I Used Niacinamide And Azelaic Acid From The Ordinary Brand & This Happened

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I do ruminate before I mix or use two actives on my skin. I consider their skin benefits, their acidic nature and their compatibility (if they can be combined or mixed together). This is because not all skincare ingredients can be mixed or used together, as some can cause severe irritations, or increased skin sensitivity which can potentially lead to sunburn and compromised moisture barrier. Some ingredients can also lessen the potentials or integrity of other ingredients when mixed together.


Therefore when it comes to mixing two actives together, you should make an intensive research to know for sure if these actives are compatible together — this is to avoid causing more harm than good to your innocent skin.

Talking about ingredients that can’t be used together, niacinamide and azelaic acid isn’t one of them, as these two ingredients are very much compatible together, they compliment each other, infact research has it that the combination of both actives delivers more skin-benefits that one active does.

Therefore, after an intensive and rigorous research, I decided to use niacinamide and azelaic acid together on my skin to put them to the test. In the experimental test, I used The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum and Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, for two weeks, and have decided to share my experience with these duo-actives. But before we plunge into the experimental review, let’s know what these actives are, and what they do for the skin (Just incase you’re new to them).

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide, vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid. It’s a water soluble-vitamin and doesn’t dissolve in oil, that’s why you’ll only see niacinamide in oil-free (water-based) moisturizers and serums. This wonderful skincare ingredient helps regulates excessive oil production, reduces redness (blotchiness), shrinking large visible-pores and gets rid of nasty looking blemishes which in turn improves overall skin tone and texture.

Niacinamide readily penetrates deeply into the skin to deliver its potentials, it’s one of the most stable active-vitamin in skincare, with a pH around neutral. It’s non-acidic and non-irritating.

If you’re struggling with redness, enlarged-pores due to excessive sebum (oil), that leads to blemishes and comendones then niacinamide is your best bet.

This report study proved that a 5% niacinamide moisturizer improved the appearance of blotchy red skin and calmed down skin reddening. While this study proved it improved skin barrier function and hydrated the skin which is beneficial for those with rosacea.

This research study reported that 4% niacinamide gives a comparable result to 1% clindamycin, (a topical antibiotic) to treating moderate acne and it doesn’t have the risk of bacterial resistance. Plus niacinamide is much milder on the skin while treating acne unlike retiniods and benzoyl peroxide. So, if you’re seeking for a more milder treatment for acne then niacinamide is your best bet.

This study demonstrates that the long-term application of 2.5% niacinamide can correct the skin surface damage that results from aging.

While this study proves that niacinamide reduced the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, skin sallowness, and improvement in skin elasticity after 2 weeks of usage.

What Is Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid found in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye. It’s rich in anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it an effective treatment for acne and rosacea. Azelaic acid puts a stop to future outbreaks and clean bacteria from your pores that causes acne. It also mildly exfoliates the skin, curtails redness and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentations. Chemically, azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid (but don’t be afraid: this type of acid is your friend).

There have been multiple research studies that had proven azelaic acid to be just as effective as hydroquinone is fading hyperpigmentation and melasma. A double-blind randomized study has shown that a 20% concentration of azelaic acid was equivalent to 4% hydroquinone in the treatment of melasma, but without its side effects.

Another research study found azelaic acid to be superior to 2% hydroquinone. Further demonstrating that azelaic acid can be used in place of hydroquinone to tackle skin pigmentary issues.

Therefore, if you’re struggling with hyperpigmentations, acne, uneven-dull skin and texture irregularities, then you can count on azelaic acid

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1% Serum.

Niacinamide and azelaic acid

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The Ordinary is a very reputable brand that has won the heart of many skincare addicts. One special thing about this credible brand isn’t the fact that they produce quality skincare products to address people’s skin concern but the incredible pocket friendly price of their products. DECIEM is the parent company of The Ordinary (based in Canada) and the biggest seller so far in the industry with quality skincare products at ridiculously cheap prices. And their 10% Niacinamide serum isn’t an exception.

The Ordinary’s niacinamide serum combines 10% niacinamide with 1% zinc to potentiate the formula towards regulating oil production, and offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Zinc works with other vitamins and minerals to help treat skin lesions as it offers anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects to help treat inflammatory acne, calms inflammation, minimize early signs of aging such as wrinkles, fine lines and regulates oil. You can read full review here.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%.

Niacinamide and Azelaic acid

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The Ordinary azelaic acid formula combines azelaic acid and silicone. While azelaic acid does its job, silicone being an occlusive will help form a breathable barrier at the top layer of the skin to avoid moisture-loss therefore influencing skin adequate hydration, fill in lines and pores and protect the skin from chemical exposure and other environmental damages. You can read a comparison review between The Ordinary and Paula’s Choice azelaic acid.

My Experience With The Combination Of Niacinamide Serum And Azelaic Acid Cream.

Niacinamide and Azelaic acid

From my experience with this two actives, I can confidently say, that niacinamide and azelaic acid are two bioactive duo that gives all skin types a glass-like luminosity by visibly minimizing enlarged pores and smoothing rough, dull texture.

What Was The Effect On Your Skin?

After using niacinamide and azelaic acid for two weeks, my skin was rejuvenated and reformed for the better, I got the same effect as niacinamide + lactic acid serum while using these actives, however, the result I got from the combination of niacinamide serum + azelaic acid was more dramatic and intense.

During the first week of using these combo actives, my pores where extremely minimized, although you can’t possibly make your skin-pores invisible, that’s where your skin breathes and excretes from — but you can as well minimize the looks of enlarged-pores, which was exactly the result I got while using 10% niacinamide serum and 10% azelaic acid cream.

My skin pores was shrunk and looked almost unnoticeable (unless you take a closer look), excessive oil (which was my most persistent skin issue) was drastically reduced by 85%, my redness was gone for good, and you know what? The appearance of my melasma (at my upper lip) was incredibly reduced. The appearance now looks much lighter, and almost unnoticeable. Wow!!!.

After layering the combo actives on my face, I also layer extra on my melasma-affected area for more concentrated touch, and I’m so glad my stubborn melasma has finally found its match and bowed-out.

Existing acnes were gotten rid of. I had lesser acne breakouts (unlike before), all thanks to the duo-actives.

I wake up every morning with a smooth, plump and brighter skin, infact my skin glows like the early morning sun. Incredibly amazing. My skin looked more smoother and brighter, the luminosity was breath-taking, it blew my mind away, making me stare constantly at the mirror in admiration.

Did It Dry Your Skin?

Azelaic acid can be drying to the skin, and also can be itchy, especially if you’re new to the acid. But don’t be afraid, the drying and itching effect isn’t intense, it’s mild. When your skin builds tolerance to azelaic acid, you won’t feel the mild itchiness anymore.

On my first application, my skin felt dry and a little bit itchy, this lasted for 5 days of application, and stopped on the 6th day. I no longer feel itchy whenever I apply azelaic acid, and it all makes sense because research has it that your skin needs to build tolerance to azelaic acid first, before being accustomed to it.

During the mild itching days of azelaic acid, I apply my moisturizer afterwards (after applying niacinamide serum and azelaic acid cream) to ease the itching. Sometimes I buffer my skin by applying hyaluronic acid serum first,  before applying the actives. This will help create a thin, absorbable barrier to limit azelaic acid from hitting directly to your skin, this will help minimize the itching or sting at first days or week of usage.

My advice is, apply a moisture-rich moisturizer afterwards after applying niacinamide and azelaic acid to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized this will keep your skin hydrated all night and looking plump and supple in the morning. You can try-out The Ordinary Moisturizer

In Conclusion.

If you’re struggling with stubborn hyperpigmentation (dark spots, melasma acne scars, age spots), large pores, excess oiliness, redness, bumpy and uneven skin tone, then the combination of niacinamide and azelaic acid is your best bet. I’m sure a trial will convince you.

How To Layer The Ordinary Niacinamide Serum And Azelaic Acid Suspension.

Niacinamide and Azelaic acid

According to skincare philosophy, it’s said to apply skincare topicals from the thinnest to the thickest. And use a moisture-rich moisturizer at the end of every skincare routine to seal in moisture into the skin. Below is how to rightfully apply niacinamide serum + azelaic acid to your face.

  • Apply 2-3 drops The Ordinary niacinamide serum, then wait for 1-2 minutes (for niacinamide to fully absorb), before moving ahead to apply the azelaic acid suspension, then follow up with an humectant and emollient rich moisturizer.

If you feel 10% azelaic acid isn’t giving you a desired result, you can move to a higher strength/percentage — a 15% or 20% but first, do well to consult your board-certified dermatologist on your approach to moving to a higher percentage.

Niacinamide and azelaic acid
A 20% azelaic acid gel

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: Did You Purge?

A: No, I didn’t. Maybe because I’m not new to acids, (I’m a longer-term acid user). But that doesn’t mean you won’t purge, as skin type differs so shall results differ too. Skin purging is a skin-detoxification or purification phase whereby the skin reacts by removing dead skin cells and other gunk and grime from the pores to the surface as a result of cell turnover.

During the purging phase, existing acne, looks more worse or inflamed, but will later subdue and heal after some weeks. Acne may also appear in your problematic area (where you normally have acne-breakouts).
Skin purging only occurs when skincare actives or a skin turnover-ingredient is administered to the skin. You can read more on skin purging.

Q: Can individuals with senstive skin use niacinamide and azelaic acid?

A: Yes. Both are suitable for people with senstive skin. Don’t let the word “acid” from azelaic acid intimidate you, as azelaic acid is mild on the skin, it’s a leave-on exfoliant that delivers the same exfoliating potentials as glycolic and lactic acid but with less irritations. However we urge you to do a patch test prior to commencing treatment as skin types differs so shall results and experience differ too.

Q: Can i use niacinamide moisturizer & azelaic acid cream too?

A: Yes you can. Whichever way you want to use niacinamide on your skin depends on your personal preference. Some people prefer creams to serums, while some prefers serums to creams. Nevertheless whichever one you prefer, will still give the same results so far it’s well formulated. Therefore a 10% niacinamide moisturizer and azelaic acid gel or cream will still offer the same potentials as their serums. However serums are known to be more potent as compared to creams.

Q: Can pregnant women or nursing mothers use niacinamide and azelaic acid?

A: Niacinamide serum on the other hand can also be used while pregnant or breastfeeding, as it has low absorption rate. Only a small amount of it is absorbed into the body when applied topically to the skin. Same also applies to azelaic acid too, as It is safe for use during pregnancy due to its low absorption rate. It has been assigned to pregnancy category B by the FDA. Read Pregnancy-safe skincare ingredients

Q: Can niacinamide and azelaic acid be used together everyday?

A: Niacinamide serum can be used everyday. Same applies to azelaic acid too, as both ingredients are mild and friendly to sensitive skin. You can as well use both actives twice a day—morning and night. However, if you have a very sensitive skin, you should ease your way into azelaic acid, start by doing a patch test first prior to commencing treatment, also start with lower concentration (5%) and use thrice weekly or every-other-day till your skin builds tolerance, before moving up to a higher strength (if necessary).

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience with The Ordinary Niacinamide + Azelaic Acid, you may have a whole different experience as skin type differs so as result differs too.

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