Should I use salicylic acid before or after niacinamide in my skincare steps?

Both salicylic acid and niacinamide are beneficial skincare ingredients, but they serve different purposes and can be used together in a skincare routine. The order in which you apply them can affect their efficacy, so here’s a recommended sequence:

Salicylic acid belongs to a class of drugs known as salicylates. When applied to the skin, salicylic acid may work by helping the skin to shed dead cells from the top layer and by decreasing redness and swelling (inflammation). This decreases the number of pimples that form and speeds healing.

  1. Cleansing: Start with a gentle organic cleanser to remove any dirt, oil, and impurities from your skin.

  2. Toner (if using): If you use a toner in your skincare routine, apply it after cleansing.

  3. Actives (e.g., Salicylic Acid): If you’re using a product containing salicylic acid for acne treatment or exfoliation, apply it next. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that can penetrate into the pores to exfoliate dead skin cells, reduce inflammation, and unclog pores. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

  4. Niacinamide: Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a versatile skincare ingredient known for its ability to improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of pores, and regulate sebum production. Apply niacinamide after salicylic acid has dried. Niacinamide is generally well-tolerated and can be used in conjunction with other active ingredients.

  5. Serums, Treatments, and Moisturizers: Follow up with any other serums, treatments, or moisturizers in your skincare routine. This could include products like hydrating serums, antioxidants, or moisturizers.

  6. Sunscreen (AM routine): If you’re doing your skincare routine in the morning, finish with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen is essential to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Guys don’t forget to patch test new products and ingredients before incorporating them into your routine, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to reactions. Additionally, it’s important to listen to your skin and adjust your routine as needed based on how your skin responds. If you have specific concerns or questions about your skincare routine, consider consulting with a dermatologist for personalized advice.