Niacinamide and Lactic Acid: How To Use Both

Designing the perfect skincare routine for your skin type and individual complexion can be challenging. Niacinamide and Lactic Acid are two popular ingredients often touted for their ability to fight fine lines and bestow brightness, but can you use them together?

Let’s talk about how they work individually — plus how to use them safely and effectively with one another so that you have one less unknown in your skincare equation.

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide (also known as Nicotinamide) is a form of Vitamin B3, which is also called Niacin. These two names may sound similar, but the ingredients themselves are quite different. Niacinamide is a derivative of pure Vitamin B3 and is rarely found in nature, whereas Niacin is pure Vitamin B3 and is easily found in nature.

You can get Vitamin B3 (Niacin) from dietary sources such as meats, dairy products, nuts, avocados, and whole grains. However, there’s no way to ensure that your dietary Vitamin B3 will make it into your skin. Your body can convert Niacinamide into Niacin, which means that the most surefire way to ensure your skin reaps the benefits of Vitamin B3 is to apply topical Niacinamide. 

Topical Niacinamide works best as part of a serum, like in our rejuvenating Clear Repair Nightly Treatment. Formerly our Repair Serum, the Clear Repair Nightly Treatment helps reduce the look of blemishes, dark spots, and signs of aging.

This bestselling serum is crafted with biocompatible Niacinamide and Black Willow Bark Extract, aka nature’s salicylic acid, and skin-moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid. These ingredients all work together to support your surface skin cells and calm and hydrate skin while you sleep – all without disrupting your skin’s natural hydration barrier.

The Science Behind Niacinamide and Vitamin B3 in Skincare

Vitamin B3 is an important nutrient for your kidneys, brain, and skin. Taken orally, this essential vitamin can help support proper levels of proteins such as keratin within your skin. 

Because it is a major building block of your epidermis, Keratin is queen for keeping your skin looking firm and full. A healthy epidermis should protect you from the elements, fight bacteria, and continuously replenish your skin cells.

Niacinamide, the form of vitamin B3 used in topical products, can support your skin’s lipid barrier, which is made of ceramides and has the magical benefit of helping your skin retain water. Without an intact lipid barrier, the water in your body would escape via evaporation, leaving you completely dehydrated.

Niacinamide can also help balance the appearance of oiliness. If your skin is prone to breakouts, then you know that maintaining balanced sebum production is important for keeping your pores clear and your skin hydrated. This means that Niacinamide is ideal for both dry and oily skin types!

Niacinamide is also thought to affect your overall skin tone positively. It can have a powerful brightening effect and can even be useful in fading the look of dark spots.

Whether you’re looking to break up with breakouts or reduce the appearance of dark spots, Niacinamide has your back. And because it supports youthful-looking skin and helps to protect against oxidative stress, Niacinamide is also a powerful tool to keep in your anti-aging playbook.

What Is Lactic Acid?

Lactic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). It belongs to the same family as other AHAs like Glycolic Acid and functions similarly as a chemical exfoliant.

It’s important to exfoliate regularly because dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin. These dead surface skin cells can prevent your skin from soaking up moisture, block serums from absorbing, and even clog your pores, resulting in blemishes. Dead skin cell buildup can lead to a rough and flaky skin texture.

Lactic Acidgently polishes away dead surface skin buildup to help give you fresh-looking and glowing skin. Plus, Lactic Acid is so gentle that even those with sensitive skin can enjoy its benefits.

One great way to incorporate Lactic Acid into your skincare regimen is to use a Lactic Acid-based face mask. Our Resurfacing Moisture Maskis the perfect addition to your nightly routine. 

Our MADE SAFE Certified Resurfacing Moisture Mask helps gently slough away dead skin cells that can clog the surface of your skin and reveal a youthful glow underneath. Moisturizing ingredients work at the same time to give your skin the hydration it deserves.

While other exfoliators have ingredients that may disrupt your skin barrier, our Resurfacing Moisture Mask is carefully formulated to never disrupt your skin’s natural ecosystem. It’s made up of biocompatible ingredients, like antioxidant Astaxanthin to promote an even skin tone and plant-based Mango and Avocado Butters tobalancethe exfoliating power of Lactic Acid.

The Science Behind Lactic Acid in Skincare

Although your body naturally produces its own Lactic Acid, it is primarily found in fermented dairy products. This is why Egyptian Queen Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk. Luckily, Lactic Acid now comes in vegan formulations derived from fruit sugars, so it’s still on the table for clients who want the most environmentally conscious skincare.

Like other AHAs and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), Lactic Acid can stimulate the look of brighter, smoother skin.

Unlike other AHAs, Lactic Acid can hydrate, too. Lactic Acid is a natural part of your skin’s moisturizing complex and is widely regarded as a highly effective moisturizer.

Should You Use Niacinamide and Lactic Acid Together?

Because Lactic Acid and Niacinamide offer brilliant skin-brightening benefits, you may be wondering if using both in the same skincare routine will be even more beneficial. 

Spoiler alert: it is. Lactic Acid and Niacinamide are a match made in heaven — as long as you work them into your routine properly!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to getting the most out of all of your products.

How Do You Combine Niacinamide and Lactic Acid?

Certain products don’t play well together often due to your skin’s pH balance. Your skin naturally has a pH level between 4.7 and 5.75. Acidic ingredients, like AHAs and BHAs, usually have a pH between 3.2 and 3.9.

Niacinamide tends to have a slightly higher pH than your skin does naturally, measuring around 6.0 on the pH scale. The difference in pH potentially poses an issue: neither product is going to be able to work within its ideal range if you layer them on top of one another immediately because they’ll effectively balance each other out.

In order to use Niacinamide and Lactic Acid effectively together, we recommend a) leaving a little time between applying products that feature these ingredients, b) applying them at opposite ends of your routine, or c) alternating the days you use them.

How Do You Work Lactic Acid and Niacinamide Into Your Routine?

If remembering complicated rules and timings of layering your products isn’t appealing, a great way to use Lactic Acid and Niacinamide in your routine is to use products that aren’t going to sit on your skin.

For instance, you might not get the best effects if you layer a serum with Niacinamide directly over an AHA or BHA serum. But if you use a facial cleanser that uses Lactic Acid’s exfoliating properties, you’re safe to follow up with other products containing Niacinamide.

Our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balmis the perfect makeup-removing cleanser with Lactic Acid. We’ve perfected it over countless formula iterations, obsessive testing and re-testing, and diligently sourcing our ingredients to bring you unmatched effectiveness. Our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm effectively removes makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and impurities while leaving behind pillowy-soft and perfectly hydrated skin.

As a bonus, it’s formulated with Lactic Acid, which provides gentle exfoliation that can help clear your pores, soothe breakouts, and keep your skin bright and even-looking. Rather than containing harsh surfactants like sulfates, Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm is made from only the good stuff — like Yucca Extract, Turmeric, and Ginger Root Oil.

This tried-and-tested cleansing balm is gentle enough for sensitive skin but tough enough to tackle your most stubborn waterproof mascara. It’s the ideal way to get the benefits of Lactic Acid and still be able to use other ingredients in your routine without worry.

To incorporate Niacinamide into your skincare routine, we recommend following it with our Renew Repair Nightly Treatment. Because your skin is already in its natural repair process as you sleep, your evening routine is the perfect place for anti-aging methods. 

Our Renew Repair Nightly Treatment is a one-of-a-kind product that gives you the transformative results you wantwithout the toxic preservatives, fillers, or sensitizing ingredients that come with other products.

In addition to containing Niacinamide, Renew Repair Nightly Treatment is packed with biocompatible omega fatty acids, ceramides, and peptides to help fight signs of skin aging. This Nightly Treatment will also flood your skin with seaweed-derived peptides and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration, giving your skin a visibly plump and healthy-looking glow.

You can also keep your skin looking bright throughout the day with our Calm Nutrient Mist. This soothing mist combines antioxidant-rich Green Tea with soothing Blue Chamomile and bacteria-fighting Lactobacillus probiotics to help you take your glow on the go.

Although this hydrating mist helps restore radiance to your skin, it can also help protect your skin against everyday aggressors like blue light and environmental stressors. Use this mist as a quick dose of mid-afternoon hydration, or use it to set your makeup for a flawlessly dewy finish.

In Conclusion

When it comes to skincare products that can give you a dewy glow and fight frustrating skincare problems like breakouts or fine lines, Niacinamide and Lactic Acid both rate highly.

If you’re interested in working both of these ingredients into your skincare routine, you can reap the benefits of both — as long as you’re mindful about how you layer them. Take our skincare quiz to find out if your skin and these ingredients are a match made in heaven.


Nicotinic Acid/Niacinamide and the Skin | National Library of Medicine

Niacinamide | Susan G. Komen

Alpha Hydroxy Acids | US Food and Drug Administration

Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin | National Library of Medicine