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What Distinguishes Salicylic Acid From Niacinamide? Learn Which Is Better To Treat Acne

14 Nov 2022
What Distinguishes Salicylic Acid From Niacinamide? Learn Which Is Better To Treat Acne

Salicylic Acid and niacinamide are two of the most often used components in skincare. But how do they differ from one another? Which is better for you, then? Although they may have some similarities, they both accomplish quite distinct goals, thus depending on your skin concerns, one may be the better choice. Let's compare Niacinamide with Salicylic Acid to see which is better for you.

Salicylic Acid

The plant that typically produces Salicylic Acid, commonly referred to as Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), is the Willow Bark Plant. Being an oil-soluble exfoliator, it can get through the oil on your skin and pores to unclog and eliminate any impurities by penetrating deeply. Salicylic Acid is therefore frequently used to treat acne and is excellent for people with oily, acne-prone skin types as well as those who have clogged pores, blackheads, and sebaceous strands. BHA functions by 'ungluing' dead skin cells from one another so they may be scrubbed away with ease. Dead skin cells tend to cling together, and removing them might be difficult if you don't use the correct solutions. Dead skin cells can be eliminated with Salicylic Acid, which can also unclog pores, lessen blackheads, balance oil production, and shrink pores. BHAs can tackle acne in a way that Glycolic Acid or other AHAs cannot because they can enter the pore deeply and clean it out.

Salicylic Acid's main characteristics include:

  1. BHAs are anti-bacterial and help cure and prevent acne by killing the germs that cause it.
  2. Specifically for inflammatory lesions like pustules or cysts, anti-inflammatory medications can help lessen the swelling and redness associated with pimples.
  3. Oil-soluble - it will penetrate your skin's oil to exfoliate deeper into the pore as opposed to just the surface as AHAs can.

Advantages Of Salicylic Acid

  1. Salicylic Acid's anti-inflammatory qualities assist to reduce the irritation that comes with pimples and helps speed up the healing process.
  2. By eliminating acne-causing bacteria, regulating oil production, and unclogging pores, BHA not only treats existing acne but also works to stop the development of fresh outbreaks. Considering that it is a comedolytic agent, it inhibits comedolytic acne, such as blackheads or closed comedones.
  3. Salicylic Acid can remove the top layer of dead skin since it is a keratolytic agent. Closed comedones can benefit from this, as well as smoothing up rough skin texture.
  4. The ability of BHAs to assist regulate and balance oil output is well documented. They accomplish this by controlling sebocytes, the skin's oil-producing cells that create sebum.
  5. Maintaining a clean complexion can make pores look smaller.

Who Can Benefit From Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic Acid can be used on all skin types, however, it works best on combination, oily, and acne-prone skin. BHA's are an excellent treatment for you if you battle acne of any kind, including blackheads, pustules, papules, or plugged pores.


Niacinamide is a multifunctional component that can help address a variety of skin issues, including pore size, dull skin, and excess oil. It is a vitamin B3 type that has numerous advantages for the skin. Due to its versatility, it has recently risen to the top of the list of skincare ingredients. It frequently appears in a variety of skincare products, including moisturisers and cleansers. Niacinamide is renowned for its capacity to balance out skin texture, minimise the look of enlarged pores, and brighten skin tone. Niacinamide is a fantastic, adaptable substance because it can be utilised by all skin types and has a long list of other advantages.

Advantages Of Niacinamide

No matter what your skin type or skin troubles are, niacinamide can be taken and has a tonne of various advantages for the skin.

  1. Niacinamide, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, can lessen the redness and irritation caused by acne or sensitive skin. Additionally, it aids in reducing the severity of rosacea, acne, and other inflammatory skin diseases.
  2. Niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant that can help shield the skin from free radical harm.
  3. The skin's protective barrier can be strengthened with Niacinamide, which can stop transepidermal water loss, which causes the skin to become dehydrated. For healthy skin, a skin barrier is necessary.
  4. By preventing melanosome transfer from melanocytes, Niacinamide can help to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmented scars, dark spots, and other pigmentation disorders.
  5. It is renowned for its capacity to lessen the size and appearance of big pores. It accomplishes this by maintaining skin hydration, which can hide pore size and texture.
  6. Niacinamide is ideal for those with oily, combination, and acne-prone skin types since it can be used to balance the production of sebum/oil in the skin. Additionally, it works well for people who have trouble with excessive oil in their t-zone or other areas of their faces.
  7. Niacinamide helps lessen oil production, which can aid in reducing acne. Also, it has anti-inflammatory effects that might lessen the size, swelling, and redness of blemishes.
  8.  Niacinamide can aid in the treatment of wrinkles and fine lines that form on ageing skin. It accomplishes this by promoting the creation of collagen, which gives the skin a fuller appearance.
  9. Niacinamide can aid in boosting the moisture content of the skin, preventing transepidermal water loss. For people with dry, dehydrated, or mature skin types, this is extremely beneficial.

Who Can Benefit From Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is an excellent component for all skin types and has benefits for everyone. For people who struggle with pigmentation or wrinkles, as well as those with dry, sensitive, or mature skin types, it is very helpful. Those who battle with pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, or any other form of acne can safely use Niacinamide. It can treat oily skin, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as maintain the health and strength of your skin's protective layer. All skin types can utilise Niacinamide, but some people may feel flushing or irritation after taking it. Using a high concentration or combining it with actives is typically to blame for this (which can cause flushing). Try a low concentration first to evaluate how your skin responds if you are new to niacinamide or have sensitive or reactive skin.

Similarities Between Salicylic Acid & Niacinamide

For people with oily and acne-prone skin, Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide are both excellent choices. They can both assist in controlling oil production and prevent the skin from creating too much oil. They can both aid in reducing the appearance of big pores. Both substances also possess anti-inflammatory effects that can aid in calming any discomfort and also lessen the redness and swelling linked to acne.

Salicylic Acid Vs. Niacinamide

Salicylic Acid


A Beta Hydroxy Acid

A form of Vitamin B3

Oil Soluble

Water Soluble

Best for oily and acne-prone skin

Best for all skin types

Treats and prevents acne

Brightens dark spots

Controls oil production

Strengthens skin’s barrier

Gently exfoliates

Calms redness and irritation


Wrapping Up…

Niacinamide will aid in the fading of hyperpigmentation and acne scars. Salicylic Acid does exfoliate the skin, but it is not well known for its capacity to assist in the management of acne scarring. Niacinamide is the greatest option if you have scarring because it works wonders to lighten pigmentation and discolourations. Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide both aid in reducing the visibility of pores. Niacinamide reduces the appearance of large pores by strengthening the skin barrier, which in turn aids in preventing water loss that can result in dry, dehydrated skin. Salicylic acid is an exfoliant that clears clogged pores and lowers sebum production, both of which can assist to make pores appear smaller. Salicylic acid will be your greatest bet for getting rid of blackheads because it may unclog pores, and treat to prevent acne. It can assist to open up the pores and remove any blackheads, but it can also aid in preventing the development of new blackheads. Salicylic acid can have a significant impact on how oily your skin becomes since it can directly affect the sebocytes, which are the cells that generate sebum and oil. It has also been demonstrated that niacinamide aids in managing and balancing oil production. You can't go wrong with either one of these fantastic substances for those with oily skin. However, consider incorporating both into your routine for the best oil control.
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