Can niacinamide and vitamin C be combined?
Niacinamide is a skin-restoring ingredient that can visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, and dull skin. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that defends skin against environmental assault, as well as a brightening agent that can improve the visible signs of aging.
You may have read statements online by different sources stating that while Vitamin C and niacinamide are great on their own, they are incompatible with each other and should not be combined in one product. I would like to clarify where this statement comes from, explain it, and whether we should worry about it today.
What’s propelling the idea of incompatibility of Vitamin C and niacinamide is old research dating back to the 1960s (2). This study showed a negative interaction when combining these two components that could potentially react to produce nicotinic acid, a compound that can cause redness and itching in the skin.
Let's investigate the characteristics of these ingredients.
- Niacinamide is a very stable ingredient; light and air do not compromise its integrity. For best performance products containing niacinamide should be formulated at a pH, that’s close to neutral.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, the pure form) is a highly unstable compound that readily oxidizes in the presence of air and light. It performs best in a low-pH (acidic) environment.
Combining the pure form of vitamin C with niacinamide in one product might indeed bring undesired results. Just to emphasize that this concern applies only to pure vitamin C, as it was studied in the research from the 1960s.
However, more stable forms of Vitamin C are available, such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and ascorbyl glucoside. These derivatives of Vitamin C are not as sensitive to water, light, and air and are effective at close to neutral pH. So, combining one of these Vitamin C derivatives with Niacinamide is perfectly fine.
This means that you’re safe to use both niacinamide and vitamin C, either together in the same product, or combined from different products that you layer one over the other.
The benefits from such a mix are numerous. Together, these ingredients form a powerhouse combo that addresses uneven skin tone, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and dullness. All skin types can benefit from this combination.
Our Vitamin C Serum with Licorice Root contains a perfect combination of Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Niacinamide to bring your complexion to a more radiant, smoother, more even, and noticeably younger-looking state.