Niacinamide VS Hyaluronic Acid: Benefits + Which One Should You Use?

Niacinamide VS Hyaluronic Acid: Benefits + Which One Should You Use?

Dealing with active ingredients always poses a dilemma and can baffle one. As a commonly asked question to dermatologists, we are here to clear your doubts about Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid, which one is better and more beneficial to use? 

These two are prevalent active ingredients, commonly confused for imparting hydration to the skin. Niacinamide has diverse and different properties than Hyaluronic acid.  To help you decide, we conversed and gathered all the relevant information from our expert in-house dermatologist. 

In This Article

    What is Niacinamide? 

    Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3, which is a powerful antioxidant ingredient, which protects your skin from harmful and stressful factors like the sun and foreign stressors. Niacinamide smoothens skin, brightens spots, provides even skin tone, firms wrinkles, and helps prevent loss of water in dry skin and the list goes on. 

    This active ingredient is a multi-acting skincare building block, as compared to hyaluronic acid whose potency is incredible but its properties are not very varied. 

    This water-soluble vitamin B active ingredient caters multiple benefits including 

    • Increasing the production of collagen
    • Minimizing wrinkles and fine lines
    • Fights Acne
    • Reduction of inflammation 
    • Decreases oil & greasiness
    • Skin brightening and reducing hyperpigmentation and dark spots
    • Strengthening skin barrier while hydrating it 

    What is Hyaluronic Acid?

    Hyaluronic Acid is a magic ingredient!

    Hyaluronic Acid is naturally found in the skin, eyes, and joints. This acid is responsible for promoting plumpness and keeping the skin moisturized. However, with age,  hyaluronic content starts to deplete. Topical use of hyaluronic acid is demanded by the skin, as we start to age

    Hyaluronic Acid is known as a  humectant, which draws water molecules from the deeper layers of your skin and provides it to the epidermis of your skin. Hyaluronic Acid is an ultra-hydrating active ingredient, which is a holy grail, for dry and dehydrated skin types. Hyaluronic Acid is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin types. 

    Although Niacinamide produces a fatty substance, proved to boost the hydrating ability of the skin, Hyaluronic Acid is hands down a better promoter of hydration for the skin. This helps the skin attain good skin health, visibly plumper and better-looking complexion. 

    To mention a few more, below are the benefits of Hyaluronic Acid 

    • Improves Skin Barrier 
    • Retains Moisture and Hydrates the skin 
    • Reduces wrinkles and fine lines (mostly transient effects, but they could grow stronger over time)
    • Reduces  inflammation 
    • Soothe and calms skin
    • Boosts skin elasticity
    • Reduces swelling and bacterial development to aid in the healing of wounds.

    Which one is better?

    It is difficult to comprehend and choose between the two which fall in the best category. Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid, both are unique in their properties. Although both of them have similarities and differences of their own, it is advisable to have them incorporated both regardless of your skin type and skin concern. 

    Niacinamide, and Hyaluronic Acid, both have anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, hydrating, and strong abilities to keep the skin barrier intact. The major difference however between Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid is that the former is a substance that comes from external sources like meat and fish and the latter is found in the body naturally. 

    Benefits and Properties of Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid 

    1. Hydration 

    Both Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid can help promote hydration. Although there is a significant difference between both. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that retains moisture similar to your NMF (Natural Moisturising Factor,) which improves the hydration properties of your skin. Although Niacinamide promotes the improvement of fatty acids and ceramides.

    While choosing products infused with these acids,  Hyaluronic acid serums are one of the best picks for your skin. SkinQ’s Hydrate Elixir Serum is a dermatologist-formulated, moisture magnet for the skin. This also has Sodium Hyaluronate, which is a smaller molecule, in comparison to hyaluronic acid. This ensures ultimate hydration to the skin. 

    2. Improved Texture and Tone 

    The appearance and feel of the skin improve when we incorporate these ingredients into our skincare regimen. Niacinamide is popular for improving skin tone, while Hyaluronic Acid plumps skin and improves skin texture.

    3. Skin Brightening 

    Skin Brightening fundamentally falls under the properties of Niacinamide. Niacinamide Serums are one of the best finds when looking for it in a product. Apart from the serums, Niacinamide in moisturizers is also a wise pick.

    4. Anti-Aging 

    The Anti-Aging ability of Hyaluronic Acid is proven in various types of research. It is because of the reducing hyaluronic acid in your skin, that there are issues of wrinkles and fine lines. Thus using hyaluronic treats them to a considerable amount. Niacinamide on the other hand improves collagen production which naturally improves the appearance of the skin, making it look much more youthful. 

    Concluding Points 

    Both the ingredients are highly effective and potent. Hyaluronic acid serums provide hydration, while Niacinamide serum cures acne, and pores, lightens scars and pigmentation and boosts collagen production. Each ingredient has exclusive properties. Using it individually or together, it will work to tackle your skin issues from within. 

    To add, while looking for these ingredients in any skincare line, it is crucial to ascertain that it is dermatologist formulated/tested/approved for best results. 


    Is there a recommended order for applying Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide in a skincare routine?

    When using Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide in your skincare routine, follow this application order for best results: 

    1. Hyaluronic Acid: Apply this first as it draws and retains moisture in your skin, creating a hydrated base. 
    2. Niacinamide: Apply this after the Hyaluronic Acid as it balances oil production, minimizes pores, and helps keep moisture locked in. 

    Even if you use products that combine both ingredients, knowing this order can be helpful for maximizing their benefits. Always do a patch test before using any new skincare products.

    Are there any specific concentrations of Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide that are considered most effective?

    For Hyaluronic Acid, concentrations between 0.1% to 2% are effective for hydration, with higher concentrations offering more intense hydration but potentially causing irritation. For Niacinamide, concentrations of 5% to 10% are effective for improving skin texture and addressing hyperpigmentation, while concentrations around 2% can still provide benefits, particularly for sensitive skin types. Individual responses vary, so starting with lower concentrations and gradually increasing is advisable.

    Are there any potential side effects of using Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide, and if so, what are they?

    Hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are usually harmless, but occasional mild side effects can occur. With hyaluronic acid, skin irritation or allergic reactions like redness, itching, or swelling are uncommon but possible. Niacinamide is typically safe, but high concentrations or mixing with other potent ingredients can cause temporary irritation, redness, or dryness. Before using new skin products, do a patch test and introduce them slowly to gauge your skin's response. If any reactions occur that are persistent or severe, discontinue use and consult a skin specialist.

    Is there any information on the ideal concentration of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid in skincare products?

    The amount of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid in skincare products is not one-size-fits-all. It depends on the specific product, what it's meant to do, and how sensitive your skin is. However, a good rule of thumb is: 

    • Niacinamide: 2% to 5% 
    • Hyaluronic acid: 0.1% to 2%

    These amounts are generally safe and effective for most people. They can help with dryness, wrinkles, and other skincare concerns. If you're not sure what's right for you, talk to a dermatologist or skincare professional. They can help you choose products that are best for your skin.

    Are there any potential side effects of using niacinamide and hyaluronic acid together?

    Using niacinamide and hyaluronic acid together is mostly safe and can benefit your skin by moisturizing it, making its texture smoother, and reducing inflammation. But different people may react differently, so it's a good idea to try a small amount on a small area of your skin first and gradually start using products with these ingredients. If you have any concerns or have unexpected side effects, it's best to talk to a dermatologist for personalized advice.

    What is the ideal concentration of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid for different skin concerns?

    Niacinamide is typically used in concentrations between 2% and 5%, where 2% is good for general skin improvement and 5% is better for specific issues like dark spots or acne. Hyaluronic acid concentrations range from 0.1% to 2%, providing hydration at lower levels and addressing wrinkles at higher levels. It's important to consider your skin's sensitivity and talk to a skincare expert to find the best concentration for your specific needs.

    How long does it typically take to see results from using niacinamide and hyaluronic acid?

    The results of using niacinamide and hyaluronic acid can vary based on skin type, the products, and how often they're applied. Generally, people see improvements in skin texture and moisture within a few weeks. Over time (weeks to months), skin tone may brighten, appearance may improve, and fine lines or wrinkles may become less visible. To get the best results, it's important to use these ingredients regularly and be patient.

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