage of vitamin C supplements for improving skin condition varies depending on the individual’s needs and health status.

 However, a general guideline is to take between 500 and 1000 milligrams of vitamin C per day.

And as always, check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.

Niacinamideniacinamide molecule

Niacinamide, also sometimes called nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3. It’s an essential water-soluble vitamin that your body doesn’t produce naturally, so it must come from your diet or skincare.

While niacinamide is also a powerful antioxidant, it is more gentle on your skin than vitamin C. Therefore, it makes an excellent alternative for those with sensitive skin.

What are the benefits of niacinamide for your skin? 

1. Improves your skin’s barrier function- Your skin’s lipid barrier is the top layer of skin and your first line of defense against environmental pollutants and stressors. Niacinamide helps in strengthening this barrier, therefore enhancing its protective function.

2. Increases skin’s hydration- Niacinamide helps increase the production of ceramides, therefore enhancing your skin’s barrier and its ability to lock in moisture.

3. Reduce skin damage- As an antioxidant, it fights of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage healthy skin cells.

4. Keep your skin firm and healthy- It aids in the production of keratin, a protein that keeps your skin firm and healthy.

5. Calms redness– It has anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce redness and inflammation in your skin, particularly in cases of acne or rosacea.

6. Regulates oil production- By boosting your skin’s hydration, it keeps your skin from overcompensating with oil production.

7. Minimize pores- Keeping oil production at bay and boosting hydration and collagen production, your pores will shrink.

8. Reduce fine lines & wrinkles- By keeping your skin well hydrated and boosting collagen production.

9. Helps acne prone skin- By controlling your skin’s oil production and shrinking your pores.

10. Reduces discolorations- By inhibiting the transfer of pigment from melanocytes to the surrounding skin cells, which will give you brighter, more even toned skin.

11. Supports cellular energy production-  It is a precursor to two important co-enzymes within your cells: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+/NADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+). These co-enzymes play a crucial role in cellular metabolism and energy production, which can contribute to maintaining healthy skin.

All skin types can also use Niacinamide, including sensitive skin. 

Are there any side effects with niacinamide?

Regarding the side effects of niacinamide in skincare, it is generally considered safe, well tolerated, and rarely causes side effects.

However, some people may experience mild irritation or redness when first using products containing niacinamide. 

As with any new skincare product, it is always recommended to patch test before applying it to your entire face.

Niacinamide supplements

The supplements carry the same benefits as using it topically.

But there’s one difference, Skin Cancer Prevention. 

A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was conducted with 386 participants who had at least two nonmelanoma skin cancers in the previous 5 years.

 They were randomly assigned to receive either 500 mg of nicotinamide twice daily or placebo for 12 months.

  Results showed a 23% reduction in new nonmelanoma skin cancers in the nicotinamide group compared to the placebo group.

 Similar reductions were found for new basal-cell carcinomas and squamous-cell carcinomas. 

The number of actinic keratoses was also lower in the nicotinamide group at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.

ref: New England Journal of Medicine 

Learn what NAD+ can do for your body.

Can you use both in your routine?

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I may earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. 

So you’ve learned how each of these powerhouse ingredients can be a valuable addition to your routine, but could you use them together?

The answer is, yes you can!

And even though you may find products that have both ingredients, layering them would work better.

The reason is because vitamin C is an unstable molecule and can become inactive by exposure to sun light, heat, oxygen, and other ingredients. 

Also, for vitamin C to be effective, it needs to be used at a low pH, where niacinamide will work better at a higher or neutral pH.

While vitamin C usually needs to be alone, vitamin E and ferulic acid can increase its effectiveness and stability. Such is the case with Advanced Skin Care C + E Ferulic 15%which works just as well as Skinceuticals version, but doesn’t cost as much!

Now, when choosing your niacinamide product, it’s not as particular as vitamin C. So, I actually have two excellent choices for you from the same brand.

First, there’s COSRX Niacinamide 15% Serum and, if you really want to pack an extra punch, COSRX Niacinamide 5% + Snail Mucin 74% Dual Essence.

I use COSRX Snail Mucin 96% and I absolutely love what it does for my skin! 

So putting these two together, they compliment each other’s effects and provide a more comprehensive approach to your skincare routine.

Remember to always apply your products from thinnest to thickest for the best results.

In conclusion

You know your skin better than anyone else and you know what you want to accomplish with your skincare. 

You’ve learned what each of these powerful ingredients can do for your skin, but using them together will definitely boost your routine.

If you’re looking for brighter, more youthful, and healthy looking skin, then two ingredients make the ultimate combo.

As always, questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome!

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