Difference Between Vitamin C and Niacinamide

The main difference between vitamin C and niacinamide is that vitamin C is better for pigmentation and dull and tired-looking skin, whereas niacinamide is better for those suffering from acne and spot-prone skin. 

Vitamin C and niacinamide are two vitamins essential for skin health. Both are water-soluble vitamins. Meanwhile, vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, is mildly acidic and one of the most potent antioxidants. However, niacinamide is vitamin B3.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
– Definition, Facts, Features
2. What is Niacinamide
– Definition, Facts, Features
3. Similarities Between Vitamin C and Niacinamide
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Vitamin C and Niacinamide
– Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ – Vitamin C and Niacinamide
– Answers to frequently asked questions

Key Terms  

Ascorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Nicotinamide, Vitamin B3, Vitamin C

Difference Between Vitamin C and Niacinamide - Comparison Summary

What is Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits and vegetables. It is also involved in tissue repair that prevents scurvy. Most animals synthesize their vitamin C, but humans do not. Hence, it is a dietary supplement, too. On the other hand, α-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases are the enzymes that use vitamin C as a cofactor. For instance, prolyl hydroxylases are one of those enzymes involved in collagen biosynthesis. The enzyme down-regulates hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 in regulating genes responsible for energy metabolism, tumor growth, neutrophil function, and apoptosis.

Compare Vitamin C and Niacinamide

Figure 1: Vitamin C

Furthermore, vitamin C hydrates and detoxifies the skin, which results in naturally glowing skin. It also reduces skin pigmentation, resulting in even skin tone. In addition, it protects the skin from sun damage, reducing dark spots. And ultimately, vitamin C gives youthful skin.

What is Niacinamide

Niacinamide or nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B₃ found in food and used as a dietary supplement and medication. Generally, it occurs in meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and cereals. Nicotinamide is important for treating pellagra. Moreover, nicotinamide is essential for the body’s metabolism of fats and sugars and for maintaining healthy cells. When taken too much, niacin is converted to niacinamide. Unlike niacin, nicotinamide doesn’t help treat high cholesterol.

Vitamin C vs Niacinamide

Figure 2: Niacinamide

Moreover, nicotinamide is vital in treating vitamin B3 deficiency and related conditions like pellagra. Also, it is essential in treating acne, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, aging skin, skin discoloration, and many other conditions.

Similarities Between Vitamin C and Niacinamide

  • Vitamin C and niacinamide are two water-soluble vitamins.
  • They are essential for a healthy and brightly-looking skin. 

Difference Between Vitamin C and Niacinamide


Vitamin C is found mainly in citrus fruits and green vegetables. It is essential in maintaining healthy connective tissue and is also thought to act as an antioxidant; severe deficiency causes scurvy. Meanwhile, niacinamide refers to a compound C6H6N2O of the vitamin B complex found especially as a constituent of coenzymes and used similarly to niacin. 


Vitamin C is ascorbic acid while niacinamide is vitamin B3.


Vitamin C is better for pigmentation and dull and tired-looking skin, while niacinamide is better for acne and spot-prone skin. 


Vitamin C evens out and brightens the skin tone, increases collagen production, and provides antioxidant protection, while niacinamide regulates sebum production and reduces inflammation.   

FAQ: Vitamin C and Niacinamide

Does niacinamide fade dark spots?

Niacinamide stimulates the keratin and collagen synthesis. Therefore, it increases the skin’s elasticity while maintaining healthy skin. Also, it helps to lighten dark spots by acting as a humectant and antioxidant. Hence, it reduces pore size over time. Additionally, niacinamide is essential to treat redness, hyperpigmentation, breakouts, eczema, and many other skin conditions.  

What is better than niacinamide?

Hyaluronic acid is better than niacinamide. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Also, it better promotes the hydration of the skin. 

Who should not use niacinamide?

Niacinamide might worsen the gallbladder disease. Also, it might cause ulcers. 


In brief, vitamin C and niacinamide are two water-soluble vitamins essential in keeping healthy skin. Vitamin C is necessary to even out and brighten the skin tone. Also, it increases collagen production. Additionally, it regulates the sebum production. In comparison, niacinamide is vitamin B3. However, it acts on acne and spot-prone skin. Also, it holds sebum production and reduces inflammation. Therefore, the main difference between vitamin C and niacinamide is their effect on the skin.    

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C): Medlineplus drug information. MedlinePlus. 
  2. WebMD. (n.d.). NIACINAMIDE: Overview, uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, dosing and reviews. WebMD. 
Image Courtesy:
  1. L-Ascorbic acid” By Yikrazuul – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
  2. Nicotinamide 3D ball” By Jynto – Own Work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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