Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid: The Tag Team for Flawless Skin

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In a world where flawless skin reigns supreme, two formidable contenders have emerged: niacinamide and azelaic acid.

These skincare superheroes have been gaining an army of loyal followers, and it’s time to discover why.

Buckle up as we dive into the fascinating realm of these powerhouse ingredients that are revolutionizing the skincare landscape.

A series of cosmetics texture on a beige background.

From banishing blemishes to brightening complexions, niacinamide and azelaic acid are poised to take your skincare routine to new heights.

Are you ready?

Because we are going to unleash their secrets and unlock the path to your best skin ever!

Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide: An Overview 

NiacinamideAzelaic Acid
OriginA form of vitamin B3A naturally occurring compound derived from grains
BenefitsBalances sebum production to reduce oiliness, brightens and evens out skin tone, soothes and calms the skin, improves skin textureReduces hyperpigmentation, calms redness, treats acne
Brightening actionInhibits melanin, resulting in a more even skin toneFades dark spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by exfoliating the skin
Moisturizing actionEnhances skin’s natural moisture retention, improving hydrationHelps strengthen the skin barrier and reduce moisture loss
Suitable forAll skin types All skin types
Additional FunctionsSupports collagen production and antioxidant protectionExhibits anti-inflammatory properties and reduces acne-causing bacteria
FormulationsSerums, gels, lotions, and masksCreams, gels, and serums
Side EffectsWell-tolerated by most skin types, but patch-testing is recommendedMay cause mild side effects, including initial purging or skin irritation
Need Sunscreen?YesYes

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide, a water-soluble form of vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the vitamin B complex group. It is derived from natural sources such as fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, eggs, and cereal grains.

This nutrient is essential in the proper function of sugar and fats in the body and vital in keeping skin cells healthy from within. 

Due to its versatility and remarkable skin benefits, niacinamide has become a popular skincare ingredient that has taken the beauty industry by storm. 

It can be found in various skincare products, including toners, serums, creams, lotions, and masks.

What Can Niacinamide Do for My Skin? 

Niacinamide is a powerful and versatile ingredient that offers numerous benefits for the skin. Here’s what it can do:

  • Enhances the skin barrier function. Niacinamide strengthens the skin barrier, which is crucial for maintaining healthy and hydrated skin.

    By fortifying the skin’s protective layer, it reduces moisture loss and shields against environmental stressors that can cause skin damage. 
  • Helps the skin retain moisture. Niacinamide enhances the skin’s natural moisture retention abilities, thus preventing moisture loss.

    This results in improved hydration, helping keep your skin moisturized, plump, and supple.
  • Regulates sebum production. When the skin is dry and parched, your skin compensates for moisture by overproducing oil.

    But because niacinamide helps maintain skin hydration, it regulates natural oil production and ensures your sebaceous glands will not kick into overdrive.
  • Promotes collagen production. Collagen is a vital protein that provides structure and firmness to the skin. 

    By supporting collagen production, niacinamide helps improve skin elasticity and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Brightens and evens skin tone. Niacinamide prevents the melanin in the skin — the pigment responsible for dark spots — from transferring to the cells in the epidermis.

    As a result, it reduces hyperpigmentation and promotes a more even skin tone.
  • Soothes and calms the skin. With its anti-inflammatory properties, niacinamide alleviates redness, irritation, and sensitivity, making it suitable for those with sensitive or reactive skin. 

    Niacinamide can also help manage skin conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema.
  • Provides antioxidant protection.  Niacinamide can act as an antioxidant, protecting your skin from damage caused by free radicals, which contribute to premature aging. 

    This helps prevent signs of aging and maintains the overall health and vitality of your skin.

Ingredients That Work Well With Niacinamide

Now that you know just how amazing niacinamide is, you may be wondering whether you can combine it with other skincare ingredients to maximize its fullest potential in targeting different skin concerns. 

The good news is you can! 

Here are a few ingredients that you can combine with niacinamide:

  • Hyaluronic acid. This is the perfect hydration companion for niacinamide, as it helps lock in moisture and plump up the skin.
  • Vitamin C. When combined with niacinamide, vitamin C boosts collagen production and brightens the complexion, giving you a radiant glow.
  • Retinol. This powerful duo enhances cell turnover, improves texture, and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Ceramides. Partnering with niacinamide, ceramides strengthen the skin barrier, improve moisture retention, and promote a healthy skin barrier.
  • Peptides. These skin-repairing powerhouses team up with niacinamide to support firmness, elasticity, and overall skin rejuvenation.
  • Aloe vera. Combining niacinamide with aloe vera brings soothing and calming benefits, making it ideal for sensitive or irritated skin.
  • Green tea extract. Working hand in hand, niacinamide and green tea extract offer antioxidant protection, reducing signs of aging and inflammation.

Remember, experimenting with these combinations can provide unique benefits, but always patch-test and introduce new ingredients gradually into your skincare routine for optimal results.

Best Niacinamide Products You Should Add to Your Routine

When it comes to incorporating niacinamide into your skincare routine, choosing the right products can make all the difference.

  • Niacinamide serum. If you want a niacinamide serum, look for a potent and concentrated formula (around 5-10%) for optimal results. 

    The Minimalist 10% Niacinamide Face Serum is a good option for this, especially if you have oily and acne-prone skin. It is clinically proven to reduce acne marks and dark spots in two weeks. 

What Is Azelaic Acid?

Now that we’ve discussed everything you need to know about niacinamide, let’s proceed to azelaic acid. 

Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid, a naturally occurring compound found in cereal grains like wheat, rye, barley, and animal products. 

Its origins date back to ancient times when azelaic acid was extracted from grains for medicinal purposes. 

Over the years, its potential as a skincare ingredient was recognized, leading to its use in modern cosmetic formulations.

Since then, it has become a go-to ingredient for addressing a range of skin concerns, including but not limited to hyperpigmentation, acne, rosacea, and even signs of aging.

Thanks to its multifaceted properties, azelaic acid offers a holistic approach to skincare. 

What Can Azelaic Acid Do for My Skin?

Azelaic acid offers a wide range of benefits, making it a valuable addition to any skincare routine. 

A smiling woman in a bathrobe is looking at her face in the mirror.

Let’s explore its key effects on the skin:

  • Fades hyperpigmentation. Azelaic acid is known for its ability to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which plays a crucial role in melanin production.

    By regulating melanin synthesis, it helps fade age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, resulting in a more even and radiant complexion.
  • Controls acne and prevent breakouts. Azelaic acid fights acne-causing bacteria, such as Propionibacterium acnes.

    Its antibacterial property reduces inflammation, unclogs pores, and minimizes the formation of new breakouts. 
  • Gentle exfoliation. Due to its ability to gently exfoliate the skin, azelaic acid helps slough off dead skin cells, unclog pores, and improve skin texture.
  • Soothes and calms easily-irritated skin. Azelaic acid exhibits notable anti-inflammatory effects. This helps calm redness, soothe irritations, and alleviate symptoms associated with rosacea and eczema, promoting a more balanced complexion.

Other Ingredients That Work Well With Azelaic Acid

Like niacinamide, azelaic acid can be combined with other ingredients to target particular skin issues!

Here are some ingredients you can safely pair with azelaic acid:

  • Vitamin C. Pairing azelaic acid with vitamin C amplifies its brightening and antioxidant effects, promoting a more even complexion.
  • Hyaluronic acid. Azelaic acid’s ability to regulate sebum production can be complemented by the hydrating properties of hyaluronic acid, thus maintaining optimal moisture balance.
  • Ceramides. Partnering azelaic acid with ceramides helps strengthen the skin barrier, improve moisture retention, and reduce sensitivity.
  • salicylic acid. Azelaic acid’s anti-inflammatory properties, combined with salicylic acid’s pore-clearing abilities, can help combat acne and prevent breakouts.
  • Green tea extract. Incorporating green tea extract alongside azelaic acid provides additional antioxidant benefits, protecting the skin from environmental damage.

Top Azelaic Acid Products You Should Try Today

From concentrated serums to soothing creams, these products are recommended by dermatologists and skincare enthusiasts. 

Why? They harness the power of azelaic acid alongside other complementary ingredients to transform your complexion.

  • Facial cleanser. Start your skincare routine right with a gentle cleanser infused with azelaic acid.

    The Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Cleansing Bar is a 3-in-1 daily cleanser, exfoliator, and brightening mask formulated to improve dark spots or uneven skin tone from the get-go.
  • Multifunctional cream. Find a gentle yet effective azelaic acid cream that treats skin concerns while providing nourishing benefits for a healthier and more radiant complexion. 

    The ZealSea 10% Azelaic Acid Facial Cream is a great option for improving the skin’s overall appearance.

Can I Use Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid Together? 

Now let’s answer the burning question on everyone’s minds: “Can niacinamide be used with azelaic acid?” 

Yes, absolutely! Combining azelaic acid and niacinamide can work wonders for your skin. Think of them as the dynamic duo of skincare ingredients, joining forces to tackle multiple concerns simultaneously.

Niacinamide, with its sebum-regulating and skin-brightening properties, teams up with azelaic acid, known for its ability to combat hyperpigmentation and soothe inflammation.

Together, they form a powerful tag team that can help you achieve a clearer, more even-toned complexion. 

However, if you are using prescription-strength azelaic acid or niacinamide, it’s always best to consult your dermatologist for personalized guidance.

Concentrations higher than 20% for azelaic acid and 10% for niacinamide can lead to skin irritations.

What Are the Benefits of Using Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid Together? 

When azelaic acid and niacinamide join forces, they create a skincare powerhouse that offers a multitude of benefits for your skin. 

A young asian woman is touching her face in front of a mirror.

Here are the key advantages of using these two ingredients together:

  • Enhanced skin brightening. The use of azelaic acid and niacinamide gives a double dose of skin brightening. 

    Azelaic acid prevents new melanin production, while niacinamide reduces the existing melanin concentration of your skin, resulting in a more luminous and even complexion.
  • Balanced oil production. One of the remarkable benefits of using azelaic acid and niacinamide together is their ability to balance sebum production.

    Niacinamide helps control oiliness, while azelaic acid reduces inflammation and prevents clogged pores, minimizing breakouts. 
  • Improved skin texture. Azelaic acid and niacinamide work hand in hand to improve the texture of your skin.

    Niacinamide helps regulate sebum production and minimizes the appearance of pores, while azelaic acid exfoliates the skin gently, promoting smoother and more refined skin.
  • Anti-aging powerhouse. Both azelaic acid and niacinamide offer antioxidant properties, protecting the skin from free radicals and environmental stressors.

    This helps prevent premature aging, maintain skin elasticity, and promote a youthful appearance. 
  • Soothing and calming. Azelaic acid is known for its calming properties, while niacinamide soothes and reduces redness.

    When combined, they provide a soothing effect on the skin, helping alleviate irritation, sensitivity, and inflammation, which are beneficial for acne-prone or sensitive skin. 

The combination of niacinamide and azelaic acid proves to be a winning combination for achieving a healthier, more radiant complexion.

How To Layer Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid?

When it comes to layering niacinamide and azelaic acid, it’s all about finding the perfect order to maximize their benefits without compromising their efficacy.

In general, always apply your skincare products from thinnest to thickest consistency. Here’s a simple guide to help you layer these superhero ingredients like a pro:

  1. Cleanse. Start by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and impurities.
  1. Toner (optional). Apply it after cleansing to balance your skin’s pH levels and prepare it for the next steps. Allow it to absorb fully before proceeding.
  1. Niacinamide. Apply niacinamide first, as it’s water-soluble and lightweight. Apply a few drops of your niacinamide serum to a cotton pad or your fingers and gently massage it into your skin.
  1. Azelaic acid. Allow your niacinamide serum to absorb fully before applying azelaic acid.

    Then take a pea-sized amount of azelaic acid cream or gel and apply it to your entire face or specific problem areas, depending on your needs.

    Azelaic acid has a slightly thicker consistency, so it’s important to let the niacinamide sink in first for optimal layering.
  1. Moisturizer. Once both niacinamide and azelaic acid have been absorbed into your skin, follow them up with your favorite moisturizer

    This step helps seal in the moisture, nourish your skin, and provide a protective barrier.
  1. Sunscreen (daytime). If you’re using azelaic acid and niacinamide during the daytime, don’t forget to apply sunscreen as the final step in your routine to shield your skin from harmful UV rays.

    Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and apply it generously.

NOTE: You can use azelaic acid and niacinamide in the morning and at night every day. 

However, if you only plan on using them once a day, it may be best to use them in the evening, as azelaic acid is an exfoliant that can more effectively remove impurities from your skin during the day. 

This will also give your skin enough time to recover from exfoliation

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to introduce both ingredients gradually if you are new to them or if you have sensitive skin.

Most importantly, remember your skin is unique. So feel free to adjust the order or frequency of application based on your personal preferences and skin tolerance. 

What Are Some Popular Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid Combinations?

Niacinamide and azelaic acid combinations have actually gained a following in the skincare world due to their complementary benefits. 

If you want to use a niacinamide product and azelaic acid product from the same brand, here are a few noteworthy combinations that skincare enthusiasts have embraced:

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is Better for Acne: Niacinamide or Azelaic Acid?

While niacinamide is known for its sebum-regulating properties, which reduce oiliness and prevent clogged pores, a common cause of acne, azelaic acid targets the root cause of acne by fighting acne-causing bacteria.

Its anti-inflammatory properties also reduce redness and swelling associated with inflammatory acne scars. 

Furthermore, azelaic acid has been found to help regulate abnormal keratinization, a process that contributes to clogged pores and acne.

So when it comes to acne, azelaic acid may be better.

Can I Use Hyaluronic Acid With Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid?

Absolutely! Hyaluronic acid can be used alongside niacinamide and azelaic acid in your skincare routine. In fact, these three ingredients can work together to provide comprehensive benefits for your skin.

When layering these ingredients, apply them in the following order: cleanse your face, apply niacinamide, followed by hyaluronic acid, and then azelaic acid.

This layering sequence allows each ingredient to be absorbed properly and deliver its intended benefits without interference.

Is Niacinamide or Azelaic Acid Better for Hyperpigmentation?

Azelaic acid is capable of inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for dark spots and hyperpigmentation. So it stops dark spots at the source. 

Meanwhile, niacinamide prevents the transfer of pigments from the already-produced melanin to the skin. 

As azelaic acid takes a more proactive role in targeting hyperpigmentation, it’s better at addressing this skin concern.  

Is Niacinamide or Azelaic Acid Better for Rosacea?

While niacinamide helps reduce swelling and redness, azelaic acid is an FDA-approved treatment for rosacea.

Rosacea-prone skin is often characterized by a compromised skin barrier, which can lead to increased sensitivity and moisture loss.

Azelaic acid helps strengthen the skin barrier by promoting the synthesis of ceramides, which are essential lipids that play a crucial role in maintaining skin hydration and protection.

Can I Use Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid Every Day?

Yes, both niacinamide and azelaic acid serum or cream are safe for daily use. 

However, it may be best to start with a lower concentration, such as 10% for azelaic acid and 5% for niacinamide, then gradually increase as your skin can tolerate it. 

Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid: Should You Start Using Them Together?

In the quest for flawless skin, we’ve explored niacinamide and azelaic acid, two of the most potent skincare ingredients that have been making waves in the beauty realm.

As we come to the end of this journey, let’s recap the remarkable benefits they bring to the table.

A white bottle of serum and face cream sitting on a white plate.

Niacinamide, the versatile multitasker, tackles sebum regulation, brightening, and moisturizing with finesse.

Its ability to balance oily and dry skin, fade hyperpigmentation, and strengthen the skin barrier makes it a force to be reckoned with.

Meanwhile, azelaic acid, the gentle giant, soothes inflammation, targets acne, and evens out skin tone, especially for those dealing with rosacea or sensitivity.

These two ingredients, when combined, form a formidable duo that addresses multiple skin concerns with their synergistic effects.

So whether you choose to embrace them individually or unite them in your skincare routine, the journey to flawless skin is within your grasp. 

Remember, consistency and patience are key. Results may take time to manifest, but with unwavering commitment, you’ll achieve your skincare goals with these two powerhouses.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of their individual strengths, it’s time to incorporate niacinamide and azelaic acid into your skincare routine.

Embrace these tag team champions and watch as they work their magic to reveal your healthiest, most radiant skin. 

So go forth, fellow skincare enthusiast, and let the journey to flawless skin begin!

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Author

  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

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