Hyperpigmentation is a condition that causes skin to darken or discolor.
There are many reasons why your skin may hyper-pigment – from sun damage to hormones to genetics.
It’s also possible for multiple factors to lead to hyperpigmentation and make it difficult to treat.
But if you’re looking for an easy and natural way to clear up the dark spots on your face, look no further than niacinamide or azelaic acid!
These ingredients have been shown in clinical trials as effective in treating hyperpigmentation (and other skin disorders), but which one should you use?
Is niacinamide or azelaic acid better for hyperpigmentation?
Both azelaic acid and niacinamide are well-known ingredients for treating hyperpigmentation.
Niacinamide is an antioxidant that may boost the complexion by improving skin barrier function and reducing inflammation.
Azelaic acid works to prevent new dark spots from forming, as well as fade existing ones.
Either ingredient can be used to reduce dark spots, but there are some differences between them.
- Azelaic acid may be more effective against hyperpigmentation; it’s been shown to decrease melanin production in photo-damaged skin (source). In addition to its anti-aging properties, it’s also worth noting that azelaic acid is less likely than niacinamide or other topical options to cause irritation.
- Both azelaic acid and niacinamide come in various forms including creams, gels, serums—and even toothpaste!
Why do people use niacinamide and azelaic acid?
Niacinamide and azelaic acid are both used to treat hyperpigmentation, but they have different mechanisms of action.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that helps with skin damage caused by UV light exposure and inflammation.
Azelaic acid is a natural acid produced by yeast, which means it can be applied topically without any negative side effects.
How do you use niacinamide and azelaic acid?
- Wash your face with a cleanser.
- Apply niacinamide or azelaic acid to your hyperpigmented areas of skin using a cotton pad, spritz, or your fingers.
- Leave it on for at least a few minutes (10-15 is best). We recommend letting it dry before rinsing off with water or cleansing oil. Since these products are water-soluble and won’t stain your clothes or pillowcases, you can leave them on overnight if you prefer!
- Rinse off the product with water—or use an oil-based cleanser if you want to remove it quickly and gently—and apply moisturizer after patting dry.
Where can you buy niacinamide and azelaic acid?
You can buy niacinamide and azelaic acid at your local pharmacy or you can order them online.
You can also find a wide range of skin care products containing niacinamide and azelaic acid, including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and serums (to name a few).
What are the side effects of niacinamide and azelaic acid?
- Skin irritation
- Redness or flaking
How long does it take for these products to work?
If you’re looking for a quick fix, these products are not for you.
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months before you start seeing results.
If you don’t see any improvements after two months, it’s best to consult a dermatologist about other options that might be more effective or have fewer side effects.
However, if your goal is long-term skin health and well-being with minimal treatment costs (like most people), then azelaic acid or niacinamide may be exactly what the doctor ordered!
Are there other ways to treat hyperpigmentation?
While niacinamide and azelaic acid are the top two choices for treating hyperpigmentation, there are other options you might want to try as well.
Here are some foods that can benefit your skin:
There’s also another topical treatment for hyperpigmentation called hydroquinone—but it has potential side effects like lightening the skin too much or causing bluish tints in the treated area (which can look scary).
If you’re considering trying this type of product, make sure you consult a dermatologist first!
I hope after reading this article, you’re more informed about which product is best for your skin.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to comment below!