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Can I use Salicylic Acid & Niacinamide? A deep dive into skincare layering

by Conscious Chemist on September 16, 2022
Face wash with salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is an anti-acne and exfoliating ingredient that cleanses the skin by removing excess sebum and dust. Niacinamide is a vitamin that has anti-aging and antioxidant properties that help in skin healing and reducing sebum. Using both these serums together gives multiple skin benefits, as they complement each other. Conscious Chemist’s Flashfix™ serum and Trubiom™ serum are science-based formulations to get acne-free, healthy, and radiant skin.

Whether you are styling an outfit, preparing a rainbow cake, or working on a skincare routine, appropriate layering is super important. When it comes to skincare, you can get the most out of ingredients by layering them the right way, especially serums. Serums are the most popular skincare products that can do wonders to your skin by making it brighter, firmer, smoother, and hydrated.

Everyone has a different skin type and depending on your type you can choose the right combination of serums to layer. Serums are quick-absorbing and lightweight formulations that are layered to address specific skin concerns.

Let’s delve deeper to learn about the layering of serums, serum ingredients that pair well, serum ingredients that require careful layering, and the use of salicylic acid and niacinamide serums together.

How to layer serums?

  • Always cleanse your skin before applying serums for maximum absorption and better results.

  • Apply the thinner serum first and then the thicker. In case of the same consistency, first target primary skin concerns.

  • Apply water-based ingredients first followed by oil-based ingredients.

  • Massage your skin with a few drops of the primary serum and wait until it’s absorbed. Then apply your secondary serum.

  • Depending on your skin type and primary skin concern, use one of the two serums in both your morning and evening skincare routine. For the morning routine, always apply a high-SPF sunscreenafter serum application. If you have dry skin, you can use a moisturizer.
  • Don’t use too many products as it could make your skin more sensitive or allergic.

Serum ingredients that pair well

A few ingredients work very well together and are usually combined in a single serum formulation for the sake of easy application and maximized benefits. Some products don’t pair because of their chemical properties, but work well when used in layers and are available as separate serum formulations.

Few examples of popular ingredients that work well together include:

- Retinol (vitamin A) 
  and hyaluronic acid

- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and
  hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5

- Niacinamide and retinol

- Niacinamide and vitamin C

Serum ingredients that require careful layering

A few skincare ingredients require careful layering either because they are repellent to each other or they can cause skin irritation. They are suitable for application at different times of the day or on alternative days. Salicylic acid and niacinamide are one such combination that requires careful layering. Let’s learn about using salicylic acid and niacinamide together.

Using salicylic acid and niacinamide together

Salicylic acid and niacinamide are both superstar skincare products that have been in the limelight for quite some time now. When used together, they complement each other and the effect can be seen on your skin. Let’s see how these work and how to use them to get the best results.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid - a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), is a powerful exfoliating agent and is usually extracted from willow bark, sweet birth, or wintergreen. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, which enables it to penetrate deep into skin layers and pores. It acts by unclogging the pores, exfoliating the skin, and removing the debris from hair follicles. It helps to improve skin texture and complexion.

Salicylic acid also reaches the sebaceous glands in the skin and reduces the production of sebum. This property makes it an ideal skincare product for people with oily skin who are more prone to acne breakouts. Salicylic acid is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and is effective in the alleviation of acne-associated inflammation.

Conscious Chemist’s Flashfix™️serum is an acne-fighting skin care product. It is a hypoallergenic and quick-absorbing clinically tested formulation of 2% salicylic acid that easily penetrates the pores to scoop out dirt, excess sebum, and debris. The serum is free from harmful chemicals and never causes irritation or dry skin. It is specially formulated with safe, science-based ingredients and is suitable for all skin types.

Main features:

  • A perfect blend of 1.5% plant-derived salicylic acid (from willow bark extract) and 0.5% encapsulated salicylic acid that prevents blackheads, excess oil production, and breakouts.

  • 4% lactic acid helps reduce acne marks and increase cell turnover time. It lays the foundation for new and younger-looking skin.

  • Allantoin acts as an emollient that keeps skin moisturized and also works as a calming agent.

  • A blend of powerful plant extracts to detoxify and nourish the skin. Bisabolol sheds dead skin cells and helps in achieving clear skin. Magnolia bark helps to reduce redness and soothes the skin.

This amazing serum can be used daily to get rid of acne and blemishes. It is a dermatologically tested and easy-to-use product. Flashfix™️ serum is free from harmful toxins and can be used by both men and women. Moreover, it is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. So, shop now for Flashfix™️ serum to get stress-free and acne-free skin.

Niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide)

Niacinamide or Niacinamide/Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin popular for multiple beneficial effects on the skin. It is a potent anti-aging agent and can help to reduce wrinkles, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide has antioxidant properties and stimulates the production of collagen that can give you a youthful complexion.

Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory activity and can speed up cellular turnaround. These properties make it a suitable choice for people with sensitive skin. Niacinamide is also useful for people with oily skin and acne outbreaks, as it reduces the production of sebum and enlarged pores.

Conscious Chemist’s Trubiom™ serum is a perfect nourishing agent that is packed with Vitamin B3 and Pre + Probiotics. It helps boost the skin’s immunity to cell damage. This serum helps to improve your skin texture and overall health.

Main features: 

  • Packed with 10% niacinamide, it minimizes visible wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps reduce melanin content resulting in an even skin tone. Niacinamide repairs skin and strengthens the skin barrier.

  • Pre + Probiotics are skin-friendly and make your skin less allergic to pollution or other allergens. Zinc salts present in Trubiom™ serum help to reduce the risk of breakouts in sensitive skin types.

  • Broccoli seeds – a vital source of Omega-6 & 9 fatty acids and quinoa protein are skin superfoods that soothe the skin.

  • Trubiom™ serum is free from harmful toxins and can be used by both men and women. Moreover, it is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. So, shop now for Trubiom™ serum to get healthier and radiant skin.

How to use salicylic acid and Niacinamide together?

So, can you straightaway layer both these ingredients? It’s not that simple and you need to know the right technique to use them depending on your skin type. While using salicylic acid and niacinamide together is mostly safe, you need to understand the skin chemistry.

Your skin has a pH of around 5.5, slightly acidic. Salicylic acid serums usually have a pH ranging from 3.0 to 4.0. So, salicylic acid will make your skin more acidic. Niacinamide formulations on the other have a pH range from 5.0 to 7.0. If you layer them without a gap, niacinamide will increase the pH of salicylic acid making it less effective or allergic to your skin. Similarly, the pH of niacinamide will be reduced by the salicylic acid and it gets converted to niacin, which causes redness and skin allergy.

While using both these ingredients together, you should allow around 30-45 minutes to get the first one absorbed and your skin pH to return to an almost normal range. Then apply the other serum formulation to avoid skin irritations.

The best approach is to apply salicylic acid and niacinamide at different times of the day, e.g. salicylic acid in your AM routine for cleansing the skin and niacinamide in PM routine for skin repair and rejuvenation. Alternatively, you can use them on different days of the week.

Other such combinations include salicylic acid and vitamin C; retinol and vitamin C; salicylic acid and retinol.

To conclude, ingredient layering with serums is a crucial part of a skincare routine to get healthy and radiant skin. Using the products in the correct order and having knowhow of ingredients that should not be mixed is imperative for best results.


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