Niacinamide: A Marvel Skincare Ingredient

Niacinamide is a powerful, versatile ingredient that has captured the attention of cosmetic professionals, formulators, and consumers alike because of the great value it offers to all skin types. Looking to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin? Niacinamide is a game-changing ingredient that can help you achieve your skincare goals. Read on to find out more.


What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 (niacin) which plays an important role in energy metabolism and cell health. Niacin is generally found as niacinamide in animal-based products, such as meat and poultry, and as nicotinic acid in plant-based foods like nuts, seeds and green vegetables. Our bodies can naturally convert niacin and nicotinic acid to niacinamide/nicotinamide.

Historically, vitamin B3 was called vitamin PP, an acronym for pellagra-preventive. A deficiency of vitamin B3 or tryptophan leads to a disease called pellagra, which is characterized by the four D’s — diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and, if left untreated, death. Nicotinic acid and niacinamide can both treat pellagra.


Where can Niacin be found?

Niacinamide is a popular ingredient because it normally does not cause flushing or irritation making it suitable for all skin types. Niacinamide can be converted from nicotinic acid which can be found in brewer’s yeast, and some cereals. Niacinamide can also be found in some plant oils like Baobab Oil, Borage Oil, Black Cumin Oil and Chia Seed Oil. Other sources of Niacin are Anchovies, Asparagus, Avocado, Brown Rice, Chicken, Eggs, Green Peas, Liver, Mushrooms, Peanuts, Salmon, Sardines, Sunflower Seeds and Sweet Potatoes.


Health Benefits of Niacinamide?

Did you know that niacinamide has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties? When applied topically, it can effectively treat skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and acne. Additionally, it is an effective ingredient used in suncare products. Studies show that it holds promise to protect against melanoma because of its ability to enhance DNA repair in UV damaged skin.

The antioxidant properties help build skin cells (like keratinocytes) while also protecting them from environmental stresses and cell damage. It also increases the production of ceramides (lipids), which are essential for maintaining a strong skin barrier. By strengthening the skin’s protective barrier, it helps to retain moisture and keep the skin hydrated, resulting in a plump and healthy complexion.

Its ability to regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation, and minimize the appearance of pores makes it an excellent addition to acne-fighting skincare routines for dry skin, oily skin or combination skin.

Use of serums, creams and face masks which contain this wonder ingredient has been found to improve the appearance of aging. It improves skin elasticity, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, redness and skin sallowness. It is a powerful combatant for hyperpigmentation because it inhibits the transfer of melanin to surrounding cells.


How Niacinamide is used in Skincare Products

This marvel ingredient is a multi-tasker that offers so many benefits. Niacinamide can be included in serums, creams, face masks, and boosters as it can treat dryness, redness, hyperpigmentation, acne, wrinkles and much more.

So how is it used in skincare exactly? Niacinamide concentrations can vary between products, but most formulations are 10% or less. Sensitive skin formulations have lower concentrations of niacinamide for a milder effect. These formulas often have 5% niacinamide or less. Dermatologists recommend starting with products that contain a low dosage and work your way up when trying this active ingredient for the first time.

Products made for sensitive skin or to treat skin disorders with a low percentage of niacinamide normally produce visible results within three weeks. On the other hand, products formulated to treat conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation or wrinkles produce results after prolonged use of up to 8 – 12 weeks.


Niacinamide & Combination Ingredients

Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid are both water-based treatments designed for all skin types and especially for dehydrated, oily and acne-prone skin. Being moisturizing compounds, both ingredients can be used together offering their own benefits. Hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate and tighten the skin while niacinamide can help to regulate oil production and retain hydration.

A popular myth among skincare individuals is that Niacinamide and Vitamin C cannot be used together. However, these two ingredients offer a wealth of potential and complementary benefits when used safely. So why do some people believe that it is unsafe to combine the two? Dr. Meena Singh, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at KMC Hair Center, says that it “stems from outdated research using pure forms of niacinamide with ascorbic acid. They were combined at a very high temperature and shown to form nicotinic acid, which can lead to skin irritation.” Dr Singh explained that vitamin C and niacinamide can absolutely be used together but if in doubt, a dermatologist can always offer advice.

When layering these ingredients, dermatologists recommend that vitamin C is first applied on clean skin then left to dry before applying niacinamide. This will reduce the chances of experiencing side effects that may be caused when using products with high concentrations.

Combining retinol with niacinamide can enhance the benefits of these ingredients. Retinol is well-known for providing acne relief, hydration, and anti-aging effects. When layering products that contain niacinamide and retinol separately, it is recommended to apply the niacinamide product first to help reduce the side effects of dryness and irritation associated with retinol.



Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 that is a popular ingredient used in skincare. It can treat a variety of skin conditions and may enhance the benefits of other ingredients used in skincare products.