using niacinamide skincare


Niacinamide and retinol – an unstoppable skincare duo. Combine niacinamide’s hydrating powers with retinol’s ability to control excess oil and you’ve got yourself a power couple.

Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide helps to build ceramides –the building blocks of our skin. Niacinamide is well-known for its ability to hydrate the skin, which it does by preventing evaporation of moisture from the skin into the environment. On the other side of this pairing is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A that helps to influence the production of sebum (skin oil) among other benefits.

Ahead, discover why the potent partnership is revered by many. But first, let’s discuss the individual benefits of each standalone ingredient.

The benefits of niacinamide

Beyond its remarkable hydrating properties, niacinamide boasts a host of other qualities, including its ability to:

• Support the skin moisture barrier.
• Minimise the appearance of redness.
• Regulate the production of excess oil.
• Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Protect against oxidative stress (caused by environmental triggers like UV radiation and pollution).

Now that you know the benefits of niacinamide, discover the positive effects of retinol for skin (followed by tips on how you can use niacinamide and retinol together).

The benefits of retinol

Not just a pretty face, retinol is also well-known for its abilities to help reduce the appearance of:

• Mild acne-prone skin
• Visible signs of ageing
• Hyperpigmentation
• Dark spots

Retinol can also:

• Support skin cell turnover.
• Control excess sebum production.
• Stimulate collagen synthesis.

Now that you know how niacinamide and retinol work respectively let’s unpack how to use them in tandem.

Can you use niacinamide with retinol?

The short answer is yes, you can use niacinamide with retinol. In fact, they make an excellent pairing! This is because niacinamide can help to balance the initial dryness and sensitivity that comes with first-time retinol use.

In a 2008 lab study, researchers looked at niacinamide and retinoic acid (the compound formed when retinol is absorbed into the skin). The study revealed that niacinamide can reduce the sensitivity and dryness associated with retinoic acid.1

A more recent 2017 study discovered that a retinol cream enriched with moisturising elements (like niacinamide) resulted in less irritation, when compared to a formula that contained only retinol. This suggests that using a product containing niacinamide – known for supporting the skin’s moisture barrier – may enhance the benefits of retinol while minimising potential side effects.2

So, use the two ingredients together in one product or combine them in your skincare regime to reap the benefits – but you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. If you’re wondering about the retinol and niacinamide order of application, what time of day is best or if the combination is right for your skin, keep reading.


How to use niacinamide and retinol together

Retinol should always be applied first to clean, dry skin, so it should be the first product you apply post-cleanse. Follow up with your niacinamide product/s before applying moisturiser and a broad-spectrum sunscreen in the morning.

So, how often can you use niacinamide and retinol? Everyone’s skin can react in different ways, so it’s recommended to introduce this skincare combo into your regime slowly. Try it out every few days and see how your skin reacts. If there are no signs of sensitivity, then your skin can likely tolerate it. If you’re just starting out with retinol, try using it once or twice a week at night and slowly build up frequency. With time, you might discover that your skin can comfortably handle daily retinol application.

Regarding the timing of application, niacinamide is generally versatile and can be used both in the morning and evening. On the other hand, retinol should be reserved for evening application only because it can increase photosensitivity.

What not to do after applying retinol?

Unlike niacinamide, retinol is associated with some side effects. Some individuals cite skin sensitivity, which may appear as redness, tightness, dryness and photosensitivity. Read our guide on how to apply retinol in a skincare regime to learn more. If symptoms persist, seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Niacinamide and retinol skincare regime with CeraVe

If you’re looking to incorporate niacinamide and retinol into your skincare regime, we recommend following the below steps:

1. At morning and night, start with Ceramides Foaming Oil-Free Cleanser. This is a body cleanser and face wash that gets oil under control. With 3 essential ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, those with oily skin will appreciate how it removes excess sebum without disrupting the skin moisture barrier.

2. In the evening only, reach for Skin Renewing Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Serum (with encapsulated retinol and chicory root to counter the stimulating effects of retinol). Designed for daily use, this gentle formula allows the skin to absorb all the retinol benefits for smoother, brighter and visibly younger-looking skin.

3. CeraVe has designed the Ceramides Eye Repair Cream for Dark Circles for use in the AM and/or PM. Featuring a Marine & Botanical Complex to help reduce the appearance of dark circles, eye puffiness and brighten the eye area, this fragrance-free eye cream also contains 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. It is suitable for all skin types including mild eczema-prone skin.

4. Complete your morning skincare regime with the Ceramides AM Facial Moisturising Lotion with SPF 15 – a skincare multitasker. Featuring 3 essential ceramides, hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin-comforting niacinamide, this face lotion has moisturising MultiVesicular Technology (MVE) to maintain hydration levels in the skin for up to 24 hours. This one gets the non-comedogenic tick of approval and is suitable for all skin types.

5. Lastly, for nighttime use, we love Ceramides PM Facial Moisturising Lotion. Oil-free, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, it helps support the skin moisture barrier on the face and neck and is suitable for dry, sensitive and mild acne-prone skin. It is also allergy tested, fast absorbing and non-greasy, making it easy to slot into your existing skincare regime.

Now that you know the ins and outs of retinol-niacinamide pairing, discover our guide to using retinol and vitamin C together.


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