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  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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Can niacinamide and hyaluronic acid be used together in a skincare routine?

Dermatology providers share what you need to know about pairing these two ingredients.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Sep 23, 2023 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Donna McIntyre, NP-BC
Niacinamide and HA Offer Distinct Skin Benefits, and Combining Them Provides a Holistic Skincare Approach
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Sep 23, 2023 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Donna McIntyre, NP-BC
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

When you’re trying to achieve healthier-looking skin, using the right skincare ingredients is essential. Two popular ingredients that have gained significant attention in recent years are niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. Both have been praised for their remarkable benefits in improving skin texture, hydration, and overall complexion.

The increased popularity of these ingredients has left many with a pressing question: Can you use niacinamide and hyaluronic acid together? The short answer: Yes! Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid can be used together in a skincare routine. In fact, they can complement each other and provide multiple benefits for the skin.

Here, Curology’s team of licensed dermatologists unpack the science behind these ingredients and how to incorporate them into your daily routine to achieve a more radiant, youthful complexion.

What is niacinamide, and how does it benefit the skin?

Niacinamide (or nicotinamide) is a form of Vitamin B3. It helps maintain healthy skin in a few ways: 

Preventing premature aging: Niacinamide is thought to manage the redox system in our skin cells. The redox system is the process where antioxidants remove free radicals from our skin cells.¹ It’s good to keep this system balanced!

Regulating Sebum Production: In addition to its anti-aging properties, niacinamide can help regulate sebum production, which means it’s beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin.² It can help minimize the appearance of pores, even skin tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.³

Reducing hyperpigmentation: Niacinamide can also help fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots caused by sun damage or acne scars. It inhibits the transfer of melanin to the skin’s surface, resulting in a more even and radiant complexion. Niacinamide can be found in various skincare products, including serums, moisturizers, and toners. Niacinamide products tend to be formulated with 2-5% of this active ingredient.⁴

What is hyaluronic acid, and how does it benefit the skin?

Hyaluronic acid is a powerful skincare ingredient that can offer multiple benefits to the skin. It is known for its remarkable ability to:

Hydrate the skin while locking in moisture deeply.⁵ When applied topically, hyaluronic acid acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the surroundings and binding it to the skin. This helps replenish and retain moisture levels, improving hydration and a plump, supple appearance.

Minimize signs of aging. With age, the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid decreases, resulting in reduced moisture retention and loss of elasticity. The topical use of mixtures containing hyaluronic acid molecules with different molecular weights has been found to have a number of positive effects on aging skin, including improved skin elasticity and reduced wrinkle depth.⁶

Improve skin appearance. A thorough evaluation was conducted to evaluate a facial serum containing hyaluronic acid and its efficacy in delivering favorable outcomes for the skin. Significant improvements were observed across various assessed characteristics, including smoothness, plumping, and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.⁷

Relieve inflammation and post-sunburn recovery. Hyaluronic acid has unique biological properties that extend beyond hydration. It can aid in curbing the skin's inflammatory response, notably during the advanced phases following sunburn. 

By harnessing its biologically effective attributes, hyaluronic acid helps maintain skin health by preventing and alleviating the intensified inflammatory reactions associated with sunburn and other daily environmental stressors.⁸

Hyaluronic acid is a versatile ingredient that can be found in various skincare formulations, such as serums, moisturizers, masks, and even makeup products. Its compatibility with other active ingredients allows it to be easily incorporated into different skincare routines.

Can niacinamide and hyaluronic acid be used together?

Donna McIntyre, a nurse practitioner at Curology says, “Yes! Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid offer different benefits to the skin, and using them together can provide a comprehensive approach to your skincare. While niacinamide addresses issues like excess oil and hyperpigmentation, hyaluronic acid focuses on hydration and plumping effects. So , you can simultaneously treat multiple skin concerns by incorporating both ingredients into your routine!”

How niacinamide and hyaluronic acid work together to combat signs of aging

Nicotinamide coenzymes and hyaluronic acid in the skin decrease as we age, reducing skin elasticity and firmness.⁹ So, incorporating niacinamide and hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine can help diminish the visible signs of aging

Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid are used together in some cosmetic products. The combination of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid in a single product can offer a convenient way to reap the advantages of both ingredients, which include hydration, moisture retention, and skin barrier support, among other benefits. 

These ingredients work differently and produce slightly different results. Hyaluronic acid reduces the appearance of wrinkles by locking in moisture on the skin. Studies show it also improves skin firmness and elasticity.¹⁰

Niacinamide can improve the skin’s barrier function and boost collagen production.¹¹ By strengthening the skin barrier and preventing water loss, niacinamide helps keep the skin hydrated.

Niacinamide can also brighten skin tone by inhibiting the transfer of melanin to the skin’s surface, which reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and sunspots.¹² Additionally, niacinamide can significantly enhance the skin’s elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, thereby improving the skin’s overall appearance.¹³

Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid: side effects

Niacinamide is generally well-tolerated. However, some potential side effects may occur; these include redness, itching, and burning.¹⁴ Hyaluronic acid is naturally occuring in the body. While there are reports of adverse side effects from hyaluronic fillers, there are no commonly reported adverse reactions associated with topical hyaluronic acid.

Managing Side Effects

If you experience any side effects from using niacinamide or hyaluronic acid, there are several ways to manage them. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • Rinsing your skin with cool water can help soothe the area. Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel afterward.

  • Reduce the strength/frequency of use. Lower the concentration or frequency of use until your skin adjusts to the product. Additionally, starting with a minimal amount and increasing as tolerated over time is advised if you have sensitive skin.

Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist—especially adverse reactions. 

How to safely incorporate niacinamide and hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine

Here are the steps involved in safely incorporating niacinamide and hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine:

  • Start with a clean face. Begin by thoroughly cleansing your face to remove dirt, oil, or makeup. This provides a clean canvas for the niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to work effectively.

  • Patch test first if you have any concerns about a potential reaction. Before applying niacinamide and hyaluronic acid products to your face, perform a patch test on a small skin area. This will help you determine if you have any allergic reactions or sensitivities to the products.

  • Start with a low concentration. When introducing niacinamide or hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine, begin with products with a lower concentration. This allows your skin to adjust gradually and minimizes the risk of irritation. You can gradually increase the concentration over time if your skin tolerates it well.

For personalized skincare routine guidance, contact a licensed dermatology provider. They can assess your skin type, conditions, and recommend a tailored skincare routine incorporating niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Nurturing your skin with Curology's niacinamide and HA-infused skincare line

Want to incorporate these hard-working ingredients into your skincare routine? Curology’s got you! Depending on the recommendation of your dermatology provider, your personalized formula may include niacinamide, which is known to replenish the skin and reduce signs of aging by actively combating inflammation and hyperpigmentation, including age-related dark spots.¹⁵

Both of Curology’s moisturizers, The Moisturizer and The Rich Moisturizer contain hyaluronic acid, which helps soothe dry, dehydrated skin. With their creamy textures and scientifically-supported formulas, these moisturizers ensure long-lasting hydration for your skin, whether day or night.

Personalized skincare made easy: Curology's custom approach

Tired of feeling like skincare is a guessing game? Curology is here to help by offering a customized skincare routine that caters to you and your unique skin.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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By working with a licensed dermatology provider through Curology, you’ll receive guidance on what your skin needs and how you can best reach your skincare goals. You’ll also get a custom formula—made with proven-effective prescription ingredients—to best target your biggest skin concerns. Best of all, getting started is easy. Sign up a 30-day trial* with Curology and see the difference that custom skincare can make.

FAQs

Why should niacinamide be applied before hyaluronic acid?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble ingredient, meaning the skin can easily absorb it. When applied first, niacinamide can help to strengthen the skin's barrier function, allowing it to retain moisture better. This can help enhance the benefits of hyaluronic acid, a hydrating ingredient that helps plump and moisturize the skin. Ultimately though, what matters most is the consistency of the product. When using products with multiple ingredients or purposes, apply them in order of thinnest to thickest consistency.

Can I use niacinamide without sunblock?

Regardless of your routine, wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily is essential. Prioritize sunscreens with physical filters such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which act like a shield against UVA/UVB rays.

Which should be applied first, niacinamide or sunscreen?

If your niacinamide product is a thinner consistency than your sunscreen, apply it before sunscreen and let your skin enjoy the benefits. Applying niacinamide before sunscreen may benefit those with sensitive or reactive skin as it helps strengthen the skin’s barrier and reduce inflammation.

The antioxidant properties of niacinamide can help protect against environmental damage from free radicals, making it an excellent choice for those living in urban areas where pollution is higher than average. 

Applying niacinamide first will also ensure that this vitamin-rich ingredient is fully absorbed into the skin before any other products are applied, which can maximize its benefits.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Boo, Y.C. Mechanistic Basis and Clinical Evidence for the Applications of Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) to Control Skin Aging and Pigmentation. Antioxidants. (2021, August 21).

  2. Draelos, Z.D., et al. The Effect of 2% Niacinamide on Facial Sebum Production. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy : Official Publication of the European Society for Laser Dermatology. (June 2006).

  3. Levin, J., and Momin, S.B. How Much Do We Really Know about Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients? The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. (February 2010).

  4. Levin, J., and Momin, S.B. How Much Do We Really Know about Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients? The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Ibid.

  5. John, H.E., and Price, R.D. Perspectives in the Selection of Hyaluronic Acid Fillers for Facial Wrinkles and Aging Skin. Patient Preference and Adherence. (2009, November 3).

  6. Engels, P., and Kneip, T. The physiological importance of hyaluronic acids and effects of topical applied formulations. (n.d.).

  7. Draelos, Z.D., et al. Efficacy Evaluation of a Topical Hyaluronic Acid Serum in Facial Photoaging. Dermatology and Therapy. (2021, June 26).

  8. Hu, L., et al. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Differential Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acids on UVB-Induced Calprotectin-Mediated Keratinocyte Inflammation. Journal of Dermatological Science. (July 2022).

  9. Papakonstantinou, E. et al. Hyaluronic acid A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato- Endocrinology (2012).

  10. Engels, P., and Kneip, T. The physiological importance of hyaluronic acids and effects of topical applied formulations. Ibid.

  11. Levin, J., and Momin, S.B. How Much Do We Really Know about Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients? The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Ibid.

  12. Boo, Y.C. Mechanistic Basis and Clinical Evidence for the Applications of Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) to Control Skin Aging and Pigmentation. Antioxidants. Ibid.

  13. Bissett, D.L., et al. Niacinamide: A B Vitamin That Improves Aging Facial Skin Appearance. Dermatologic Surgery : Official Publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. (July 2005).

  14. Navarrete-Solís, J. et al. A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Niacinamide 4% versus Hydroquinone 4% in the Treatment of Melasma. Dermatology Research and Practice. (2011, July 21).

  15. Jasmine C. Hollinger, et al. Are Natural Ingredients Effective in the Management of Hyperpigmentation? A Systematic Review. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. (February 2018).

Donna McIntyre is a board-certified nurse practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA.

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

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