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Can I use AHAs with Azelaic Acid, Clindamycin, Zinc, and Niacinamide?


We have never known more about skin care and its active ingredients. When used in the right layer, it can have incredible benefits for the skin and its overall health and appearance. I admit, sometimes you can feel like some kind of scientist with the endless list of active ingredients, but that’s just something you get used to after a while.




Which brings us to the benefits of layering these ingredients, which are mentioned in today’s blog post. So the question is can AHAs be used with Azelaic Acid, Clindamycin, Zinc, and Niacinamide? We will briefly discuss the benefits of these active ingredients before diving into the effects of these ingredients on the skin.


What are fruit acids?


AHAs, also known as alpha hydroxy acids, are the name of a group of chemical peels.

They are obtained from a variety of natural sources, such as fruits, grains, and dairy products.

The most popular AHAs are glycolic, lactic, and malic acids, all of which are found in a variety of skin care formulas.

AHAs remove layers of dead skin cells, dirt, and debris that build up on the surface of the skin, which can lead to breakouts, flaky patches, and a dull, lackluster complexion.

Some AHAs work deep within the skin to help open up the pores and remove excess sebum, bacteria and dirt.

Each acid has different benefits, so it’s important to know your skin type to choose the most effective formula.

If you want to learn more about AHAs, read our dedicated blog post.

What is Azelaic Acid?


Found naturally on the skin, it’s derived from grains like barley, wheat and rye.

Often confused with AHAs, it has its own unique benefits and properties for the skin.

Contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can fight some skin problems like acne, rosacea and uneven skin tone.

Promotes skin cell turnover, helping the skin heal quickly and making it look smoother.

Has a larger molecular size, so it’s a weak acid and can be used by all skin types.

If used correctly, it can be combined with other active ingredients.

Read this blog post to learn more about Azelaic Acid.

What is Clindamycin Zinc?


This combination belongs to a group of active ingredients called “anti-acne” active ingredients.

Often used as a prescription medication because it’s effective at fighting problem skin at a higher rate.

Clindamycin is an antibiotic active ingredient that inhibits the growth of skin bacteria and increases acne breakouts.

Zinc helps protect skin cells from free radicals such as UV rays, pollution, and other skin-damaging toxins.

Known to cause peeling, itching, severe dryness, and increased redness.

There are some safety concerns, so you should consult your doctor.

What is Niacinamide?


Also known as vitamin B3 and niacinamide, it offers a variety of benefits to the skin.

It works for a variety of skin concerns, including minimizing pores, fine lines, dullness, and uneven skin tone.

Rich in antioxidants, Niacinamide is able to keep the lipid barrier strong and protect against free radicals and other oxidative stress.

As a humectant, it helps lock in moisture and hydration for healthy, plump skin with youthful elasticity.

Regulates the skin's sebum production to keep it balanced, healthy, and functional.

Learn more about Niacinamide at Beauty Insider.

Now that we have a brief look at what these ingredients do for the skin, let's move on to incorporating them into your daily skincare routine.


Can AHAs and Azelaic Acid be used together?

Yes, AHAs and azelaic acid can be used together as long as they are used correctly. By combining these active ingredients, you can combat a range of skin concerns including acne, aging, dull skin tone, and uneven skin tone. There are several ways to apply these acids in layers for optimal results without unwanted side effects.


Allow about 30 minutes between applications. This works best for those whose skin has already developed a tolerance to the active ingredients and will benefit from the combination in the same routine.


Use one active ingredient in your morning routine and the other in the evening. This leaves enough time for the skin's pH to balance again and for each ingredient to work effectively on the skin.

You can also alternate the acids in the evening. This is ideal for those who are introducing these ingredients into their routine for the first time, as it allows you to reap the benefits without causing irritation.

Whatever method you use, consider your skin type and how it reacts to the ingredients you use. If you have any concerns about using these ingredients, consult your doctor or dermatologist for peace of mind.


Can Niacinamide be used with Azelaic Acid and Zinc?


Yes, you can, but the application process takes some work. What I mean by this is make sure you apply these active ingredients in the best possible way, starting with the niacinamide and azelaic acid. These ingredients are a very potent combination and while they work well individually, they really benefit when used together. Niacinamide will minimize any dryness or irritation that azelaic acid may cause to your skin. After 30 minutes, you can apply zinc, ensuring that there is enough time for the pH to rebalance and stabilize.


If you are using a product or formula that you have never used before, I recommend doing a 24-hour patch test to see if your skin is happy with the application. Simply apply a 10p-sized amount of the product to the inside of your forearm. Leave it on for 24 hours and if there are no signs of irritation, you can apply it to your face.


How can I incorporate clindamycin into my skin care routine?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is commonly found in topical products or oral medications. Both are recommended for those with severe acne caused by bacteria and to relieve the inflammation associated with the problem.

Topical clindamycin products come in the form of lotion or gel-like consistency.


You can apply clindamycin to thoroughly cleansed skin in the morning or evening, as directed by your doctor. Ideally, you should apply it after applying a moisturizer to avoid irritation or increased risk of dryness.


The last step in everyone's skin care routine is to apply SPF sunscreen to protect the skin from further damage. This should be done even on cloudy and overcast days, as UVA rays persist and can cause sun damage, which can become a problem for the skin in the long run.

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