Vitamin C vs Niacinamide: The Covey Ultimate Guide

Derms have long lauded the benefits of both Vitamin C and niacinamide together and separately in your skincare routine. These antioxidant powerhouses help protect skin from oxidative stress and damage from our environment — think pollution and free radicals, which can contribute to hyperpigmentation, spots, and dull-looking skin. 

(Before we dive into the specifics, you can brush up on your knowledge about what Vitamin C is here!)

Now, let's get cracking with how to use niacinamide and Vitamin C together, their distinct benefits for different skin concerns, and 

Benefits of Niacinamide

Derived from niacin (aka Vitamin B3), niacinamide is a special antioxidant with proven anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, redness be gone! Here are a few other benefits that come with using niacinamide regularly in your routine: 

  • Ups collagen production for bouncy, plump skin, which reduces the appearance of fine lines 
  • Lighten dark spots and areas of hyperpigmentation 
  • Calms excess sebum productions
  • Loved by derms for those with acne-prone skin or rosacea 

Benefits of Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is an antioxidant ingredient in skincare that’s having a big moment. Even suncare products are canoodling with Vitamin C these days for the wealth of benefits that come with it. 

  • Promotes collagen production and brightens skin 
  • Aids in erasing dark spots over time and fades hyperpigmentation with consistent use 
  • Pairs well with other antioxidants like ferulic acid, Vitamin E, and (you guessed it) niacinamide 

Should You Use One Over the Other?

In the battle of niacinamide vs. Vitamin C, it turns out it's not winner take all. Both ingredients can fade hyperpigmentation and increase collagen production. Vitamin C (depending on the percentage) can be more harsh for sensitive skin types. Or, you might want to use niacinamide if you have acne-prone skin, and leverage Vitamin C for fading post-acne marks and dark spots. 

Can You Use Vitamin C and Niacinamide Together? 

Niacinamide is less difficult to formulate with compared to Vitamin C, which is notoriously unstable. You’ll probably see small percentages of niacinamide in serums, moisturizers, and face masks without even realizing. 

In short — yes, you can! When in doubt, layer your products starting with a Vitamin C serum before moving on to a serum or moisturizer that contains niacinamide. Generally, derms recommend applying products by texture from thinnest to thickest. 

Read More Covey Ingredient Spotlights 

Curious about specific ingredients in your daily skincare routine? We explain the benefits of certain ingredients from hyaluronic acid to bakuchiol in the Covey Ingredient Spotlight series. 

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