If you’re trying to get the most out of your anti-aging skincare routine, combining tretinoin and niacinamide might be a game-changer.
On one hand, tretinoin cream is a skincare superstar with proven abilities to fight fine lines and wrinkles and treat acne.
On the other, niacinamide is a powerful ingredient that can help even out your skin tone and fade acne scars.
Both ingredients are safe for oily skin but can sometimes cause skin irritation, particularly for those with sensitive skin.
So, is it safe and effective to use these two ingredients together?
In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about using tretinoin and niacinamide together.
What is Tretinoin?
Also known as retinoic acid or retin-A, tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative that works by speeding up the turnover of dead skin cells and stimulating collagen production.
In fact, many studies have confirmed tretinoin’s abilities to:
Speed up skin cell turnover
Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
Improve your skin texture
Minimize the appearance of enlarged pores
Reduce pigmentation abnormalities
Help with unclogging pores
Regulate sebum production
Additionally, tretinoin is often prescribed by dermatologists are a treatment for acne.
However, there are some downsides as well.
Potential Side Effects of Tretinoin
Many people experience side effects when starting tretinoin, such as:
Flakiness and peeling
Studies show that these side effects improve over time as your skin adjusts to retinoic acid.
However, some individuals may still experience lasting sensitivity.
Therefore, it’s important to either “buffer” tretinoin or layer it with hydrating and soothing ingredients.
What is Niacinamide?
A derivative of vitamin B3, niacinamide is a popular skincare ingredient.
Studies show that niacinamide has benefits like:
Minimizing the appearance of large pores
Improving uneven skin texture
Fighting fine lines and wrinkles
Evening out skin tone
Increasing ceramide production
Supporting your skin barrier
Niacinamide is generally well-tolerated and is unlikely to cause sensitivity or irritation.
It is safe to use tretinoin and niacinamide together?
Yes, it is safe to use tretinoin and niacinamide together.
In fact, research shows that the combination of niacinamide and tretinoin is:
“Synergistic” means that combining niacinamide and tretinoin together may enhance their efficacy and improve your results!
One study found that using niacinamide and tretinoin together led to improvements in skin tone and fine lines compared to just using tretinoin by itself.
Another study suggested that people with acne-prone skin benefitted from niacinamide which reduced the skin irritation typically associated with tretinoin!
All of this evidence supports the use of niacinamide and tretinoin together.
How to Use Tretinoin and Niacinamide Together
When you first introduce tretinoin, be sure to start slowly by applying it just 2-3 nights per week.
As your skin adjusts, you can slowly increase the frequency to about 5-6 nights per week.
You will want to avoid combining tretinoin with other potentially irritating ingredients, including:
Be sure to monitor your skin for signs of irritation like dryness or peeling.
As your skin adjusts, you can start adding in a niacinamide serum after applying tretinoin a few nights per week.
Slowly increase the frequency until you’re able to use them together 5-6 nights per week.
In general, you should apply moisturizer after niacinamide and tretinoin to reduce any side effects.
Should you apply niacinamide before or after tretinoin?
To maximize anti-aging benefits, I suggest you apply your niacinamide serum after tretinoin.
Research suggests that this order allows tretinoin to penetrate your skin most effectively and therefore produces the best anti-aging results.
However, if you have particularly sensitive skin, applying your niacinamide serum first may provide a “buffering” effect and reduce skin redness caused by tretinoin.
You can try both methods to determine which one works best for you. Then, stick to it and be consistent.
Skincare Routines with Tretinoin and Niacinamide
To get the most out of your skincare routine with tretinoin, follow this order:
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser
Apply 3-5 drops of a vitamin C serum
Apply a lightweight moisturizer
Finish off with SPF
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser
Apply a pea-sized amount of tretinoin
Wait 2 minutes for your tretinoin to absorb fully
Apply 3-5 drops of your niacinamide serum
Finish off with a moisturizer and facial oil as necessary
Summary: Niacinamide with Retin-A
Both niacinamide and tretinoin are powerful skincare ingredients that can help fight signs of aging and improve your skin tone.
At the same time, they can cause side effects like skin irritation or dryness. To avoid these side effects, first apply your tretinoin, then follow up with your niacinamide serum and a good moisturizer.
Of course, you must be consistent (yet gentle!) as you introduce these two powerful ingredients into your routine.
Be sure to keep reasonable expectations as both tretinoin and niacinamide can take weeks or months to showcase great results.
With careful and patient use, niacinamide and tretinoin can truly be a winning combination for beautiful, glowing skin.