Best Ingredients to Pair With Niacinamide

Megan Dominion

Niacinamide is an extremely popular skincare ingredient. It’s most widely know for its ability to reduce inflammation1Healthline: Everything You Should Know About Niacinamide which may help with skin issues such as acne and eczema. Niacinamide is especially helpful for those with dry, sensitive, aging, or acne-prone skin (almost everything, right!?). Its ability to increase collagen formation is a key way in which it combats premature aging of the skin. Its natural anti-inflammatory component helps soothe inflamed skin and is gentle enough for delicate and sensitive skin types.


If you are incorporating this incredible ingredient into your skincare routine, you may wish to know some other ingredients that work exceptionally well alongside this powerhouse.

A word of caution before we begin

Be careful of adding too many ingredients into your skincare routine in one go, and be aware that there is such a thing as too much niacinamide. I have fallen for this trap too many times and have ended up with incredibly sensitive skin, and needing to cut out all actives before reintroducing any into my routine. Always try adding a new ingredient slowly, and have some calming face washes and balms on the ready if you tend to have sensitive skin. I have outlined a sensitive skincare routine here if your face does react badly to a new ingredient.

Niacinamide and Retinol

If you’re after some anti-aging benefits in your skincare routine, then go for retinol. Retinol is an anti-aging agent that promotes skin regeneration to bring out that youthful glow. Honestly it does so much more than this and is such an amazing ingredient to incorporate into a skincare routine! Be careful with this ingredient though, start off with a lower strength and build up to a higher one.

Combining retinol with niacinamide in a skincare routine is not only safe to do so but these ingredients can work really nicely together within the same product. Niacinamide was found to decrease the dryness cause by using a retinol in this study, due to niacinamide having beneficial properties for your skin barrier, which is usually what retinols tend to damage if used too much or too often. So, by combining these two ingredients you’ll have the benefits of both as well as a reduced risk of irritation from retinol use.


Niacinamide and Centella Asiatica

Centella Asiatica is one of my all time favourite skincare ingredients! I use it in the form of La Roch-Posay’s Cicaplast B5 Balm. Whenever my skin feels a bit irritated or looks a bit red I will use this underneath my usual moisturiser until my skin feels happy again. It’s an amazing balm to have on hand.

Usuing active ingredients such as niacinamide in your skincare routine may cause some extra sensitivity, combining it with Centella Asiatica (when requied) will help keep your skin barrier happy and healthy.

Niacinamide, Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) & beta-hydroxy acids (BHA)

While niacinamide is a great ingredient for boosting cell-turnover and hydrating your skin, adding a chemical exfoliant to your routine in the form of an AHA or BHA can do wonders for your skin’s appearance! A chemical exfoliant gently removes dead and dull skin cells from the surface of your skin, leaving your pours less clogged up and your skin looking brighter.

I’ve written a bit more on how often you should exfoliate your skin here, so as not to over-do this and irritate your skin too much.


Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is best known for helping your skin retain moisture and making it look lovely and plump. It does this by attracting moisture to the surface of your skin (it’s a humectant). Your skin should have a bit of moisture on it (a tiny splash of water) when applying hyaluronic acid so this ingredient does not do the opposite and remove moisture from your skin, drying it out instead of creation a moist top layer.

Many beauty products have combined these two ingredients as they work wonderfully together to deeply hydrate your skin. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin to maintain moisture, while niacinamide helps decrease water loss.

What Can You Not Combine With Niacinamide?

Both vitamin C and niacinamide have been used to reduce inflammation and brighten skin. There have been multiple debates regarding Vitamin C and Niacinamide’s incompatibility. And it’s true you couldn’t combine these two antioxidants. However, this is based on outdated research from the 60’s which showed negative reactions to this combination when using pure ascorbic acid and niacinamide. These days skincare products are formulated a lot differently and combining these ingredients is usually fine (baring in mind the usual risks of using too many active ingredients and not introducting them slowly).

These two ingredients are actually a wonderful combination given the plethora of benefits of both of these ingredients. You could either layer these two ingredients seperately, (either waiting 15 minutes in between each use or use one in the morning and one in the evening), or find a product that has been formulated with both ingredients in it already.


Lemons for antioxidants and vitamin c

Wrapping up

Niacinamide is a wonderful ingredient to include in any skincare routine, and pairs well with many other incredibe ingredients. The key to a great skincare routine is to know your skin and make sure to treat actives carefully. Introduce new ingredients and products one at a time and give them a few weeks before making any decisions on whether your skin is improving or not.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.