Niacinamide Vs Vitamin C serum - The ultimate showdown

The battle of the skincare stars - the two most sought after skincare ingredients used in the beauty industry.

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Niacinamide Vs Vitamin C serum - The ultimate showdown

As a skincare chemist my journey has been an exploration of various active ingredients, meticulously blending them to unveil their collective efficacy on the skin's canvas. Among these, two shining stars have emerged - Vitamin C and Niacinamide. But admist the allure of an extensive skincare routine, do we really need both? 

So lets break it down. Simplifying your routine can be a blessing for your skin. Let us explore the virtues of each ingredient and find out which one aligns with your skin's needs. 

Vitamin C : 

Lets start with Vitamin C, the beloved antioxidant hailed for its collagen-boosting prowess. More collagen means more plumper, youthul-looking skin - a coveted trait in the world of skincare. But Vitamin C is not merely a one-trick pony as it boasts an impressive array of benefits :

  • Fades dark spots and brightens the complexion by hindering melanin production enzymes.
  • Acts as a shield against 'bad' bacteria, thwarting acne and skin infections.
  • Improves skin texture, leaving behind a smooth and radiant canvas. 
  • Reduces inflammation and facial redness, promoting a calm-even toned visage. 
  • Works in tandem with sunscreen to prevent premature aging of the skin therefore neutralising harmful free radical damage.

Side effects of using Vitamin C serum - 

Vitamin C serum is wellknown for its skin perks. But, just kije any skincare product, it can sometimes cause problems. 

  • Skin Irriation - One of the commonest problem of using Vitamin C on the skin is that it irritates the skin and makes the skin, red, itchy, flaky and gives a burning sensation. 
  • Sun Sensitivity - Another thing to watch out for is sun-sensitivity. Vitamin C can make your skin more likely to be sunburned, so always use a sunscreen while applying Vitamin C during the day. 
  • Dry Flaky Skin - Dryness, peeling and flaking can happen, esepcially if the serum or the skincare product you are using has a high concentration of Vitamin C. It is always safe to start with the lowest concentration of the active ingredient and to build up from there. 
  • Oxidation of Vitamin C - Vitamin C is known to lose its power if it is not stored in the right container and if it is exposed to light and air too often. Hence it is always stored in dark coloured containers and best to use it up quickly after opening. ( Remeber - the oxidised form of Vitamin C is not fit for the skin and will lead to rashes, dryness and peeling)


Now lets turn our attention to Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3 a multitasking wonder. This antioxidant powerhouse shares Vitamin C-s collagen boosting benefits but offers a unique set of perks : 

  • Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, lending youthful vitality to the skin. 
  • Calms inflammation and facial redness, making it a saviour for sensitive skin. 
  • Fades dark spots by inhibiting pigment transfer from melanin to skin cells.
  • Strengthens the skin barrier by bolstering its defenses against environmental stressors. 
  • Tackles acne by reducing both inflammatory and non-inflammotory lesions.
  • Hydrates patched skin, infusing it with replenishing surge of moisture. 
Photo by <a href=" Editor&utm_medium=referral">Barbara Krysztofiak</a> on <a href=" Editor&utm_medium=referral">Unsplash</a>
Acne and skin flushing are the two common side effects of using high concentrations of Vitamin C serum. Hence while chhoosing a Vitamin C always start with the lowest concentration and ensure that it is stored in dark air tight container to avoid Vitamin C from getting oxidised. 


Side effects of using Niacinamide serum - 

  • Redness - This happens when niacinamide widens the blood vessels near the skin's surface. Its usually mild and will fade away quickly, but for sensitive skin it might cause itching and a burning sensation. 
  • Acne - In some cases niacinamide can also cause acne breakout, esepcially for people who are prone to acne breakouts. 
  • Skin Flushing - Similar to redness this happens when niacinamide is used in high amounts.
  • Excessive dryness - Using niacinamide with other drying products (like alcohol based skincare products) can lead to overly dry skin. If the skin feels excessively dry, replace using niacinamide serum with a niacinamide moisturizer. 

Vitamin C VS Niacinamide : 

While both Vitamin C and Niacinamide share common ground in their skin-loving benefits they each bring their own unique strengths to the table. For instance, Vitamin C reigns supreme in collagen production essential for maintaining skin elasticy and firmness of the skin. On the otyher hand niacinamide takes the crown in acne treatment, with studies showcasing its efficacy in redusing oiliness and inflammatory lesions. 

Now, what about combining the two? Contary to popular beliefs its perfectly fine to layer Vitamin C and Niacinamide in your skincare routine. Concerns about pH differences or conversion to niacin are often overstated, and both ingredients can work harmoniously to address a myriad of skincare concerns, particulary hyperpigmentation. 

The Bottom Line:

So, where does this leave us ? If you are torn between Vitamin C and Niacinamide, fear not- you dont have to choose. They can complement each other beautifully offering a comprehensive approach to skincare. However if simplicity is your mantra - my suggestion (with immense experience on formulation techniques) is go with Niacinamide. Vitamin C having great perks also comes with formulation constraints and has the tendency of getting oxidised upon exposure to air and light hence appropriate storage of Vitamin C is crucial. Niacinamide on the other hand has no such constraints, it is extremely stable and does not have the tendecy to degrade upon exposure to air and light, very few people using niacinamide have complained of side effects ( obviously as compared to Vitamin C users).

However at the end of the day it boils down to your prsonal preferences. Listen to your skin's needs and choose the ingredient - or combination that resonates with you. Whether its the radiant glow of Vitamin C or the soothing touch of Niacinamide, your skin will thank you for the care and attention.  



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