Vitamin C is a common ingredient in many skin care products for its ability to protect skin from environmental stressors. The antioxidant is effective, but can be harsh on more sensitive skin. A gentler alternative to vitamin C is niacinamide, according to an article from Well + Good.
Related: Essential Vitamins for Skin Care
Harsher climates, drier conditions and more sensitive skin can all be factors that lead to irritation from vitamin C.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that is gentle on skin and improves skin barrier function, according to Ivy Lee, M.D., a dermatologist in Pasadena, CA.
Vitamin C and niacinamide are both antioxidants, meaning they can decrease oxidative stress and damage from environmental factors and increase collagen production, reducing fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
According to Lee, vitamin C is a mild acid, which gives it exfoliating benefits not found in niacinamide but can also lead to irritation.
Niacinamide is considered a better hydrating ingredient, while vitamin C is considered a better brightening ingredient.
Like vitamin C, niacinamide is readily available and popular in many skin care products