Niacinamide And Azelaic Acid: Should You Use Them Together?
This post may contain affiliate links.
Are you looking for skin care solutions to treat hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or acne? If so, your products might contain Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide, and you might wonder if these ingredients should be used together. We commonly find these two ingredients in quality skincare. But what about their efficiency? In this article, we’ll review if the two ingredients can work in the same routine, and what their effects are on the skin.
What Is Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that occurs naturally in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. Although it’s naturally occuring, synthetic Azelaic Acid is usually used in skincare products.
Azelaic acid has been shown to be an effective acne treatment because of its ability to kill acne-causing bacteria while also reducing inflammation, which is why it’s FDA approved to treat acne and rosacea.
Azelaic acid can be found in over-the-counter (OTC) products in concentrations of 10% or less or in prescription-only products in higher concentrations.
Azelaic acid is a keratolytic, an antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory that helps to break down dead skin cells and improve skin texture. And even though Azelaic Acid is a powerhouse ingredient, it’s actually very gentle on the skin and is one of the best exfoliants for those with sensitive skin because it’s much more gentle than other ingredients like retinoids or BHA’s.
Did you know that azelaic acid is actually produced by the healthy bacteria that live on your skin known as Malassezia furfur? In order for this to affect your skin in a positive way, you must have enough healthy bacteria on your skin already, though—and that’s usually not the case with troubled skin.
While it might not be the first ingredient to come to mind (or maybe even at all), azelaic acid is a favorite of dermatologists for both its gentleness and versatility. It helps with a ton more than just acne breakouts: It may help banish other forms of bacteria and reduce redness brought on by different skin conditions such as rosacea or hyperpigmentation.
Related post: Is Azelaic Acid An AHA or BHA?
Benefits of Azelaic Acid
The benefits of using azelaic acid on your skin seem to be endless, which explains its recent rise in popularity. Here are just a few of this wonder-worker’s benefits:
- Anti-Bacterial – Azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it ideal for acne-prone skin. It kills acne cause bacteria which treats active acne and helps prevent new acne from forming
- Anti-Inflammatory – Azelaic acid is anti-inflammatory so can reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation. This makes it perfect for individuals with sensitive skin or ailments like rosacea or eczema, but it can also help reduce inflammation associated with acne
- Smooths Texture – Azelaic acid aids in the breakdown of the attachments that hold dead skin cells together, resulting in smoother, brighter, and softer skin.
- Keratolytic – Azelaic acid’s keratolytic properties help to break down dead skin that that can lead to clogged pores and acne which can help with closed comedones and other textural issues
- Treats Roseacea – Rosacea is a common skin condition that can cause redness, inflammation, and pimple like lesions. Azelaic acid is one of the most efficient rosacea treatments since it helps to reduce redness, swelling, and bumps associated
- Fades Hyperpigmentation – Azelaic acid is also great for fading dark spots and hyperpigmentation, including acne scarring by inhibiting the creation of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is important in melanin synthesis (which is what creates pigment)
- Treats & Prevents Acne – Azelaic acid is also useful for treating and preventing acne. It helps to kill bacteria, unclog pores and reduce inflammation which are all key in treating acne
Related post: Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?
What Is Niacinamide
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that has an array of benefits for the skin. It’s often touted as a do-it-all ingredient. Niacinamide is often found in many different products like moisturizers, serums and toners. It can be used by all skin types and is generally well-tolerated and can be mixed with most skincare actives.
It’s an effective ingredient to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging. Niacinamide can also help to brighten the skin and even out skin tone and keep the skin’s moisture barrier strong and healthy.
It’s particularly well-loved among those with oily and acne prone skin as it helps to regulate sebum production and keeps the pores clear. Niacinamide is a gentle ingredient that is suitable for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin.
Benefits of Niacinamide
Niacinamide has a ton of different benefits for the skin, which is why It has become such a popular skincare ingredient.
- Anti-inflammatory – Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce things like redness, rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis
- Antioxidant – it can also act as an antioxidant to help protect the skin against environmental damage and therefore decrease signs of aging
- Strengthens skin’s barrier – Niacinamide helps to keep the skin barrier strong by increasing the production of ceramides. A strong barrier helps protect the skin against damage and other irritants. It’s key to having healthy skin!
- Fades hyperpigmentation – Niacinamide can help fade discolorations like acne scars, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, sunspots and other blotchiness.
- Minimizes pores – as Niacinamide helps to keep skin more hydrated, this leads to a decrease in pore size
- Balances oil production – helps to regulate and balance the amount of oil that your skin produces
- Treats acne – Niacinamide can also help reduce acne thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties
- Fine lines & wrinkles – Niacinamide stimulates collagen synthesis which helps to diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Long term, it can help with skin elasticity and firmness
- Increased skin hydration – niacinamide increases the skin’s production of ceramides which helps to lock in hydration and prevent transepidermal water loss
Can You Use Azelaic Acid And Niacinamide Together?
Wanting to know if your skincare ingredients mix well together is an admirable trait. Often, we choose our skincare products based on our individual experiences with each. Yet, when applied together, the various ingredients in your products can neutralize one another, which makes them ineffective. Or, they can react in such ways as to cause even worse inflammation and irritation.
Let’s review how these two popular ingredients work together and learn about the best ways to use them.
So, if you’re wanting to get in on all that brightening and soothing action that niacinamide and azelaic acid have, you’re in luck! Niacinamide and azelaic acid can be used together without any negative side effects. In fact, using them together can actually help to boost the efficacy of each ingredient. Both niacinamide and azelaic acid reduce redness and inflammation, help brighten skin and fade hyperpigmentation.
Related post: Azelaic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne
Azelaic Acid And Niacinamide Order
So now that we know we can use these two superstar ingredients together, does niacinamide or azelaic acid go first?
As usual, you want to follow the thinnest to thickest rule when layering your skincare. So if you’re using an azelaic acid serum with a niacinamide moisturizer, you would use the azelaic acid serum first, followed by the moisturizer.
If both of the products you are using are serums, you can use either one first. There is no issue with pH or compatibility when using these two ingredients together.
Benefits of Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide Together
As we discussed earlier, both niacinamide and azelaic acid have tons of benefits on their own. But when used together, these ingredients can help to achieve even better results. Niacinamide and azelaic acid both brighten the skin and help to fade hyperpigmentation and when used together, they create a powerful, brightening duo that’s can target hyperpigmentation, sun spots, acne scars and more.
Azelaic acid works by inhibiting melanin production, while niacinamide helps to prevent the transfer of pigment to the skin’s surface. So using these two ingredients together can help to brighten the skin and fade dark spots more effectively than using either one alone.
Not only that, but niacinamide and azelaic acid can help to soothe and calm the skin. If you have sensitive skin or suffer from conditions like rosacea or eczema, using these two ingredients together can help to alleviate redness, inflammation and irritation.
Related post: Azelaic Acid Vs Alpha Arbutin
Niacinamide And Azelaic Acid FAQs
Is niacinamide or azelaic acid better for hyperpigmentation?
While niacinamide and azelaic acid are both excellent for fading hyperpigmentation, azelaic acid may be slightly more effective. Azelaic acid inhibits melanin production, while niacinamide helps to prevent the transfer of pigment to the skin’s surface. Using them together can help to brighten the skin and fade dark spots more effectively than using either one alone.
Is niacinamide or azelaic acid better for rosacea?
Although niacinamide can help to reduce redness and inflammation, azelaic acid is the clear winner for treating rosacea. It’s FDA approved for the treatment of rosacea and can help to reduce redness, swelling and bumps.
Can I use niacinamide and azelaic acid every day?
Yes, you can use niacinamide and azelaic acid together daily. In fact, they can also be used up to 2x daily without issues. Just be sure to listen to your skin and look for signs of irritation.
Final Verdict: Can Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid Work Together?
Now, let’s review if Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide can be used together and whether you should use the ingredients in the same routine. The answer you were looking for is YES – the two ingredients are safe to mix. Combined, they’ll amplify each other’s effects. The combination of these two ingredients will help revive dull-looking skin, reduce the appearance of pores, clear out acne, redness, and irritation, and reduce hyperpigmentation.
- Azelaic Acid Vs Salicylic Acid
- Tretinoin And Niacinamide
- Niacinamide Vs Hyaluronic Acid
- Azelaic Acid And Vitamin C
Elizabeth is the owner of The Blushing Bliss, a skincare and beauty blog that she started to order to help others navigate the overwhelming world of skincare. With skincare trends constantly changing, there’s one thing that will always be true: science. Elizabeth is here to help decode the science behind skincare and with a background in chemistry and microbiology, she's a pro at deconstructing scientific studies and medical jargon. She’s on a mission to tell you what works and what doesn’t do you can save time and money and get the skin of your dreams.