Niacinamide can be used with Hyaluronic Acid. These two ingredients complement each other. Both are water-soluble and suit all skin types. Your skin can benefit from using niacinamide and hyaluronic acid together.
Both of these skincare ingredients regularly make it into the ‘Top 10’ of many dermatologists, aestheticians, cosmetic chemists and skincare nerds the world over.
It’s not surprising that they are raved about by anyone who knows anything about skin as they are both potent ingredients. Before we dig into what is so great about using them together – spoiler alert you are probably already using them together anyway – let’s look at each one on it’s own first.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide is the active form of niacin or vitamin B3. It is water-soluble – which means it dissolves in water. It’s a superhero in the world of skin care and if you’re new to the niacinamide party then let me introduce you.
Niacinamide was discovered in 1937 and first used as a skincare ingredient in the 1990’s when the giant company Procter and Gamble started scientific research into topical niacinamide improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Their research proved that niacinamide was effective for much more than just reducing fine lines. Niacinamide became the darling of skin care companies that wanted to address dark spots, hyperpigmentation, acne scarring and uneven skin tone.
There are and were products that address these pigmentation issues such as the heavy-hitting retinol in particular retinoic acid AKA tretinoin and arbutin.
Retinoic acid has some big drawbacks. It nearly always causes purging. If you can get past the purging phase (which can take weeks) then retinoic acid can make great improvements in hyperpigmentation and acne scarring among other benefits.
But a lot of people hate the flakey, dry, irritating retinol uglies and stop using the product before getting to the benefits.
Researchers started to investigate the potential of niacinamide and found that is was able to treat dark spots and acne scars as well as retinoic acid without the purge or any other side effects.
How Does Niacinamide Benefit Skin?
Niacinamide has been put under scientific scrutiny for its ability to do so many beneficial things to your skin.
It’s a hard working addition to your skincare routine and because it is gentle and doesn’t cause purging it is suitable to all skin types even sensitive, acne and rosacea prone skin and has even been shown to help with atopic dermatitis.
Dark spots: AKA sun spots, age spots and liver spots.
The medical term for these ‘spots’ is called hyperpigmentation. Hyper – lots of and Pigmentation – the coloured molecule called melanin that gives your skin its tone and your eyes their colour.
When your skin is exposed to UV rays it produces melanin to stop the sun from giving you instant skin cancer. When melanin gets over produced ‘dark spots’ can be left behind. These become more apparent as we age.
Niacinamide is able to break down the excess pigmentation not only in the over pigmented areas but of all the skin so it has a mild skin lightening and brightening effect.
It reduces sebum production so can help with oily skin and acne reduction.
Excess sebum – the oil that the skin makes to cover our skin in a protective cover – is one of the main contributing factors to acne.
We need some sebum to keep skin moist and supple but too much and acne and oily skin is the result. Niacinamide reduces the amount of sebum your skin produces.
It also is anti bacterial and has been shown to kill bacteria for more than six hours once applied.
It tightens the skin cells in the SC which can reduce the appearance of pores.
It stimulates collagen which also plumps out and fills in the texture of the skin so it appears smoother and with smaller pore size.
Note: Nothing can ‘get rid of pores’. You skin needs pores – you can make them smaller but nothing will remove them entirely, no matter what skincare marketers will try and sell you!
So with that impressive list of achievements, let’s find out how niacinamide does all these things for our skin.
How Does Niacinamide Work?
Niacinamide meets the Klingman Standards which means its able to penetrate through the top layer of skin.
Your skin has 3 layers. The bottom layer is called the subcutaneous which does have much to with the skin appearance.
The real skin action happens in the dermis.
This is where skin cells are made, and where all the support system for healthy, plump radiant skin is manufactured.
Skin Cells are made in the dermis and then travel four layers of the epidermis, morphing and changing shape as they go. Until they finally reach the outer layer of your skin called the stratum corneum.
By the time your skin cell makes it to the stratum corneum they are effectively dead.
The cells have no access to blood supply or nutrients from your body.
But they still play a vital role in your skin. The skin cells are now joined together with by a waxy oily substance called the lipid matrix.
These dead skin cells and the lipid matrix form a tough protective barrier. This barrier protects your body from invading bacteria, viruses, fungi, and chemical and mechanical damage.
They also stop the suns rays from giving you instant skin cancer.
The skins defence barrier, the stratum corneum has been designed to stop things from invading it. It is also waterproof, to stop all our water from evaporating and keeping our skin hydrated and therefore flexible and supple.
This protective barrier is vital to our survival so not being able to penetrate it is a great thing.
However, when it comes to addressing issues with our skin we need to get ‘under’ this layer in order to have an effect.
Niacinamide can penetrate the top layer, making it able to change your skin cells from the deep within the living cells.
Great niacinamide is awesome – now lets turn our attention to hyaluronic acid.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in our bodies and of the 15 grams that the average adult human body contains 50% is in the skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural moisturizing factor within your skin. This means that HA along with other components of your skin such as elastin, collagen, glycerol and amino acids make up the natural moisturizing factors in your skin. There job is to maintain skin elasticity, keep it hydrated and support the barrier function.
How Does Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Skin?
As well as being present in your skin is also able to be applied to the skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant. This means that instead of penetrating the skin it sits on the skin surface where it binds to water and keeps skin hydrated. It famously can hold 1000x its own weight in water.
Because we make it in our bodies – its a natural building block of human skin – it’s very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. The only time hyaluronic acid causes purging is when it is not pure or is of nanoparticle size.
HA repairs damage to the skin, from cuts and scratches and sun damage. When your skin gets damaged it releases an enzyme which breaks down hyaluronic acid and uses it to repair the skin.
HA is also one of the triggers of collagen production, and for healthy skin you want as much collagen as possible.
What are the benefits of using Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid Together?
They complement each other and when used together give your skin well-rounded benefits.
They are both water-soluble which means they blend together and don’t repel each other. They are both suitable for all skin types.
The both provide protection for the skin’s barrier and help keep the skin moist and hydrated. The do not counter act each other, in fact they enhance each other.
Hyaluronic acid is able to push water-based actives deeper into the skin. The further an ingredient can get to the dermis the better. It is in the dermis that most of the skin magic happens.
Good Products That Contain Both Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid
There are products that combine niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.
Glow Recipe watermelon dew drops.
This skin care product from glow recipe is suitable for all skin types including oily and acne-prone. They are formulated without mica or glitter.
They also are free from parabens, mineral oils, sulfates, alcohol and synthetic dye. As well as containing niacinamide and hyaluronic acid they have moringa seed oil which is a proven anti inflammatory and gives these drops a nourishing skin feel.
Paula’s choice 10% Niacinamide Booster
Contains both niacinamide 10% and hyaluronic acid. Helps to minimize pores size and improve multiple signs of aging and fine lines. Wallet friendly and effective.
The Inkey List
Uses 10% niacinamide a naturally occurring B3 and 1% hyaluronic acid for added hydration and to help with niacinamide penetration. This is a very affordable and well formulated niacinamide serum.
But if you have sensitive skin you might want to separate them out.
How To Layer Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid in Skincare Routine
If you want to use them in separate skincare routines then use niacinamide in the morning as it boosts the effectiveness of other ingredients especially sunscreen and vitamin C serum.
It should go as your first acid after cleansing as it water based.
You can apply it at night as your last step if you have oily acne prone skin or before your moisturizer if you have dry skin and are using niacinamide for its hyperpigmentation benefits.
Hyaluronic acid can be applied morning and night. If you are using serums or moisturizers you are probably getting hyaluronic acid in your skin care routine anyway.
Hyaluronic acid is the top coat before moisturizer/sunscreen.
No info about niacinamide and hyaluronic acid would be complete without talking about The Ordinary.
The Ordinary Niacinamide and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
Let’s be honest the reason most of us even know about niacinamide and hyaluronic acid is because of the ordinary. Their niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1% is one of their hero products and the serum that launched a thousand replicas.
It is one of my favourite ordinary serums closely followed by the hyaluronic acid serum.
These two are a match made in heaven. Neither of them increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun UV rays so you can use them in morning (always under sunscreen) and at night.
You can spot treat with niacinamide serum and then put hyaluronic acid all over your face. Or you can mix 2 – 3 drops of each together and then apply them where you need them most.
Both hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are hero skincare product and no matter what your skin type or age your skin will thank you for using these two ingredients even if you don’t use them together.