One of The Ordinary’s best-selling products is The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, which contains 7% glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs are great for brightening and exfoliating the skin to improve overall skin tone.
Niacinamide is a multi-benefit anti-aging active that also brightens your skin. So can you use The Ordinary glycolic acid toner with niacinamide? Let’s look at the formulas to find out.
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Can You Use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner With Niacinamide?
If you are a fan of The Ordinary, then you probably know that they offer a wide range of skincare products, many of which highlight a single active ingredient. While The Ordinary products are some of the least expensive on the market, sometimes you need to have a bit of skincare knowledge about how to mix and match their products before introducing a new product into your skincare routine.
If you are wondering if you can use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and niacinamide together, you need to look at the chemical makeup of these two actives. It all comes down to product pH and if the pH of The Ordinary’s glycolic toner is in the same range as niacinamide.
PH describes the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. This study showed that normal skin has a pH under 5.0, averaging 4.7.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution has a pH level of 3.50 – 3.70. This lower pH allows it to exfoliate your skin effectively but can contribute to the product irritating some skin types.
Niacinamide products generally have a pH range of 5.0 to 7.0, making them more alkaline than The Ordinary’s glycolic acid toner. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% has a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
The variance of pH between glycolic acid and niacinamide products can make the products less effective when used together. If you apply niacinamide directly after glycolic acid, it may potentially raise your skin’s pH. Unfortunately, it has been shown that AHAs (i.e., glycolic acid) don’t absorb as well at higher pHs.
For maximum effectiveness, you should not use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and niacinamide at the same time.
How to Use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner and Niacinamide Together
So how should you use The Ordinary glycolic acid and niacinamide in your skincare routine? You can apply The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution first, wait about 30 minutes for your skin’s pH to normalize, and then apply your niacinamide product.
If you don’t have the time to wait 30 minutes between your treatments, you can use niacinamide in the morning and The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution in the evening or use the products on different days of the week.
The Benefits of Glycolic Acid
There are many reasons to incorporate a glycolic acid product into your skincare regimen. Glycolic acid has been shown to improve collagen production in the skin. Collagen gives your skin its strength and structure. While collagen production slows as you age, it can be stimulated with topical glycolic acid.
Glycolic acid also helps fade hyperpigmentation, dark spots, age spots, and sunspots by increasing skin cell turnover rate. The result is that your skin makes new cells more quickly, and the older, darker skin cells are sloughed off. It also helps with acne scars caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Glycolic acid has the smallest molecule size of all AHAs, which allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin for better results. Unfortunately, this can irritate those that have sensitive skin.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution contains 7% glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). The toner helps refine the skin’s texture and even out skin tone while brightening the skin. It works by dissolving the “glue” between dead skin cells on the surface of your skin to reveal newer, fresher layers underneath.
The toner also contains Tasmanian pepperberry, which helps soothe the irritation that often comes with AHAs like glycolic acid.
This glycolic acid toner is loaded with moisturizing amino acids like aspartic acid, alanine, glycine, serine, valine, isoleucine, proline, threonine, histidine, and arginine. They are the building blocks of important proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep our skin looking firm and youthful.
This acid toner also contains Natural Moisturizing Factors (naturally occurring humectants) like PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid), sodium PCA, and urea, which help the skin retain moisture. Panax ginseng root extract is an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage and other environmental stressors.
NOTE: When using this AHA toner and other potent actives like retinoids, it is important that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher because AHAs like glycolic acid can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays.
Please see my The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution review for more details on my experience with this product.
Related Post: Pixi Glow Tonic vs The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner
Glycolic Acid Alternatives
If you can’t tolerate glycolic acid products, consider other alpha hydroxy acids like lactic acid or mandelic acid. These AHAs have a larger molecule size. While they may not penetrate as well as glycolic acid, they are more gentle on the skin than glycolic acid and may appeal to sensitive and dry skin types.
If you have acne-prone or oily skin, another option is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) like salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, so it can penetrate into clogged pores and remove sebum (oil). It has benefits for people with blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. It can also reduce the recurrence of acne by preventing new breakouts before they happen.
Azelaic acid is another option for gentle exfoliation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful for acne and rosacea. It’s antibacterial and can help with acne scars as a result of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
The Benefits of Niacinamide
Whether you choose a niacinamide product from The Ordinary or another brand, niacinamide offers a slew of benefits for the skin. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B-3, is considered a multi-benefit ingredient because it has many different anti-aging and skin-replenishing properties.
Here are some of the benefits that niacinamide can offer your skin:
- Increases collagen production and proteins that improve skin elasticity and bounciness. Collagen keeps our skin firm and helps to make our skin more resilient and less likely to develop fine lines and wrinkles as we age.
- Inhibits the production of melanin. Naturally occurring melanin may leave dark spots and discoloration as you age. (Hyperpigmentation can be a problem for those who have darker skin tones or aging skin.)
- Is a potent anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce redness, which makes it helpful in the treatment of skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
- Works to fight acne by balancing oil production and helping to reduce the appearance of pores.
- Is an antioxidant that can reduce oxidative stress that occurs when skin is exposed to ultraviolet light.
- Increases ceramide production for improved hydration and moisture. It can also improve your skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factors and skin barrier function.
- Improves fine lines, wrinkles, and elasticity, making it a potent anti-aging active.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is a niacinamide serum that helps reduce the look of skin breakouts, blemishes, and congestion, making it an excellent choice for those with oily and acne-prone skin. Zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) aids in the regulation of sebum (oil) activity.
Fans love this serum because it is so versatile. It can be used as an anti-aging product because of its ability to reduce the look of wrinkles and fine lines and improve skin texture and tone. It can also be used as a moisturizer to help hydrate the skin or treat blemishes and acne.
Related Post: What to Use After The Ordinary Peeling Solution
Final Thoughts on Using The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner With Niacinamide
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and niacinamide are great actives for any anti-aging and brightening skincare routine.
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is a low-pH exfoliating toner that is ideal for most skin types, especially for those with oily, acne-prone skin types, because it can help reduce the appearance of breakouts and acne.
Niacinamide is a great ingredient to use if you want anti-aging benefits in addition to brightening and oil control but do not want to use an acidic product that can irritate your skin.
Just be sure to wait 30 minutes between the two to allow the lower pH of the glycolic acid product time to neutralize before applying a niacinamide product. Otherwise, use them on different days of the week or alternate mornings and evenings.
For a The Ordinary skincare routine based on your skin type, be sure to check out this post on How to Build a skincare routine with The Ordinary.
Thanks for reading!