Niacinamide and Vitamin C: An ingredient combination for brighter skin

Niacinamide and Vitamin C: An ingredient combination for brighter skin


Like most people, my forever skincare goal has been brighter, even-toned skin. And lately, I like my skincare to be quick and effective (Chop chop!). To put it simply, I want a skin brightening serum with star ingredients to Hyperloop my way to the glowing skin of my dreams.  

So, what did I need? 

Vitamin C and Niacinamide at the very least (I am sure you know why!). But to my despair, the internet told me my favourites didn't get along! We know better than to take the word of the internet at face value, right? So I did a bit of digging, and as it turns out, Vitamin C and Niacinamide make a powerful combo that not only can be but should be used together. 

What is all the hoopla about then? 

Well, there is a fear that combining Vitamin C and Niacinamide creates a two-fold problem. One, they form a yellow complex that cancels out the benefits of both the ingredients (rude!), and two, Niacinamide converts to Niacin, which can cause temporary flushing (redness and tingling).  

But the misconception stems from studies conducted in the 1960s (yes, that old!) under conditions that do not translate to a real-world scenario. What I mean is concentrated acids and a lot of heat over a long period (weeks!) are needed to convert Niacinamide to a pesky little amount of Niacin.  

In case you are still on the fence… 

Vitamin C and Niacinamide work like peanut butter and jelly – bringing the best out of each other and making a delectable pairing on the palette (in this case your skin). When it comes to hyperpigmentation, both the ingredients work hand in hand to make the best serum for skin brightening. Vitamin C inhibits enzymes that produce melanin (real party-crasher). On the other hand, Niacinamide blocks the transfer of melanin to the upper layers of the skin where the pigmentation actually manifests. So the dual delivery of action viz (i) stopping the occurrence of the pigment (melanin), and (ii) mitigating the transference of this pigment to the upper layers of your skin is how this ingredient combo works in a dual mechanism to give you brighter, blemish free skin.

How Hustle helps here…

For Hustle’s formulation we were very specific that we wanted this powerful duo to work its magic on the skin. We ensured to add 3 different derivatives of Vitamin C to the formulation and 5% of Niacinamide. We also added Arbutin to the mix which is a well known brightening agent with ample clinical data on its efficacy. This trio REALLY works well in evening out your skin tone, to give you a brighter more radiant complexion.

Here’s what one of our regular Hustlers has to say:

This serum (Hustle) has uniquely worked in reducing PIE (Post Inflammatory Erythema) dramatically, something that I haven't experienced with any other product used so far.” - Shilpa

PIE is the pinkish pigmentation left behind on your acne spots, the hardest to get rid of, and the longest to get rid off of.

Well, now you know the smoothest way to brighter skin! While there’s no ONE best serum for skin brightening, Hustle comes close. 😉 Or find formulations that combine these evidence backed brightening ingredients instead of applying multiple single ingredient formulations. Try and let us know how it fared for you! 🙂


Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I layer different products with Niacinamide and Vitamin C?

Yes you can, but check the individual active strengths of both these products. While theoretically there is no issue, sometimes different products may or may not work well together. And in such cases it is best to patch test on your jawline before layering them together. Our advice would always be to look for shelf-ready products that combine these 2 ingredients together. 

Do I use Niacinamide before or after Vitamin C?

Doesn’t matter! Layer your Niacinamide serum before or after using Vitamin C, the efficacy of either product will not be compromised. 

Can you use Vitamin C with Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid?

Yes, you absolutely can! All 3 ingredients work well together, and the order of their application does not matter. When in doubt, always layer the least in consistency/ viscosity first and then add the rest. 

What can you not mix with Niacinamide?

Honestly, Niacinamide is such a stable, sturdy and skin-friendly ingredient that we can’t really think of an ingredient that it doesn’t work well with. However, you should be wary of layering too many products that contain Niacinamide because more than 10% Niacinamide on the skin may not be tolerated well by all skin types.

What should you not mix with Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a potent ingredient that works best at a pH of 3.5. Given the acidic nature of Vitamin C, you should avoid mixing it with chemical exfoliants (the likes of glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid) as the combination can become too acidic for the skin and cause irritation and dryness. 

Another ingredient that should not be layered with Vitamin C is Retinol. While Vitamin C is generally formulated at a pH of 3.5 or below, Retinol is generally formulated at a pH level of 5.5-6. Mixing the two ingredients can be a recipe for redness, irritation and can compromise the effectiveness of both the ingredients. 

However, the above is not applicable in the case of Hustle for the simple reason that Hustle has been formulated at a pH of 5.1 which is very close to the natural pH of the skin. We have used encapsulated technology to deliver Vitamin C to the skin which works well even at a pH of 5.1. So, feel free to pair Hustle with chemical  exfoliants and Retinol as you like!

Can we use Niacinamide and Vitamin C in alternate skincare routines?

Oh yes, you absolutely can! But the whole point of this article is to share the advanced benefits on your skin when they are combined together. While both these ingredients will work perfectly fine in isolation, you do stand to get enhanced skin brightening benefits when you combine their usage in a single routine. 🙂

Got any more questions? Pop them below!

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