Azelaic Acid vs. Niacinamide: Which is Better for Skin Problems?

There are so many skincare ingredients out there that it can be overwhelming to choose which ones to use in your routine. One common question is: azelaic acid vs niacinamide – which one is better? Both of these ingredients are known for their ability to improve skin texture, unclog pores, and fade hyperpigmentation. However, they have different properties and work best for different skin concerns.

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid that is produced by yeast that lives on our skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective at reducing redness and inflammation. Azelaic acid is also a potent exfoliant that can improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is especially effective for people with acne-prone or rosacea-prone skin, as it can help to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of blemishes.

Azelaic acid is available in a variety of forms, including prescription-strength creams and over-the-counter serums. Some popular products that contain azelaic acid include Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster, The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, and Fine’s Plant-Based Skincare Azelaic Acid Serum.


Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin that has many benefits for the skin. It helps to improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and fade hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide is also effective at reducing redness and irritation, making it a good choice for people with sensitive skin.

Niacinamide is widely available in skincare products and can be found in everything from cleansers to serums to moisturizers. Some popular products that contain niacinamide include The Inkey List Niacinamide Serum, CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30, and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo.

Which One Should You Use?

So, back to the initial question: azelaic acid vs niacinamide – which one is better? The answer is that it depends on your skin concerns. If you have acne-prone or rosacea-prone skin, azelaic acid may be the better choice for you. If you have concerns about fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or uneven texture, niacinamide may be more effective.

Of course, there is no reason why you can’t use both ingredients in your routine. Many skincare products contain both azelaic acid and niacinamide, along with other beneficial ingredients. If you are unsure which ingredient to try first, consider starting with a product that contains both.


Ultimately, the choice between azelaic acid vs niacinamide comes down to personal preference and skin concerns. Both of these ingredients are effective at improving skin texture, unclogging pores, and reducing inflammation. Whether you decide to use azelaic acid, niacinamide, or both, be sure to patch test any new products and introduce them into your routine slowly to avoid irritation.

  • Tip: If you’re using any products containing these ingredients, be sure to apply enough sunscreen as they can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.

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