Skincare ingredients can sometimes be confusing. You have lots of choices, with some ingredients being very similar and complementing each other’s functions, while some other ingredients seem to be really incompatible.
In this article I’m going to focus on niacinamide and Centella asiatica and compare their effects on the skin.
They both have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce redness, irritation, and inflammation. They also both help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reducing signs of aging. However, they are also different in their actions and other benefits for your skin.
Niacinamide is a very popular skincare ingredient, basically vitamin B3, which provides a number of skin-healing properties, which will be discussed later in the article.
On the other hand, Centella asiatica extract is really popular in the Korean skincare routine, being a medicinal plant that has been used to treat various skin issues (it turns out it’s great for stretch marks!).
The good part of the story is – you can use them together! However, if you need help choosing just one, you’re in the right place. Keep on reading!
Niacinamide Vs. Centella Asiatica – Key Differences
Let’s go through some key differences of these ingredients.
1. Suitability For Different Skin Types
Almost all skin types can benefit from niacinamide, but it is particularly beneficial for dry and acne-prone skin1. You can use niacinamide for oily skin and combination skin, as well. It is usually safe even on sensitive skin, but in lower doses. It can be helpful in treating various skin issues.
- Centella Asiatica:
It is beneficial for most skin types, especially for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and dry skin, as it improves hydration. Furthermore, it can help you deal with various skin conditions.
2. Skin Conditions It Helps With
It can help with different skin conditions, even eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne, skin dryness, natural oil disbalance (preventing oily skin), dull skin texture, redness, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation, improving natural skin’s barrier.
- Centella Asiatica:
Cica can be helpful in treating various conditions, including acne, acne scars, burns, hypertrophic scars, psoriasis, scleroderma, and atopic dermatitis2.
Generally, it can help your damaged skin recover, and helps with wound healing. In contrast to niacinamide, Centella has been proven in studies to be effective solution for stretch marks3.
3. What It Does To Your Skin
Besides hydrating your skin, niacinamide is the perfect skin care ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
It improves skin elasticity and reduces redness acting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It builds keratin, promotes skin health, and strengthens the skin’s natural barrier. It also prevents moisture loss.
- Centella asiatica:
Cica provides a soothing effect to your (sensitive) skin, reduces inflammation and redness, and promotes skin cell growth. It helps your skin barrier retain moisture, being a perfect natural moisturizer.
It improves your skin’s hydration and reduces water loss. Also, it speeds up wound healing4.
4. How Does It Help Hydrate Your Skin?
It helps stabilize the skin barrier, decreases water loss, and improves the moisture content of your skin.
- Centella asiatica:
It increases the natural production of hyaluronic acid that helps retain moisture in your skin.
5. How Long Does It Take To See The Results?
While some niacinamide skincare products may show almost immediate results, visible in two weeks, niacinamide shows noticeable results after at least four weeks of daily usage.
According to studies, niacinamide-based products take somewhere between 8 to 12 weeks to show visible results in treatment of photoaging, 2 weeks to show improvement in rosacea, 4 weeks to help with dry skin, and 12 weeks to effectively help with acne. It takes about 8 weeks for niacinamide to show reduction in hyperpigmentation5.
- Centella Asiatica:
Again, some of the skincare products containing Centella asiatica extract can show results pretty fast, while the others take more time.
Generally, women report seeing visual results within 2 to 4 months of regular treatment with Centella asiatica.
6. Combining With Other Ingredients
You can combine niacinamide with most skincare ingredients. However, combined with other, more powerful ingredients, such as AHAs, BHAs, or even vitamin C, can cause some irritation, so you should be careful and start slowly.
- Centella asiatica:
Centella extract is a natural and mild ingredient that you can combine with basically any other active ingredient.
Everything You Need To Know About Niacinamide
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, represents a form of vitamin B3 (niacin). It is a highly popular component of topical cosmeceuticals and an important part of the skincare routine of many women worldwide.
It has shown a wide variety of benefits for your skin, when used topically, such as: improving skin’s natural barrier function and therefore treating inflammatory dermatoses6.
It also increases protein and ceramide synthesis, improves skin texture and helps in treatment of photo-aged skin. It decreases moisture loss, improving the water content of your skin.
Niacinamide also boosts collagen production and synthesis of keratin, both of which help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, as well as lighten the skin7.
In general, it is basically suitable for any skin type.
Benefits Of Niacinamide
- Hydration boost
Niacinamide may enhance the function of your skin’s natural lipid barrier, helping lock moisture in and keep pollutants or other potential irritants out, making your skin more hydrated and less sensitive.
- Soothing skin
Niacinamide has been shown to reduce inflammation, and to soothe the skin, in terms of calming redness and irritation caused by different skin conditions, like acne, rosacea, eczema, etc.; but also by strong exfoliants that remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.
Niacinamide’s antioxidant properties may help protect your skin and aid its recovery from damage due to factors like aging, sun, and stress. Niacinamide also increases keratin and collagen synthesis, important two proteins for anti-aging.
- Pore size reduction and preventing pore clogging
Niacinamide may help minimize the appearance of pores and help keep your skin smooth and clear. It also may help regulate the amount of oil your skin produces, which can prevent acne breakouts and clogged pores. This is great for acne-prone skin!
- Dark spots treatment
Niacinamide is dermatologist-approved for brightening skin tone. Some research has shown that topical niacinamide may significantly reduce facial hyperpigmentation appearance8.
Who Should Use Niacinamide?
Niacinamide goes along with almost any skin type. It is beneficial for mature skin, oily or acne-prone skin, dry and dehydrated skin, dark spots, but also sensitive skin.
Does Niacinamide Have Any Side Effects?
Niacinamide is generally considered a safe ingredient to use on your skin. Rarely, it can cause some side effects, such as allergic reaction, with itching, redness, and mild burning sensation.
Everything You Need To Know About Centella Asiatica
Centella asiatica is a medicinal plant used for various types of health concerns, including skin conditions.
Centella asiatica product can help you treat some skin issues, but will also improve hydration and keep your skin healthy, by maintaining the skin’s natural barrier, reducing its damage. It will help you get proper hydration, a more even skin tone, and a better texture of your skin.
Furthermore, it can help you in treating wounds, burns, and scars – including stretch marks, and many other issues.
Benefits Of Centella Asiatica
- Moisturizing the skin
This is probably the reason why Centella asiatica is such a popular ingredient, particularly in Korean skincare products. It really does a great job keeping your skin hydrated11.
It also helps your skin’s natural barrier retain moisture and reduces redness and inflammation. The latter is especially important for people with some skin conditions like eczema or rosacea.
- Wound healing
Centella asiatica has powerful antioxidant properties, important to fight off free radicals and it boosts our defense system. Its components actually contribute to wound healing, making the wound smaller, too.
Furthermore, the terpenoids in Centella asiatica may increase the percentage of collagen and stimulate wound scar maturation. So, Centella asiatica may help heal burns and wounds.
- Soothing skin
Centella also acts anti-inflammatory. The base of most skin conditions, including acne and eczema, is inflammation.
It is not weird that Centella asiatica is well known K-beauty ingredient of anti-aging products. It does slow signs of aging, by promoting collagen synthesis and reducing signs of photoaging.
Who Should Use Centella Asiatica
Almost anyone can benefit from using Centella asiatica topically. It is especially beneficial for those with dry and dehydrated skin, mature skin, inflamed skin (due to inflammatory skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and psoriasis), those who have scars or striae (particularly – pregnancy stretch marks14).
What Are The Disadvantages Of Centella Asiatica?
The side effect profile of Centella asiatica when used topically is pretty minimal. In rare cases, it can trigger signs of allergic reactions, and you should be careful if you are breastfeeding. Studies show that it is safe for pregnant women to use Centella topically.
Also, if you are suffering from some liver disease or damage, you should avoid Centella asiatica, as it can cause liver toxicity in some cases.
What Not To Mix With Centella Asiatica?
It can be used practically with anything. Centella asiatica is safe to be mixed with other ingredients in your skin care.
What Is A Substitute For Centella Asiatica?
Some alternatives to Centella asiatica in cosmetic industry may include Calendula officinalis extract, Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, grape seed oil and coconut oil15. Some people prefer hyaluronic acid over Cica for wound healing.
Final Verdict: Is Niacinamide Or Centella Asiatica Better?
It is difficult to say which of these ingredients is better for you, as they both have its unique properties.
But based on the scientific research and studies on both these ingredients, we can conclude that:
- If you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation, dark spots, uneven skin tone – niacinamide may be better than Centella asiatica.
- On the other hand, Cica is better than niacinamide for healing wounds, and reducing stretch marks.
- Both these ingredients have anti-aging and moisturizing properties – so you may choose between them depending on your personal preferences.
Can I Use Centella Asiatica With Niacinamide?
After you’ve read this article, you may wonder “Can Cica and niacinamide be used together?”. And the answer is: yes, absolutely, you can use Centella asiatica together with niacinamide.
Actually, you can find these two ingredients combined in one skincare product, or you can incorporate them as two different products into your daily skincare routine.
For example, you can find wonderful serums or creams containing both niacinamide and Centella asiatica, or you can combine them with different products and use, let’s say:
- Niacinamide serum and cica ampoule,
- Centella ampoule and niacinamide cream,
- Cica cleanser and niacinamide serum,
- Cica cream and niacinamide serum,
- Centella cleanser and niacinamide cream.
…And so on. There are so many variations.
The order of ingredients in your skin care depends on the product. Of course, you will use your cleanser before serum or cream.
Therefore, you can absolutely use these ingredients within the same routine and even in the same product.
Both of these ingredients can helps you soothe and calm reddened, irritated skin – and both ingredients contain antioxidant properties, so together, they offer more antioxidant protection from damaging external aggressors.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.
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