Our site is reader-supported. When you buy a product via our links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Read full disclosure here.
Table of Contents
- What is Niacinamide.
- Niacinamide Skin Benefits.
- Niacinamide Side Effects.
- Best Skincare Products With Niacinamide.
- Possible Questions & Answers.
Every now and then a new skincare ingredient starts making waves in the beauty industry, of course this has been how it turns out to be for years. The likes of vitamin C has become dominant in the industry market, just like some other skincare ingredients too, but this time niacinamide has joined the game and trust us, it’s definitely here to stay.
You may have been seeing niacinamide present in the list of ingredients labeled on your skincare products and you may be wondering WTF is niacinamide, you know what? You’re definitely not alone, we’ve received some couple of mails lately asking to shed light on what niacinamide really is, how it works and its benefits to the skin and we thought to ourselves why not? Therefore, if you’re interested and curious to know what niacinamide really is, then this article is definitely for you, as we’ll detail out niacinamide skin benefits and everything you need to know about it (as a beginner/newbie).
What is Niacinamide.
Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as nicotinamide, vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid.
As a water-soluble vitamin, it doesn’t and won’t dissolve in oil. Therefore you’ll only find niacinamide in water-based serums and moisturizers. This is perfect for anyone whose skin hates oils and oily solvents, especially individuals with oily skin.
Niacinamide is not synthesized in the body, which simply means the body doesn’t produce it.
To reap its full benefits we have to eat or ingest it into our body through food or supplements or topically applied on our skin.
According to healthline, Lack of niacinamide or vitamin B-3 deficiency can lead to skin, kidneys and brain disorders. Therefore it’s advised to take niacinamide rich foods or supplements to curtail B-3 deficiency.
A research study also proved, niacinamide readily penetrates into the skin, therefore we don’t have to rely 100% on our diets and supplements to reap its full benefits. As we can also benefit from using them topically. However, it is important to determine if the ingredient is delivered in sufficient concentrations to its intended target in the skin to produce the desired effect.
Talking about stability, niacinamide is also one of the more stable active ingredients in skincare, with a pH around neutral. So unlike alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and retinoids, it is non-acidic and non-irritating which is perfect for individuals with sensitive skin type.
Niacinamide Skin Benefits.
Now over to the curious question, what are the skin benefits of niacinamide?. Well, your taste of curiosity is about to be quenched. Keep reading to see what niacinamide can do.
1. Reduces Redness.
More especially for individuals with sensitive skin, their skin can turn red when exposed to harsh chemicals or skincare ingredients as a sign of irritation.
When applied topically, niacinamide calms skin reddness by Improving the function of the skin barrier, which lessens irritation and reddening.
This report study proved that a 5% niacinamide moisturizer improved the appearance of blotchy red skin and calmed down skin reddening. While this study proved it improved skin barrier function and hydrated the skin which is beneficial for those with rosacea.
2. Fades Hyperpigmentation.
Niacinamide not only clams skin reddness but also helps fades the appearance of hyperpigmentation, age spots and melasma by inhibiting the production of free tyrosinase.
This report study found that with as alittle as 2% niacinamide significantly decreased the appearance of hyperpigmentation after four weeks of treatment.
Also, this research study proved that 4% niacinamide improved the appearance of melasma in twenty-seven melasma patients after eight weeks of treatment. Which is comparable to 4% Hydroquinone.
3. Reduces Wrinkles.
Just like retinol or retiniods reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, same applies to niacinamide too.
Niacinamide decreases the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines by stimulating collagen production in the dermis and also Improves skin barrier function which in turn keeps the skin supple, hydrated and firm.
According to this study, a 4% niacinamide improved the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
4. Treats Acne.
Acne being the 8 most common skin disease in the world can actually be treated with niacinamide just like topical retiniods treats acne too.
As a potential antioxidants niacinamide contains anti-inflammatory properties which makes it a great treatment for acne.
This research study reported that 4% niacinamide gives a comparable result to 1% clindamycin, (a topical antibiotic) to treating moderate acne and it doesn’t have the risk of bacterial resistance. Plus niacinamide is much milder on the skin while treating acne unlike retiniods and benzoyl peroxide. So, if you’re seeking for a more milder treatment for acne then niacinamide is your best bet.
5. Fights Free Radicals.
Just like vitamin C, niacinamide (as a potent antioxidant) also fights free radicals, protects the skin from environmental stressors and aggressors. According to this study, It “increases the antioxidant capacity of skin after topical application.”
6. Hydrates The Skin.
Niacinamide literally hydrates the skin which will significantly benefit individuals with dry skin. As a water-soluble vitamin, it can treat dry skin by increasing hydration at the outermost layer of the skin.
In a research study which reported that, 2% niacinamide significantly decreased water loss and increased hydration in Twenty-eight patients with atopic dermatitis. The research study also compared niacinamide with petroleum which proved that niacinamide cream was more effective in moisturizing the skin than white petrolatum. Another research study proved that niacinamide alleviates dry skin, increase hydration, lessen inflammation and thicken stratum corneum.
7. Improves Skin Barrier.
As a water-soluble vitamin, niacinamide Improves the barrier function of the skin by reducing transepidermal water loss and increases the moisture content of the stratum corneum, which results in a thicker and stronger barrier. Niacinamide functions similarly to hyaluronic acid which is popularly known as a “moisture magnet” which pulls moisture from the atmosphere into the skin, improving hydration, suppleness, smoothness, and also helps improve the skin barrier and thicken the stratum corneum.
8. Anti-Aging Benefits.
Niacinamide possess anti-aging benefits which helps in a way to slow down skin aging signs such as wrinkles, fine lines folds and reduces sallowness (a skin that has lost its natural complexion due to oxidative stress). This study reports that niacinamide significantly reduced the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, sallowness (yellowing) hyperpigmentation, red blotchiness and enhaced elasticity. This study also reported the same significant result.
9. Protects Skin From UV Rays.
Research has shown that niacinamide has some photoprotective properties.
This research study found that niacinamide provides broad-spectrum protection and protects against immunosuppression caused by UVA and UVB, making it “a promising agent for skin cancer prevention.” This study says it protects against photocarcinogenesis (a solar UV radiation). While this study showed that niacinamide aids in DNA repair after UV damage.
10. Smoothen Texture & Shrink Large Pore.
Having small pores and smooth skin texture is what everyone is dying for, and you know what? Niacinamide can give your skin just that. Niacinamide can shrink pores making them smaller. According to dermatologytimes, “niacinamide clinically reduces pore size, and improves skin texture.”
What’s really the science behind niacinamide shrinking pores?
Niacinamide actually has the ability to shrink pores due to its ability to reduce sebum production.
When the pores are clogged with dead skin cells, and excessive oil it looks larger than normal.
So, with less oil, they’re not going to be as stretched out. And with smaller pores, the skin texture looks softer and smoother.
Niacinamide Side Effects.
Typically, niacinamide is considered safe for all skin types and significantly has no side effects. It can be topically used at high doses (at least up to 5%) and is generally well tolerated.
Niacinamide is one of the safest and potent vitamin (antioxidant) that can be used during pregnancy unlike retiniods, and other acids.
Most research studies and reports got best results using 2% to 5% niacinamide, however, there are some topical skincare products in the market with 7% to 10% niacinamide. Therefore, it’s best recommended to speak with your board-certified Dermatologist to know if you can use higher concentration or not.
Should incase you do experience irritation from a niacinamide product, it’s probably another ingredient in the formula. According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, “it likely was one of the preservatives in the product causing the irritation, not the niacinamide itself.”
However, In some rare cases, Niacinamide can cause irritations such as reddness especially when used in higher concentration or if you happen to be sensitive to niacinamide (which is rare)
In a thread posted to the AsianBeauty subreddit in 2017, one user shared how they had a serious reaction after adding a 5 percent niacinamide serum to their routine. “My face was red, especially my cheeks and nose, and my nose had broken out in a weird, clustered way,” they wrote.
After eight months of trying different products, they finally discovered that niacinamide was to blame for the redness and irritation. “For some reason, I have a weird, hateful reaction to one of the most effective and common brightening ingredients on the market,” they shared.
These reactions can occur although, unlikely, so it’s best recommended you speak with your dermatologists before using high niacinamide concentration or if you think you may be sensitive to niacinamide do a patch test on your forearm, leave for 5 minutes, if it turns red, discard use. But if it doesn’t, then you’re good to go.
It’s best to go for lower concentration 2% – 5%. But if you think your skin can take higher concentration, then it’s best advised to speak with your dermatologist and don’t forget to do a patch test as recommend before using. But nevertheless, niacinamide is a gentle soul to the skin.
Best Skincare Products With Niacinamide.
1. SkinCeuticals B3 Metacell Renewal.
An ultra-lightweight serum with 5% niacinamide in combination with 2.5% peptides and 15% glycerin to diminish and prevents the appearance of hyperpigmentation, photo-aging such as deep wrinkles, fine line, folds and Increases skin hydration which strengthens skin’s moisture barrier.
2. Paula’s Choice BOOST 10% Niacinamide.
With as high as 10% niacinamide concentration, this soothing-fluid, lightweight formula minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone and wrinkles. Acts as a booster as they call it. Designed to boost the results of your serum or moisturizer towards promoting skin barrier function, calms skin irritations and enhances hydration.
3. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM.
A night face moisture-rich and light-weight moisturizer with 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and of course niacinamide to keep your skin hydrated all night long leaving your face supple, smooth and well moisturized in the morning.
4. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.
The ordinary product. Richly infused with 10% niacinamide in combination with 1% zinc to regulate sebum, balance visible aspects of sebum activity, minimizes pores and increase hydration in the outermost layer of the skin.
5. SKIN INC Supplement Bar Vitamin B3+ Serum.
A powerful concoction. Enriched with 4% niacinamide in combination with hyaluronic acid (a moisture magnet) to fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, even the skin tone, strength the skin’s barrier and optimally hydrate the skin.
6. PCA Skin Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum.
Another potent 6% Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) Brightening Serum in combination with Mulberry extract, Green Tea extract, Oligopeptide-51 and Plankton extract to lighten up hyperpigmentation such as dark spots, age spots, acne scars, melasma, even up your skintone, diminish wrinkles, fine lines and other skin aging signs. Strengthen skin’s barrier function and calms irritations. Oh, not to forget it keeps the skin hydrated to the optimum level.
7. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense.
You’ve got stubborn dark spots? Melasma? Acne scars? Then worry no more, SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense is at your rescue. This potent light-weight formula combines 5% Niacinamide to strengthen skin barrier, calm redness, increase hydration, in combination with 3% Tranexamic acid to minimize stubborn skin discoloration and dark spots and 1% Kojic acid to fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation and even the skintone.
8. Verso Hydration Serum.
Revitalize your skin by restoring lost moisture and strengthen its barrier with Verso Hydration Serum. This water-like, ultra-lightweight formulation is enriched with niacinamide, ceramides, and vitamin E to quench hydration improves skin complexion and texture.
9. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid.
Sooth irritation, hydrate your skin, get rid of blackhead and gently exfoliate your skin with COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. A combination of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid for optimum hydration and skin barrier strengthening.
10. COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid.
Perhaps you prefer a formulation with niacinamide, glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid? Then COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid is your best option. This formula combines 3 powerful Ingredient not only to minimize large pores, regulate sebum, enhance skin barrier and increases hydration but also serves as an anti-inflammatory acne and whitehead treatment that gently exfoliates skin for a brighter complexion.
11. Colorescience All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector SPF 50.
Regulate sebum, enhace your skin barrier and minimize hyperpigmentation appearance and aging signs with Colorescience All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector SPF 50. A 3-in-1 treatment (with niacinamide) that calms, soothes, reduces the visible appearance of redness and protects your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun, thanks to SPF 50.
12. PEACH & LILY Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream.
A moisture-rich moisturizer, enriched with niacinamide and flooded with other wonderful skincare ingredients to rehydrate the skin, diminish skin aging signs, calms Irritation and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation dullness and enhances radiance.
Possible Questions & Answers.
Q: Can I combine Niacinamide & vitamin C?
A: Yes, as great vitamins and antioxidants, the combination of vitamin C and niacinamide will be great. Considering both benefits to the skin.
Q: Can niacinamide be combined with other skin care ingredients for maximum effect?
A: Definitely yes. Niacinamide can be combined with other skincare ingredients for more optimum result. Skincare ingredients like, retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHA, vitamin C, and all types of antioxidants. Infact Niacinamide is a versatile skincare ingredient and not only is it friendly with the skin, but also with other skincare ingredients.
Q: Can I use niacinamide during pregnancy?
A: Typically niacinamide is safe to use during pregnancy just like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and peptides as they are generally considered safe during pregnancy— there’s no research proving there’s a problem for topical use.
Q: Is niacinamide same as naicin?
A: Niacinamide isn’t the same as naicin. Although, they may have some similarities but they are both different forms of vitamin B-3. This fact justifies that.
However, your body can make niacinamide from niacin supplements you’ve taken. This happens when there’s an excessive amount of niacin in the body. Tryptophan in the body can also be converted into niacinamide.