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Can You Use Niacinamide with Retinol?

Can You Use Niacinamide with Retinol?

Skincare products require the utmost care in terms of their usage. One such product is retinol.

Retinol is quite popular for speeding up the skin’s regeneration process. But you have to be extremely conscious when combining it with other skincare ingredients as it can have consequences.

So can you use niacinamide with retinol? Actually, niacinamide and retinol make a great combination! In fact, niacinamide can help the skin tolerate retinol better.

Here is what you should know more about niacinamide and retinol and mixing them in a skincare routine.

What Are The Benefits of Niacinamide?

Niacinamide, also called vitamin B3, has an important role in repairing skin damage caused by free radicals. Moreover, it boosts collagen production as well as inhibits the breakdown of collagen that occurs in the body. As a result, niacinamide helps improve skin elasticity and firmness. 

It also helps the skin absorb vitamins and other nutrients more efficiently. When used in combination with retinol, niacinamide helps reduce the level of irritation caused by retinol.
Although niacinamide is popular for its skin brightening and anti-aging properties, it has much more to offer. It helps the skin maintain its moisture. And in fact, niacinamide can be a great skincare ingredient for people with oily skin as it helps in balancing sebum production.

sebum production

The main effects of incorporating niacinamide into your skincare regimen include:

  • Stabilisation of skin’s moisture
  • Treatment of acne, rosacea, and inflammation
  • Promotion of a healthy, youthful, and even skin tone
  • Reduction of acne scars and dark spots
  • Minimisation of the appearance of pores

What Are The Benefits of Retinol?

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, stands as an immensely potent active ingredient for addressing various skin concerns. The mechanism of action of retinol is attributed to its role in facilitating the process of cellular renewal. This accelerated cell renewal is what helps in reducing signs of aging, improving overall skin texture, and treating acne and hyperpigmentation.

Benefits of Retinol

However, retinol causes irritation in some people, especially when used with certain other skincare ingredients. But niacinamide is an exception as it helps in counteracting the irritation and inflammation caused by retinol.

You should involve retinol in your skincare regimen because it:

  • Treats fine lines, acne scars, and wrinkles
  • Increases the rate of cell turnover
  • Stimulates the production of collagen
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation and sunspots
  • Promotes a more youthful and firm skin.

Can You Mix Niacinamide and Retinol?

Yes, it is safe to use niacinamide and retinol together in a skincare routine. Niacinamide helps in balancing the skin’s sensitivity to retinol. As a result, niacinamide helps in reducing irritation that may result from the usage of retinol. Being said that it is best to use niacinamide on the skin prior to applying retinol so that the skin is less sensitive to retinol.

In fact, the combination of niacinamide and retinol is found to be a powerful formula for treating acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, as well as wrinkles. This combination can be extremely effective in treating the aging of the skin and its signs.


For people with sensitive skin, it is always safe to use retinol products that contain niacinamide or use a separate niacinamide serum or cream before applying retinol. This prevents your skin from getting irritated or experiencing a stinging sensation when using retinol.

While the combination of both niacinamide and retinol is considered safe for use by most people, it may not be suitable for a few people. So, always do a patch test before you go full-fledged.

How Can You Incorporate Both into Your Skin Care Routine?

Both retinol and niacinamide have quite different properties. But they complement each other well. Hence, niacinamide and retinol can both be incorporated into the same skincare routine. And today, we have both these active ingredients available on the market in different forms, including toners, serums, moisturisers, and boosters.

So, you simply have to choose a formula that works best for you and add them to your routine.

You can use both niacinamide and retinol serums on top of one another and finish off the regimen with a good thick moisturiser. The other way you can incorporate both niacinamide and retinol in a routine is to choose one in the serum form and the other in the form of moisturiser.

For example, you can use a retinol serum and finish off with a niacinamide moisturiser or vice-versa. This will reduce the risk of piling up skin care products. However, many dermatologists recommend using niacinamide first if you are using a retinol product as this prep the skin to tolerate retinol better.

Last, but not least, it is best to use retinol in your PM or nighttime skincare routine. This is because UV light might break down the ingredients and decrease the efficacy of the product.

In addition, the risk of irritation is on the higher side, causing redness on the skin, if you apply retinol in the morning. It is also important to use sunscreen the following day after you add retinol into your skincare routine.

How to Use Niacinamide and Retinol Together?

Step One: It is best to start your PM skincare routine with double cleansing. Double cleansing ensures that sunscreen and makeup products used during the day are completely taken off.

double cleansing

Step Two: Pat your skin with a fresh and warm towel to remove excess moisture.

Step Three: Apply a serum that is enriched with niacinamide. Wait for a minute or two for the serum to settle down on your skin before moving to the next step.

Step Four: Then, apply a serum or cream enriched with retinol.

Step Five: Finish off your skincare routine with a good night cream to lock in the moisture your skin needs overnight.

When you are layering different skincare products, it is always better to start with lighter or thinner products first and then gradually move to thicker products.

How Often Can Retinol and Niacinamide Be Used Together?

When starting with skincare ingredients, especially retinol, it is always best to start with a lower concentration. This is because retinol can worsen skin sensitivity and cause irritation to your skin.

However, adding niacinamide to your skincare routine 1 to 3 weeks prior to adding retinol will help your skin tolerate retinol better and can reduce the risk of irritation.

Always go slow with retinol! You can slowly increase the use! The best way is to might apply a weekly application of a lower concentration product, i.e. 0.5% or less, or wait for one week between each application.

For instance, you can start with using a retinol cream at night once or twice a week and then gradually move on to more frequent application once the skin has stabilised and the irritation has gone down.

Using DRSQ 10 % Niacinamide Serum with Retinol 

You can include DRSQ 10% Niacinamide Serum into your skincare routine along with retinol. Although this serum is best for daytime, you can also use it with retinol at night to reduce the level of irritation caused by retinol and to balance your skin tone. 

DRSQ 10% Niacinamide Serum

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of DRSQ 10% Niacinamide Serum will neutralise the free radicals caused by retinol and will make it less irritating on your skin. This in turn will reduce any redness or flakiness caused by retinol. In addition, this serum can help treat blemishes, soften and smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and balance the oil production of your skin.

Final Words

DRSQ uses more activated form of vitamin A, which is Retinaldehyde instead of Retinol. You can find a range of retinaldehyde-containing serums, for multiple skin concerns with different concentrations.

The combination of retinol and niacinamide works great for many people as niacinamide calms the irritating properties of retinol. But again, it is important to understand that if you have sensitive skin, you should first test the products on your skin before you use them together, or consulting your dermatologist will be the best.

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