Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid: What You Need to Know

Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid: What You Need to Know
by Truly Beauty

Niacinamide and salicylic acid are both powerhouse ingredients, each with their own set of benefits. Known for their brightening, acne-clearing, and anti-aging benefits, salicylic acid and niacinamide both deserve a place in your skincare routine. Can you mix salicylic acid and niacinamide? Here’s everything you should know about these two active ingredients, and whether it’s safe to mix them or use them together.


Niacinamide is...



A form of vitamin B3, a water-soluble vitamin that helps to restore cellular energy and enable cells to carry out their functions. Niacinamide boasts a number of skincare benefits. It helps build skin lipids such as ceramides to bolster the skin’s moisture barrier for improved hydration. What’s more, it increases collagen production to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, niacinamide is known for regulating excess oil production, reducing dark spots and discoloration, and evening out the skin tone.

With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, niacinamide can benefit all skin types, including sensitive skin. Whether you’re dealing with acne, dry skin, hyperpigmentation, or skin aging, niacinamide can treat a number of skin concerns.


Salicylic Acid is...

salicylic acid


A beta hydroxy acid (BHA), or chemical exfoliant, derived from salicin, a compound found in willow bark. Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble ingredient that penetrates deep into the pores and removes dead skin cells, helping to reduce and prevent the occurrence of breakouts in acne-prone skin. It also helps to regulate sebum production and control excess oil to unclog pores and clear up blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

All skin types can benefit from this skincare ingredient, but especially those with oily skin or blemish-prone skin. Because of its exfoliating benefits, salicylic acid can also improve skin texture and address other skin complaints such as dull skin, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.


Can You Use Niacinamide And Salicylic Acid Together?

Yes, using niacinamide and salicylic acid together can provide a myriad of benefits for your skin. They work well together at reducing redness, inflammation, and clogged pores. Niacinamide reduces excess sebum on the skin’s surface while salicylic acid regulates oil production from within the skin. While they both work differently, using both together can target skin concerns in different ways for optimal results.

Niacinamide and salicylic acid complement each other really well. The hydrating, skin barrier-strengthening effect of niacinamide counteracts any dryness or irritation associated with salicylic acid. Thus, together, they’re the perfect pair for targeting acne or signs of aging without stripping or drying out the skin.


Can You Mix Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid?

While you can use them together, mixing niacinamide and salicylic acid is not recommended. Here’s why: Mixing these ingredients together or layering one on top of the other at the same time can decrease the performance and absorption of both niacinamide and salicylic acid.

Both these ingredients are their most effective at different pH levels. For optimum performance, salicylic acid products are formulated with a pH between three and four while niacinamide works best at around six. Mixing them together compromises the penetration and performance of both. For that reason, it’s best to use them together in your skincare regimen, but not mixed or layered on top of the other.




Benefits of Using Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide Together

Using salicylic acid and niacinamide together can be highly beneficial for your skin due to their complementary effects and ability to address various skin concerns. Here are some benefits of combining these two ingredients in your skincare routine.

Acne Treatment: Salicylic acid is known for its ability to unclog pores and remove the buildup of dead skin cells. This helps in treating acne and preventing future breakouts. Niacinamide, on the other hand, has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm redness and irritation associated with acne. Together, they’re a great combo for controlling acne.

Oil Control: Salicylic acid helps regulate oil production in the skin, making it beneficial for individuals with oily or combination skin types. Niacinamide reduces excess oil on the surface of the skin. Together, they work in different ways to combat excess sebum—keeping skin clear and pores unclogged.

Brightening: Salicylic acid exfoliates the skin, promoting cell turnover and revealing fresher, brighter skin underneath. Niacinamide can further enhance this effect by promoting even skin tone and reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Reducing Pore Size: Salicylic acid’s ability to penetrate deep into the pores and remove excess oil and debris can help minimize the appearance of enlarged pores. Niacinamide helps in tightening pores by improving skin elasticity and promoting a smoother skin texture.

Anti-inflammatory Properties: Both salicylic acid and niacinamide possess anti-inflammatory properties, making them suitable for soothing skin irritation. This can be particularly helpful for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin, or skin conditions like rosacea.

Hydration and Barrier Function: Niacinamide has been shown to improve the skin’s natural barrier function, helping to retain moisture and prevent water loss. This can counteract the potential drying effect of salicylic acid, making it more tolerable for individuals with dry skin.

Antioxidant Protection: Niacinamide acts as an antioxidant, helping to neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from environmental damage. Combining it with salicylic acid can provide protection against premature aging caused by environmental stressors.


How to Use Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid Together

While dermatologists advise against mixing these two ingredients, you can still use them together in your skincare routine. Here are the best ways to use niacinamide and salicylic acid.


#1: Apply an All-in-One Product

Although mixing them together is not recommended, a skincare product that combines both ingredients could be an option. A pre-made formula that contains both niacinamide and salicylic acid will be expertly formulated to be stable at a certain pH. The only downside is that it won’t be as potent as using the two separate ingredients. That’s because the concentration of active ingredients will likely be lower.


#2: Use at Different Times of Day

If you’d like to get the most out of using these two ingredients, try using two separate products at different times of the day. Dermatologists recommend using your niacinamide serum in the morning because it has the same pH level as most face creams and sunscreens. Then use your salicylic acid cleanser or serum in the evening. Salicylic acid needs to be separated from higher-pH products by at least half an hour. So, as long as you wait at least 30 minutes between using niacinamide and salicylic acid, you should still reap the benefits of both without any negative side effects.


#3: Apply on Alternate Days

Another good approach for using salicylic acid and niacinamide is applying them on alternate days. Aim to use niacinamide in the mornings—in the form of a face wash or serum (or both) and salicylic acid in the evenings—as either a cleanser, toner, or serum. This is the recommended approach for people with extremely dry or sensitive skin.


Best Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid Products

We’ve rounded up the best salicylic acid and niacinamide products that you can use to target acne, dryness, signs of aging, and discoloration.


Truly Glass Skin Set

niacinamide and salicylic acid | glass skin set

A 2-step pore refining routine that deeply cleans, hydrates, and tightens pores with a blend of niacinamide, salicylic acid, and probiotics.


Truly 24K Gold Black Soap Luxury Butter Impurity Cleanser

niacinamide and salicylic acid | 24k gold black soap cleanser

This exfoliating cleanser contains a purifying blend of salicylic acid, African black soap, and charcoal to unclog pores, combat blemishes, and improve skin tone.


Truly Glazed Donut Shave Set

niacinamide and salicylic acid | glazed donut shave set

This supermodel-approved shave routine combines both niacinamide and salicylic acid along with peptides and hyaluronic acid to soften skin, remove razor-clogging dead cells, and prevent ingrown hairs for the smoothest shave.


Truly Bodne Routine

salicylic acid and niacinamide | bodne routine

A 4-step routine that targets body breakouts, acne scars, and uneven skin tone with a blend of niacinamide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid.



Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid: FAQs

niacinamide and salicylic acid | glazed donut shave butter

Should you use niacinamide or salicylic acid first?

Your niacinamide product should go on first. Ideally, it’s best to use niacinamide in the morning and salicylic acid in the evening as niacinamide complements your moisturizer and SPF better. However, you should always wait at least 30 minutes before you apply salicylic acid after niacinamide.


Can you use niacinamide and salicylic acid with retinol?

Yes, you can use these ingredients together but you’ll need to apply them strategically to prevent skin sensitivity and irritation. Niacinamide and retinol have similar pH levels so you can use these at the same time. Then apply your salicylic acid product in the evening.


Can you use niacinamide and salicylic acid with vitamin C?

Yes. Apply your vitamin C product first, wait about 30 minutes, and then finish with niacinamide. You should either wait a further 30 minutes before you apply salicylic acid, or use it in the evening on its own instead. Niacinamide and vitamin C work best in the morning as vitamin C maximizes the effects of your daily SPF.







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