Hyaluronic Acid Vs Niacinamide Vs Retinol?

Hyaluronic acid vs niacinamide vs retinol—you’ve heard these words get touted about as skincare heroes. And whether you’re a superuser when it comes to skincare or are starting your journey, do you actually know the difference between the three products?

When it comes to beauty buzz words, there’s nothing buzzier than niacinamide, retinol and hyaluronic acid. But what are they, what do they actually do, and is one better than the other? 

Hyaluronic Acid 
Good for: anyone with a face. 

Need intense hydration? Hyaluronic is like a water park for your face. Actually, it’s more like a full sponge that generously gifts a steady stream of hydration to your skin through the day. This is because it’s a humectant (meaning moisture-binding) and can store moisture up to 100 times its volume. We’re serious! Hyaluronic Acid can also have a plumping effect—however, it does have a short lifespan within the body, making injectables more appropriate for permanency. One more cool thing: because hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in the body, the possibility of reaction is very slim.

Good for: reducing the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation, acne-prone skin, oily or combo skin. 

You know when you convince yourself it’s a great idea to pop that zit, and it gets mad and leaves behind a dark stain? Niacinamide can help with that. It blocks the creation of melanin, the pigment that colors scars and areas of hyperpigmentation. It’s also able to enhance cellular bonds and tighten skin, forging an anti-inflammatory response that can prevent acne.


Good for: acne-prone skin, diminishing the look of wrinkles and fine lines. 

Recall our pimple from earlier that we popped against our better judgement. If a scab of any kind remains, or flaking, or anything raised and texturally problematic, Retinol (or Vitamin A) is the business. Retinol accelerates cell turnover and replaces dead skin cells with fresh ones. For this reason, it’s also a loyal friend in warding off the enemy (wrinkles), and a good choice for anyone in their mid-to-late twenties interested in a preventative routine. 

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