Everyone wants to have skin that is smooth, young, and beautiful. But how do you accomplish and maintain that? Two skincare components that can help in maintaining smooth and even skin are niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Niacinamide supports a healthy skin barrier, encourages the formation of collagen, lessens the appearance of aging signs, and gives you a bright complexion. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid enhances skin suppleness, keeps your skin looking young, and helps it retain moisture.

Continue reading to learn how hyaluronic acid compares to niacinamide and which one is better for acne, dry skin, and oily skin.

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a water-soluble form of niacin (vitamin B3). It’s one of the eight B vitamins that are essential for good health. Niacinamide is not the same as niacin, despite their names being similar [1]. Both of these forms of vitamin B3 are different. 

Niacinamide helps in repairing DNA and inflammation treatment. Additionally, it boosts cellular energy, allowing your cells to carry out necessary chemical processes. Niacinamide has far more benefits than hyaluronic acid [2]. This water-soluble vitamin works wonders as an active component in your skincare regimen. The benefits of using niacinamide are it reduces enlarged pores, tightens skin, and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, it strengthens your skin’s surface, reduces dullness, and evens out skin tone.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid is the best hydrating sugar-like compound for your skin. This polysaccharide can be present in the skin, eyes, joints, and connective tissues of the body naturally [3]. It is a transparent, gooey material with excellent moisturizing effects. Your body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, which aids the skin’s ability to retain moisture and gives it a smoother, plumper appearance.

Your skin naturally produces less hyaluronic acid as you age. Then you must topically apply it to lessen aging symptoms like fine lines and wrinkles. What’s even good is that the topical gel, serum, or mask form of hyaluronic acid is easy to use as part of your skincare routine. All skin types, even those with sensitive skin, can use this product without risk.

Niacinamide vs. Hyaluronic Acid – What is the difference?

You have probably come across niacinamide and hyaluronic acid while researching and perfecting your skincare routine. Although both components are popular choices among fans in the beauty industry, they have different effects on the skin.

Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide naturally present in our bodies, including the skin, eyes, joints, and connective tissues. However, as a skincare component, hyaluronic acid is most popular for improving moisture retention and the appearance and feel of dry or dull skin.

Meanwhile, niacinamide is not a sugar that is naturally occurring in the body, like hyaluronic acid, but it gives many healthy skin benefits. Niacinamide is a vitamin, whereas hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide molecule mostly found in the body. Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin and is not made by the human body.

Which is better in Niacinamide vs. Hyaluronic Acid for Dry Skin?

Hyaluronic acid aids in keeping the skin moisturized, while niacinamide can increase fatty acids and can reduce water loss in dry skin. The hydrating effects of these two ingredients complement each other, resulting in deeply hydrated skin.

The stratum corneum, also known as your skin’s outer layer, has a brick-like structure, with lipids holding the skin cells, or “the bricks,” together. Your skin benefits from the lipids’ ability to hold onto water and shield it from pathogens and irritants that enter the body. These lipids are essential for the general hydration of your skin. This hydration system’s activity may be affected by hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. 

So which is better? Hyaluronic acid is a natural moisturizing factor that can be dependent on the quality of your skin cells and your lipid mixture. But niacinamide can restore the lipid barrier by increasing ceramide production [4]. A strong barrier helps in defending the skin from harm and other irritants. And if you want to achieve optimum hydration for your skin, combining these two skincare ingredients can be the best you can do instead of choosing one.

Niacinamide vs. Hyaluronic Acid for Acne

Hyaluronic acid is an excellent ingredient for all skin types, but it doesn’t necessarily work to treat acne. Meanwhile, niacinamide is excellent for acne-prone skin thanks to a ton of its properties! It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties [5]. Additionally, it can help manage excessive oil production, which can lessen breakouts.

Bottomline: Hyaluronic Acid vs. Niacinamide for Skin

The vitamin B3 compound niacinamide can help to smooth out the texture of the skin and lessen the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties and may control oil production. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid is a sort of sugar molecule that binds to water and helps in keeping the skin moisturized. Additionally, it can help to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.

Hyaluronic acid can bind moisture to the skin, giving it a plumper, more hydrated appearance, while niacinamide can aid in reducing water loss from the skin. Niacinamide might be a better choice if you have oily or acne-prone skin because it can help regulate sebum production. 

Ultimately, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are both good for the skin, so it’s worth trying to see which one suits you the best.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Niacinamide. (2022, November 7). Susan G. Komen®. https://www.komen.org/breast-cancer/survivorship/complementary-therapies/niacinamide/
  • Matts, Paul & Oblong, John & Bissett, D.L.. (2002). A Review of the range of effects of niacinamide in human skin. Int Fed Soc Cosmet Chem Mag. 5. 285-289. 
  • Goa, Karen L., & Benfield, Paul. (1994, March 1). Hyaluronic Acid. Springer Link. https://doi.org/10.2165/00003495-199447030-00009
  • Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004 Apr;3(2):88-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2130.2004.00115.x. PMID: 17147561.
  • Bierman JC, Laughlin T, Tamura M, Hulette BC, Mack CE, Sherrill JD, Tan CYR, Morenc M, Bellanger S, Oblong JE. Niacinamide mitigates SASP-related inflammation induced by environmental stressors in human epidermal keratinocytes and skin. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2020 Oct;42(5):501-511. doi: 10.1111/ics.12651. Epub 2020 Aug 20. PMID: 32657437.

Charish is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RDN) who really enjoys helping her readers understand their dietary habits better. She has impressive experience and knowledge about the nutritional values of various foods and ingredients and enjoys informing her readers about popular diets, supplements, and herbs. Charish harnesses her nutritional expertise to inspire and empower people to make positive, healthy changes through what they eat (and drink!). LinkedIn