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Can you use Niacinamide with Retinol? – Exclusive Tips and Benefits

Can you use Niacinamide and Retinol together?

A big YES. Niacinamide and Retinol work as better halves of each other when used together. Excess dryness or redness of the skin caused by Retinol is calmed & hydrated by adding Niacinamide, making it a powerful duo!

Know these stars individually.


It is a form of vitamin B3 which is extremely multi-skilled & has been quietly playing the sweet support role in skincare for a few decades.

Finally, in recent years Niacinamide is getting its due limelight & is found in all sorts of products: serums, moisturizers even body lotions.

A girl applying Niacinamide


Niacinamide application

Why is Niacinamide so extremely popular?

Benefits of Niacinamide 

  1. Niacinamide is a very stable ingredient.
  2. It strongly improves skin barrier function which helps in maintaining moisture & hydration.
  3. Decreases sebum production hence fewer acne breakouts, and should be a patent ingredient for oily skin.
  4. Reduces inflammation & calms the skin.
  5. It builds Keratin, a type of protein that helps skin look firm, smooth & young.
  6. Minimizes enlarged pore size over time
  7. Helps with unwanted dark spots, hyperpigmentation & uneven skin tone.
  8. It’s a strong glycation fighter that appears on the skin resulting in AGEs due to excess sugar eating.
  9. Helps with sun-damaged skin
  10. Reduces the severity of acne marks.

The boy is a multitasker, told ya!

Who should use Niacinamide serum?

EVERYONE! Ha-ha, honestly it is well tolerated by even sensitive skin types & is a boon for acne-prone skin types. People with Rosacea, Eczema & Atopic Dermatitis can get great benefits from it as it calms down the skin.

Can Pregnant women use Niacinamide serum?

As a topical treatment, Absolutely YES! It is safe in pregnancy & nursing.

What ingredients is Niacinamide compatible with?

This sweetheart gels up with all kinds of acids, peptides, ceramides, Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, retinoids & antioxidants. It is actually an adjuvant ingredient, which means it enhances the effectiveness of other ingredients.

When should you use Niacinamide?

Daytime & Nighttime, both are good for using Niacinamide.

Does Niacinamide serum have any side effects?

NOPE! In extreme rare cases, it causes a little redness or irritation or but mostly it’s a pretty safe ingredient to use.

Things to take care of when using Niacinamide in the skincare routine

  1. Concentration – Newbies start with 2% – 4%, and can go up to a maximum of 5%.
  2. Just a few drops are enough for the whole face. Don’t forget your neck.
  3. Seal it with a nice moisturizer followed by sunscreen.


Retinol family tree


Retinol family tree for your easiest understanding

A Derivative of Vitamin A known as a killer of all aging symptoms acc. to me Ha-Ha. Seriously, it does work wonders on mature skin & problems like wrinkles, pigmentation, acne scars & saggy skin.

It is the most searched substance on the internet for obvious reasons but there’s also a lot of confusion tagged along with Retinol.

Read everything here in the simplest form & clear out all confusion

What is the crazy Retinol Raving about?

  • Retinol goes deep in our skin layers, eliminates dead skin cells & regenerates new fresh cells making the skin look soft & young.
  • Increases Collagen production by speeding skin cell turnover resulting in firm skin.
  • It is the best topical treatment for acne and acne scars.
  • Reduces dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles & pigmented skin.
  • Makes the skin overall smooth & even toned.

Retinol is amazing, right! But you cannot mistreat, it means it needs to be used in a proper way, else it can do more harm than good.

Incorporate Retinol in your skincare routine safely like this

Over peeled skin of a girl due to exceeding the amount of retinol


Retinol Damage when you exceed the quantity

  • For sensitive skin types & newbies, always start with a low concentration, like .025% – 0.1%, 2-3 times a week. When you become a pro, you can go up to 1%.
  • Pls, do not exceed the quantity of more than a pea size. Too much does more harm than good.
  • Wear sunscreen when you’re out during the day. Using retinol makes your skin highly photosensitive which means the skin is very sensitive to UV light.
  • Use Retinol only at night.
  • Do not mix Retinol with any other ingredient without reading about it thoroughly as it doesn’t gel up with most of the ingredients.
  • Use it at some distance from your eyes, mouth & nose.
  • Don’t forget to use it on your neck as well, the neck area ages even faster than your face because of thinner skin.
  • Don’t use retinol on damp skin. Pat it dry & then apply.
  • Don’t forget to layer it with a good moisturizer followed by sunscreen.
  • It may take up to 8-12 weeks to produce visible results so be patient. Once you start this journey, you won’t stop.

Who cannot use Retinol?

  1. Pregnant/nursing women
  2. People who have Rosacea and eczema conditions should not prefer Retinol.

When should you start using Retinol?

The early 20s are just fine with proper precautions.

Any Retinol Bonus tip? (Only for experienced people)

To experience the deepest level of skin penetration, you might want to use it after you exfoliate, so your skin is maxed receptive to it.

What ingredients is Retinol compatible with?

Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid, Azelaic Acid

How does Retinol work on your skin? (Very fascinating!)

  • When we start aging, our cells don’t regenerate as quickly as they did when we were young.
  • Now, Retinol directly affects our gene expression, regulating all our age-related issues by eliminating dead skin cells & allowing fresh, young skin cells to come up to the surface.
  • It goes deep into the layers of the skin & exfoliates it from within. It also clears up acne because it cleans up the pores & eliminates bacterial growth. 

Hyperpigmentation stages of a girl with consistent usage of Retinol


Hyperpigmentation stages with consistent usage of Retinol

Acne before-after image of a girl with consistent usage of retinol


Acne before & after results with consistent usage of Retinol

How to handle Retinol side effects like facial redness or burns?

First, don’t panic. Even experts get retinol irritation sometimes. Skin will eventually come back to normal, but you can help it heal faster. See how

  • Use complete fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers.
  • Avoid makeup for a while.
  • Use Thermal spring water to calm the skin (Try from La Roche Posay)
  • Take cold showers or ice your face (wrapped in a cloth) to wash the face, simply hands.
  • Give a lot of moisture and hydration to the skin so it feels better. Apply moisturizers loaded with ceramides (Helps in skin barrier) & Hyaluronic acids serum.
  • After Moisturizer, seal the skin with a light layer of Vaseline. It locks in all the goodies we’ve given & let the skin heal faster.
  • Stop using any other exfoliants, acids, AHAs, BHAs, peroxides, salicylic acid until you are completely healed.
  • Cica Balms, Glycerin & Aloe vera, are great soothing & calming agents for the skin.
  • DO NOT forget to apply sunblock before stepping outside. Remember your skin is already in a vulnerable state. UV rays at this point can make it worse.

Some exclusive shopping tips for Retinol

3 classes of retinoids for shopping


A shopping tip, Retinoids are divided into 3 classes if it helps you with any confusion

Packaging- Retinol packaging is literally everything. Air exposure means Retinol death. Therefore, Tubes form is undoubtedly the best & the safest form to use Retinol

A picture of a tube form for retinol usage


Tube form

Storage- Retinol is not a very stable ingredient in nature & perhaps they like staying in cool, dark places. Quite away from Sunlight, hence your bathroom cabinets work just fine.

A picture of a happy healed skin of a girl from retinol damage


Happy Skin

How to use Niacinamide and Retinol together in your skincare routine

  1. Wash your face with a non-comedogenic cleanser. (Means which doesn’t block pores)
  2. Layer Niacinamide serum first, as it is a water-based serum.
  3. Massage it gently on the face taking just a few drops. Don’t forget your neck.
  4. Then apply the oil-based serum Retinol, taking a few drops or a pea-sized amount in cream.
  5. Remember, not very close to eyes, mouth, or nose.
  6. Seal it with a nice moisturizer.
  7. Don’t forget to apply Sunscreen in the daylight the next day.

Extra Info. – If you’re applying Niacinamide and Retinol together, then it must be at the night, because retinol should be applied only at nighttime. Otherwise, apply niacinamide in the day & retinol in the night before sleeping.

A few related Articles

If you loved reading this article, you will probably also enjoy reading:

  1. Can you use Glycolic Acid with Retinol?
  2. Should you apply Retinol before or After Moisturizer
  3. Can you use Benzoyl Peroxide with Retinol?
  4. Can you use Azelaic Acid and Retinol Together
  5. Can you use Retinol And Hyaluronic Acid Together?
  6. Can you use Vitamin C with Retinol?
  7. Can you use Salicylic Acid and Retinol Together?

Have great skin you guys, Love ~ Beauty Stroll

By Aayushi S
By Aayushi S
Aayushi is a New York based freelance writer and a content strategist. She is a computer science graduate, a health and skincare fanatic and is also the founder of “Beauty Stroll “. She aims to make science-backed skincare easy to understand for her readers.

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