Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.
Niacinamide and Vitamin C are easily two of the most well-known ingredients in skincare. They are often promoted for their brightening abilities, though they can also address myriad skin concerns in addition to pigmentation. Among these added benefits, Niacinamide boosts the production of barrier-strengthening ceramides, while Vitamin C stimulates collagen production and offers a level of photo-protection when used along with sunscreen.
When used together these ingredients work synergistically to improve various skin concerns. This combo is especially good for pigmentation, as both ingredients have different mechanisms for brightening.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is an incredibly versatile and usually well tolerated ingredient. It can be found in a variety of products, but is most commonly featured in serums and moisturizers. Many believe Niacinamide is the same as Niacin, a popular supplement. While both are forms of Vitamin B3, they are not the exact same thing — just like OTC Retinol and Retin-A are both forms of Vitamin A.
In addition to its results in brightening excess pigmentation, Niacinamide is able to support the health of our very delicate skin barrier by stimulating ceramide production. Ceramides are lipids, and a key component of the epidermis, making up approximately 50% of its total content. Niacinamide is also notable for its ability to help the appearance of pores by reducing our skin’s production/excretion of sebum. This prevents the pores from becoming clogged with sebum and resulting in blackheads.
What is Vitamin C?
A potent antioxidant, Vitamin C is a favorite ingredient for skin brightening due to its ability to reduce excess pigment by inhibiting melanin production. Its benefits don’t just end there: Vitamin C also has photoprotective properties and is able to increase our skin’s collagen production. It’s a great ingredient and has remained popular over the years for very good reason.
There is not just one type of Vitamin C used in skincare products. Ascorbic Acid was the form of Vitamin C found in products for many years, and while it is proven to be efficacious, it is a highly unstable ingredient that can cause irritation or lose potency at high doses. Now, there are numerous Vitamin C derivatives that are able to circumvent many of these issues while still delivering good results, including Ascorbyl Palmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP), and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.
Why They’re a Perfect Match
While Vitamin C and Niacinamide both offer a laundry list of benefits to our overall skin health, they are a particularly effective combo for addressing pigmentation concerns such as sun damage and hyperpigmentation. This is because they target excess pigmentation via different mechanisms. Vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for melanin production, while Niacinamide blocks pigment from transferring within our skin cells. Combining these two ingredients often delivers better results than simply using one or the other, creating true skincare synergy.
You can use Vitamin C and Niacinamide together in different products in your routine, such as serum and moisturizer, in order to get the most out of both ingredients and because they work best at different pH levels.