Can You Mix Vitamin C and Niacinamide? A Derm Explains the 2 Buzzy Ingredients


(Image credit: @ivycoco23)

In the realm of skincare ingredients, it doesn't get much better than niacinamide and vitamin C. Seriously, name two ingredients that are better workhorses for radiance and hyperpigmentation than these superstars. 

Since vitamin C and niacinamide do so many great things for skin on their own, it's natural to wonder if you can mix the two or layer them on top of each other. I talked to dermatologist Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD, FAAD, owner of Vibrant Dermatology and SkinBar MD, to get the lowdown on mixing actives. 


(Image credit: @ivycoco23)

Wait, I need a refresher—what do vitamin C and niacinamide do for skin?

First of all, vitamin C and niacinamide are both vitamins—niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3. They both help improve skin, and their differences work in complementary ways. 

"As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to neutralize harmful free-radicals and environmental toxins that may come in contact with the skin," says Imahiyerobo-Ip. "Vitamin C has photo-protective properties, which help to combat UV-induced skin damage. It also plays an important role in collagen synthesis and wound healing." It can also help treat and prevent hyperpigmentation by decreasing melanin production.

Niacinamide, on the other hand, chiefly helps improve skin barrier function by keeping skin moisturized. "It does this by improving ceramide production and by preventing the evaporation of water from the skin into the environment," says Imahiyerobo-Ip. Niacinamide also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe irritated or inflamed skin." 

But that's not all—niacinamide has some of the same properties as vitamin C. It also helps boost collagen production and stop melanin production, making it an anti-hyperpigmentation hero. 


(Image credit: @claire_most)

So can you mix niacinamide and vitamin C?

Short answer: yes. "While Vitamin C and niacinamide impact the skin in similar ways—stimulating collagen, improving pigmentation, and increasing the skin antioxidant capacities—they do so by different mechanisms of action," says Imahiyerobo-Ip. She explains that by using vitamin C and niacinamide together, you can end up with better results than using them alone. 


(Image credit: @marina_torres)

How do I mix niacinamide and vitamin C?

If you want to use niacinamide and vitamin C in tandem, Imahiyerobo-Ip recommends layering the two ingredients rather than trying to find a product formula that contains both. "Vitamin C can be a very unstable molecule, and I would not use a product that combined both vitamin C and niacinamide into one formulation," she says. When layering, always go from the lightest ingredient (like a serum) to the thickest ingredient (like a moisturizer). 


(Image credit: @peonylim)

Vitamin C serums to try:

Niacinamide serums to try:

Next, These Derm-Approved Moisturizers Will Vastly Improve Your Skin's Dew Point

Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.