Anyone who wants bright and even skin should start incorporating azelaic acid and niacinamide in their skincare routine, so let’s talk about how these ingredients work and some of the top products for all skin types.
Never heard of azelaic acid or niacinamide before? Don’t worry, I was in your shoes once so I know how overwhelming it can be.
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This guide to all things azelaic acid and niacinamide will tell you everything you need to know about these skincare remedies so you can decide whether to try them out for yourself.
I’ll also be sharing my fav products that contain azelaic acid and niacinamide so you know exactly where to start—let’s jump in!
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Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide: How-To Guide
What is Azelaic Acid?
If you’re trying to level up your skincare regimen you’ve probably heard of ingredients like glycolic and hyaluronic acid, but what about azelaic acid?
Unlike hydroxy acids (like salicylic and lactic acid) which are commonly used in skincare products, azelaic acid belongs to the family of dicarboxylic acids.
Azelaic acid is an anti-inflammatory acid that’s produced by yeast and naturally occurs in grains like wheat and rye.
Anyone with acne-prone or sensitive skin can benefit from using azelaic acid since it’s very gentle on the skin.
Azelaic acid reduces inflammation and redness by neutralizing harmful free radicals (aka toxins) that can damage the skin.
This skincare essential also targets acne by killing bacteria on the skin that can cause breakouts.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that can be found in foods like fish, milk, and eggs.
This nutrient is essential for fats and sugars in the body to function properly and keep cells healthy.
Incorporating niacinamide into your skincare routine can help combat skin conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema.
Niacinamide helps build a protective moisture barrier on the skin that maintains hydration and regulates natural oil production to ensure your sebaceous glands don’t kick into overdrive.
If you’re concerned about signs of aging, niacinamide also minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, keeping your skin plump and youthful.
Can You Use Azelaic Acid and Niacinamide Together?
The great news is if you don’t know whether to use azelaic acid or niacinamide, you can incorporate both into your skincare regimen.
Azelaic acid and niacinamide form a powerful skincare duo that strengthens and nourishes skin to reduce hyperpigmentation and maintain hydration.
The only thing to note is you don’t want to combine azelaic acid and niacinamide if you’re using a prescription-strength version of either since this can lead to skin irritation.
Ready to give azelaic acid and niacinamide a try? Here are my top product picks!
Top Azelaic Acid Products
The first azelaic acid product I recommend is Paula’s Choice 10 Azelaic Acid Booster.
This cream gel is packed with azelaic and salicylic acids that brighten and soothe skin.
The oil-free formula of this Azelaic Acid Booster feels super light and refreshing on the skin, and you can apply this cream on its own or with a moisturizer or serum for extra potency.
Make sure to use sunscreen if you apply this Azelaic Acid Booster in the morning.
Next, we have The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, another powerful skincare product that contains 10% azelaic acid.
The cream formula of this Azelaic Acid serum is ideal for all skin types, but especially those prone to uneven tone and texture.
You’ll want to use this 10% suspension serum after cleansing your face but before applying moisturizer.
One of the best ways to incorporate azelaic acid into your skincare routine is with Drunk Elephant’s Bouncy Brightfacial leave-on mask.
Formulated with 10% azelaic acid and 1% salicylic acids, this creamy face mask corrects and brightens dark spots to reveal gorgeous glowing skin.
Apply the Brightfacial mask at night on its own or with your preferred serum or moisturizer and prepare to be amazed.
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If you want an azelaic acid treatment that will target dark spots with maximum effectiveness, Farmacy’s Brighten Up 3% TXA Toner is the product to beat.
This brightening toner combines azelaic acid with 3% tranexamic acid to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
The Farmacy TXA Toner also contains natural antioxidants from ingredients like tangerine peel and bitter orange that will hydrate TF out of your skin.
The last azelaic acid product I recommend trying is the SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment.
This treatment is an oil-free moisturizer with a light gel texture that feels super refreshing on the skin.
Packed with 3% azelaic acid and a 5.75% Phyto botanical blend made with cucumber and olive leaf extracts, this brightening treatment works wonders on oily skin types.
After a few weeks of consistently using this Phyto Treatment, you’ll begin to notice your skin looking and feeling brighter and smoother.
Top Niacinamide Products
Moving on to niacinamide, the first product I recommend is COSRX’s The Niacinamide 15 Serum.
This serum is effective at treating acne thanks to its formula of 15% niacinamide and 1% zinc.
One of my fav things about this Niacinamide 15 Serum is the fact it feels lightweight and doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the skin.
COSRX recommends gently massaging this serum into your face and skin after using a cleanser, and it can be used morning or night.
When it comes to niacinamide skincare, the Glossier brand Super Pure serum is a top pick.
This facial serum contains 5% niacinamide combined with zinc which works to reduce the size of pores and smooth rough skin.
You can use Glossier Super Pure every day since it’s effective yet gentle, and you can expect results after one month of use.
Glossier is one of the top skincare brands on the market right now, and the Super Pure serum is an incredible product, IMO.
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The Ordinary brand Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is a fantastic product to treat acne scars and control oil production.
I love how budget-friendly The Ordinary’s skincare products are and the niacinamide serum gives you an incredible bang for your buck.
This Niacinamide 10% serum visibly brightens and rejuvenates dull, dry skin after several weeks of use.
The lightweight formula of this facial serum is perfect for locking in moisture without clogging pores, and that $11 price tag is hard to beat.
Another top niacinamide skincare product I recommend is the Niacinamide Serum from Naturium.
This powerful facial serum is packed with 12% niacinamide and 2% zinc to reduce the appearance of blemishes, dark spots, and wrinkles.
As a bonus, this serum also contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, two powerhouse skincare remedies that noticeably improve the health of your skin.
Even if you have sensitive skin, this Naturium Niacinamide Serum is a great choice to diminish the look of pores and leave skin looking fresh and smooth.
My last pick for the best niacinamide products is the La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Niacinamide Face Serum.
This face serum clarifies dark spots and gently removes dead skin cells to create a more even skin complexion.
After about two months of use, you’ll begin to see any dark spots on your face lightening and becoming smaller.
The La Roche-Posay Niacinamide Face Serum also contains hyaluronic acid that keeps skin hydrated and healthy.
Azelaic acid and niacinamide are two incredible ingredients that can work magic when used in your daily skincare routine.
If you decide to try any of these products make sure to tag me on Insta (@wtfab) so I can see what’s in your regimen.
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Need some skincare inspo? Find all my skincare content here.
Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring, anti-inflammatory acid that can help treat acne and hyperpigmentation.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that nourishes and hydrates the skin from within.
Yes, as long as you are using over-the-counter products you can combine azelaic acid and niacinamide. Check with your dermatologist or doctor before combining azelaic acid and niacinamide if you’re using prescription strength.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.