Azelaic acid and niacinamide are two excellent ingredients that can be mixed to address various skin concerns and improve the skin’s health and appearance.
From refining skin texture to clearing acne and brightening dark spots, this combo is definitely worth considering if you want to get the most out of your skincare routine.
Therefore, in this article, I will talk about both ingredients, how they work, what are their benefits and drawbacks, and how to mix azelaic acid and niacinamide for the best results.
How Does Azelaic Acid Work?
Azelaic acid is a naturally-occurring acid found in wheat, barley, and rye. However, it can also be made synthetically, which is the case with the azelaic acid used in skincare products.
Available in over-the-counter formulas of up to 10% and prescription-strength formulas of up to 20%, azelaic acid is used to diminish the appearance of acne and blemishes, fade post-acne redness, hyperpigmentation, and discoloration, refine the skin’s surface, and reveal a brighter and more even complexion.
Additionally, although efficient in targeting many common skin concerns, azelaic acid is also a very gentle ingredient suitable for sensitive, reactive, and even rosacea-prone skin as it can help relieve the symptoms associated with this condition, such as pustules and excessive facial redness.
Azelaic acid isn’t an alpha or beta hydroxy acid, but it is their distant relative, and although it has some mild keratolytic properties, which means it can help soften and shed the accumulated layers of dead cells on the skin’s surface, it’s far less harsh, drying, and irritating than any exfoliating acid found in skincare products.
Some benefits of using azelaic acid include the following:
How Does Niacinamide Work?
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that has been shown to be effective in improving a number of skin concerns, including acne, uneven skin tone and texture, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, post-inflammatory redness, and rosacea.
Niacinamide is also a gentle ingredient that’s easy to formulate and works well with most other ingredients found in skincare, which is why it’s commonly included in anything from cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, and even sunscreens.
It is also generally well-tolerated, making it suitable for all skin types, and it can be used both morning and night.
The benefits of using niacinamide include the following:
Can You Mix Azelaic Acid with Niacinamide?
Yes, you can mix azelaic acid and niacinamide together.
In fact, both ingredients have complementary actions that can help improve the appearance of many common skin concerns.
For example, niacinamide is an ingredient that can balance out oil production, while azelaic acid is a keratolytic agent that helps normalize the shedding of dead skin cells, meaning both components can decongest the pores, reduce breakouts, and get rid of acne over time.
Additionally, azelaic acid and niacinamide can improve superficial hyperpigmentation and redness, particularly the stubborn, post-inflammatory redness that’s usually more prominent on lighter skins and remains visible long after a pimple has healed.
Moreover, both azelaic acid and niacinamide can soothe inflammation on the skin and can be exceptionally efficient at targeting some chronic inflammatory conditions like rosacea, which, although not curable, can be managed and kept under control with the right ingredients.
Finally, both azelaic acid and niacinamide can improve the skin’s barrier function, which helps keep the skin hydrated and healthy while also improving some visible imperfections like texture, blotchiness, and uneven tone.
In conclusion, azelaic acid and niacinamide can work together to efficiently target many common skin concerns and leave you with a healthier, more uniform complexion.
Risks of Mixing Azelaic Acid with Niacinamide?
Both azelaic acid and niacinamide are gentle ingredients that are generally well tolerated by all skin types, including sensitive and reactive skin.
However, although safe to use together, it’s important to note that both azelaic acid and niacinamide can sometimes cause some adverse effects.
Concerns like irritation, a stinging or burning sensation, blotchiness and texture, and even allergic reactions can happen when either of these two ingredients is used excessively and in high concentrations or if your skin is particularly intolerant to them.
For example, both azelaic acid and niacinamide are efficient in mild concentrations; therefore, you can see excellent results from using products that contain up to 5% of either ingredient.
However, the risk of irritation and skin reactions only increases if you’re using products containing high concentrations, so it’s important to always start with the lowest concentrations and gradually increase the strength and the frequency of use as your skin gets used to them.
If you’re interested, you can see my previous guides about mixing azelaic acid here;
My Favourite Azelaic Acid Products
Some of the best azelaic acid serums that can be used with niacinamide are:
Paula’s Choice – 10% Azelaic Acid Booster, $39
Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid is a creamy, moisturizing serum that helps soothe inflammation and decongest the pores while lightening skin discolorations.
Although one of the priciest over-the-counter options, Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster is one of the most effective azelaic acid products on the market as its formula is enriched with various antioxidants, soothing agents, and hydrating components that help improve the skin’s health, appearance, and pigmentary disorders.
Typology – Mattifying Serum with 10% Azelaic Acid, $27
Typology’s Mattifying Serum with 10% Azelaic Acid is a lightweight, oil-free formula that helps reduce breakouts by decongesting pores, normalizing cell shedding, and reducing the inflammation surrounding breakouts.
Infused with 10% azelaic acid alongside organic bamboo extract to absorb excess sebum and reduce shine, as well as anti-inflammatory zinc, which is known for its soothing effect on the skin, this serum is perfect for treating acne-prone skin without leaving it feeling dry and tight.
The Inkey List – 10% Azelaic Redness Relief Solution, $18
An excellent budget option, The Inkey List 10% Azelaic Redness Relief Solution is a lightweight serum that contains hydrating and soothing ingredients like glycerin, allantoin, and propanediol to calm redness and inflammation on the skin and reduce sensitive reactions.
My Favourite Niacinamide Products
Some of the best niacinamide serums that can be used with azelaic acid are:
Paula’s Choice – 10% Niacinamide Booster, $49
Excellent for normal, dry, and hyperpigmented skin, Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster features a combination of lightening niacinamide and antioxidant vitamin C, an ingredient that helps improve the appearance of wrinkles, dullness, and uneven skin tone.
The formula is also enriched with several anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce redness and irritation, making this serum an excellent product for targeting multiple skin concerns, from premature signs of aging to pigmentary disorders and inflammatory conditions.
Naturium – Niacinamide 12% + Zinc 2%, $16
Excellent for those with oily and acne-prone skin, Naturium’s Niacinamide 12% + Zinc 2% is a lightweight serum that helps control excess sebum and reduce breakouts, thanks to its combination of oil-reducing and barrier-repairing niacinamide and anti-inflammatory zinc.
Eva Naturals – Niacinamide Serum, $15
Enriched with hydrating hyaluronic acid, nourishing vitamin E, and barrier-repairing niacinamide, the Eva Naturals Niacinamide Serum is an affordable, lightweight solution for those who want to target redness and irritation while also improving the skin’s texture and brightness.
Its gentle formula works excellent even on the most sensitive skin and helps reduce the signs of aging while evening out the skin tone and boosting its luminosity.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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