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Can You Use AHAs and Niacinamide Together?

by Yu-Jun Park 30 Jun 2024

Alright, let's get down to what you've been dying to know: can you use AHAs and niacinamide together? 

Short answer: YES! AHAs and niacinamide make a powerful combo.

But we're not just about the short answers here. We're diving deep into the beauty mystery of mixing these two superstars for the ultimate skin glow-up.

Meet the Power Duo: AHAs and Niacinamide

AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

Think of AHAs as your friendly neighborhood exfoliators

They slough off dead skin cells, leaving your skin looking fresher, smoother, and oh-so-radiant. We're talking about stars like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid. 

These bad boys dig deep into your skin to work magic—erasing fine lines, diminishing dark spots, and making your skin feel as soft as a baby's bottom.

To put it simply, AHAs are like that invigorating yoga session that leaves you feeling rejuvenated.

From lightening hyperpigmentation to improving skin texture, incorporating AHAs into your routine sets the stage for a brighter, more even complexion.


Its partner in crime? Niacinamide. 

This form of vitamin B3 is the multitasker of the skincare world—think Batman with a utility belt. 

It’s anti-inflammatory, reduces redness, controls oil, zaps acne, minimizes pores, and boosts hydration. Imagine having a skincare Swiss Army knife in your arsenal; that’s niacinamide for you.

It's the ingredient you call upon when you want to balance out your skin’s canvas. It doesn't stop there—it also strengthens the skin barrier, making your face more resilient against environmental stressors.

The Science Behind It

Tell me more, you ask? Gladly.

pH Balance

Yes, AHAs are acidic (think pH between 3-4), and niacinamide is neutral to slightly alkaline (around pH 6). The theory was that niacinamide could turn into nicotinic acid at low pH, potentially causing redness and irritation. 

But modern formulations have shattered this myth. In well-crafted products, AHAs and niacinamide play nice together. 

It’s like pairing a tangy lemon with a smooth avocado—both distinct but wonderfully complementary.

Skin Benefits

Niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory properties can actually soothe any irritation caused by AHAs. This makes them a perfect tag team, where one exfoliates and the other calms—akin to getting a massage after a heavy workout. Your skin reaps all the gains without feeling the burn.

Practical Tips for the Skincare Savvy

Ready to dive into the usage? Here’s how to make these powerhouses work their magic without causing skin drama:

Layer Strategically


Start your day with niacinamide after cleansing. It's gentle, non-irritating, and works well under makeup or sunscreen. Niacinamide’s ability to control oil can keep your complexion shine-free throughout the day.


End your day by applying your AHAs post-cleansing (bonus points for adding ultra-hydrating snail mucin into the mix!). Nighttime is the right time because your skin goes into repair mode while you sleep. By morning, your pores will have had a thorough cleaning, leaving you with a smoother, radiant complexion.

Split Routine

If you have both AHAs and niacinamide in separate products and can't decide the order, split them between your AM and PM routine.


Slap on that niacinamide to prep your skin for the day’s challenges (think pollution and UV rays).


Bring out the big guns with AHAs before you catch some ZZZs.

Alternate Days

Worried about overwhelming your skin? Alternate days might be your best bet. 

Use AHAs on some nights and give niacinamide its turn on the others. This method keeps your skin from feeling bombarded while still benefiting from both.

Pro Tip: Follow with a rich moisturizer to lock in the benefits of both ingredients and keep your skin barrier intact.

Layering Within the Same Routine

Feeling adventurous? You can use both in the same routine with a bit of finesse.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Cleanse: Begin with a gentle cleanser to prep your canvas.
  2. Apply your AHA: Follow with a thin layer of your AHA product and let it absorb. Wait about 20 minutes, allowing it ample time to work on surface exfoliation.
  3. Niacinamide Serum: Afterward, apply your niacinamide serum. By now, your AHAs will have done their job, and niacinamide can swoop in to calm and hydrate.

Listen to Your Skin

Most importantly, always listen to your skin. 

If you notice any irritation or unprecedented reactions, adjust the frequency of application. Start slowly to gauge how your skin reacts.

Patch testing before diving into a new regimen can save you a lot of potential headaches (and redness). Apply the products on a small area first to ensure they play well together on your skin.

Finding that liquid gold—otherwise known as a high-quality cream that combines AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and niacinamide in just the right proportions—can feel like hunting for a unicorn. 

But when you do discover this magical potion, you've unlocked the ultimate skincare cheat code. 

By the way, have you met our niacinamide + AHA-infused Kojic Acid Cream?

Say goodbye to cluttered vanities and hello to streamlined skincare nirvana.

Your Skin, Your Lifestyle

Why settle for a one-size-fits-all solution when you can customize your skincare routine to fit your busy lifestyle and unique needs? 

Here’s the breakdown:

Busy Bees

You’re juggling work, social life, and perhaps a bit of chaos in between. Who’s got the luxury of time for a 12-step skincare regimen? Not you, superhuman. 

Opt for a multi-tasking cream that marries AHAs and niacinamide. This dynamic duo will streamline your skincare game while saving precious minutes in the morning. It's time efficiency meets skincare efficacy.

Imagine a routine where your heroic cream does the heavy lifting: it exfoliates dead skin, brightens a dull complexion, AND fortifies your skin barrier—all in one go. Think of it as your skincare Swiss Army knife.

Skincare Minimalists

For the purists who shy away from layering serum after serum, your ultimate nirvana awaits. Choose a serum or lotion that's a cocktail of AHAs and niacinamide. 

One product, multiple benefits: exfoliating, brightening, hydrating, and barrier-boosting. Welcome to the land of minimum effort and maximum glow.

Forget the frenzy of juggling multiple bottles; your streamlined skincare journey starts here. A few drops or a dollop of this elixir, and you're set for the day!

Sensitive Souls

If your skin hits the panic button at the slightest provocation, ease your way into the AHA-niacinamide combo cautiously. 

Start by introducing AHAs to your routine just once or twice a week, giving your skin the chance to build tolerance.

Insider Tips

You're not just anyone; you’re an intrepid skincare explorer looking for those little-known hacks that make a big difference. 

Dive into these advanced tips to take your routine to the next level:

  • AHAs as a Mask: Ramp up the benefits of your AHA product by applying it as a leave-on mask. Smooth a generous layer over your face and let it work its magic for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off to reveal fresher, smoother skin. Follow up with niacinamide to hydrate and soothe, ensuring your skin barrier remains unscathed.
  • Niacinamide Mist: For those midday pick-me-ups, a niacinamide mist is a must-have in your handbag. A quick spritz refreshes your skin, maintains hydration levels, and fortifies your skin barrier—all without messing up your makeup. It’s like a spa treatment, on-the-go.
  • Dermatologist Consult: When all else fails, or if you simply want a personalized touch, schedule a visit with your dermatologist. They'll provide insights tailored specifically for your skin type and needs. Think of it as getting the VIP treatment—custom routines, professional advice, and no guesswork involved.

Wrapping It Up

At the end of the day, marrying AHAs and niacinamide in your skincare routine isn’t just feasible; it’s a game-changer. 

Think of it as leveling up, achieving new heights in skincare with ease. 

Just remember these key steps: blend your products strategically, make thoughtful choices, and most importantly, listen to what your skin is telling you.

Still on the fence? Ditch the hesitation and start slow. Gradually incorporating these powerhouse ingredients will give you first-hand proof of their magic. You'll see improvements unfold before your eyes, and your skin will thank you for the TLC.

Remember, your skin is one-of-a-kind and deserves the same level of uniqueness in its care. 

Treat it with the love, patience, and potent ingredients it deserves, and you'll soon be the epitome of "lit from within."

Ready to glow up? Let’s make it happen! 

Your selfie-perfect skin adventure starts now.

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