Niacinamide Vs Hyaluronic Acid

person preparing the bath with essential oil

If you’ve followed Science and Skincare for any amount of time, you’ll be aware of my posts on acids. Niacinamide vs Hyaluronic Acid will be the highly requested addition to the category that made this site popular.

Depending on your skincare knowledge, choosing between the two will either be easy or incredibly difficult. However, one thing is for sure, there are still so many people who don’t know the difference.

To make this post as easy as possible to understand, we will break down the function of each ingredient. Once you’ve gained a basic understanding of their functionality, we can compare then to see which is right for your skin concerns.

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3. It’s used in skincare for a vast array of skincare solutions. These include rosacea, acne and pigmentation issues. Oh and it helps improve the texture of skin.

It’s hard to believe that this ingredient can do so much. But it can and it has evidence to back it up.

The reason why it can do so much, is because it is an important part of the coenzymes involved in hydrogen transfer. This means it can help stabilise the epidermal barrier, preventing water loss and therefore texture of the skin.

It also leads to an increase in keratin production, stimulates ceramide synthesis, inhibits photo carcinogenesis and has anti-inflammatory effects.

So, it can do a lot and can help those suffering from a range of skin issues. That is certifiable.

But what about Hyaluronic acid?

I’m almost 100% sure you’ve heard of hyaluronic acid in your lifetime. It’s been used in cosmetics for years.

The reason for this? It promises hydrated skin. That is its literal purpose.

This is important because a lot of skin issues (think dull, tired looking skin. Or overly oily or dry) are cause by dehydration.

Hyaluronic acid also proves it’s important because everyone can use it. Regardless of your skin type or concerns, HA can do something useful for you.

However, I should warn you that some people’s skin feels irritated because of it. This is likely due to it sucking moisture from its environment. Meaning if your skin is really dry, it can make it drier.

To prevent this, use a hydrating mist or keep your skin wet when applying your HA products.

Niacinamide vs Hyaluronic Acid

So, which one should you use?

Well, you may have seen this coming but you can use both of them! There are no studies which directly compare the two. So, there isn’t any hard evidence to suggest you shouldn’t use them.

In fact, if you struggle with dull, dry skin that has hyperpigmentation, I’d suggest finding a serum with both of them. Like this one.

As long as your skin shows no signs of irritation, it is totally reasonable to use them both.


Gehring, W. (2004). Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. Journal of cosmetic dermatology3(2), 88-93.

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