Niacinamide: Everything You Should Know

Niacinamide is not new to the beauty market, but we may still get confused thinking about its properties. Is it antiaging? Does it reduce breakouts? Is it brightening the skin? The list of questions is endless. Would you be surprised if I say niacinamide addresses everything from acne to wrinkles and suits all skin types? This ingredient is unique in its versatility and can’t be ignored by skincare enthusiasts like you.

What Exactly is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide, also known as niacin, is one of the forms of vitamin B3. It is a vital nutrient for our body because it supports many cellular processes, such as transforming food into usable energy and carrying out important chemical reactions.

The human organism doesn’t naturally synthesize niacinamide. We have to consume it orally or use it topically. Animal-based products like liver, chicken, turkey, and fish are rich in vitamin B3 but still can’t provide adequate levels of niacin for the skin as topical products.

What Does It Do for Skin?

Niacinamide is a multifunctional ingredient and can do the following:

How to Choose Skin Care Product with Niacinamide?

Today the market is saturated with niacinamide products. However, you shouldn’t blindly buy whatever you see in the store. Be wise and determine your skin type and concerns first. This is crucial because you’ll have to look for a formula with an appropriate concentration based on your skin needs.

The strongest topical niacinamide is 20%, but studies have observed benefits with concentrations between 2% and 5%. If there is no information about concentration on the physical packaging, the formula doesn’t contain a significant amount of niacinamide. It should be safe but probably not effective.

Unfortunately, FDA missed obligating skincare brands to disclose information about ingredient percentages. In the eyes of the law, this is not a big deal. But we are modern people and deserve to know what goes on the skin!


If you have dry, sensitive, rosacea-prone skin + you need to rehydrate, replenish, and improve skin tone, choose the niacinamide product with the lowest concentration – 2% – 5%. It can be toner, cream, or moisturizer.  

If you have normal, oily, combination skin + you need to get rid of acne, signs of aging, and hyperpigmentation, pick a niacinamide formula with the highest concentration – 5% – 10%. Serums with a high dose of active ingredients can be a perfect choice.

How to Use It?

There’s no reason to wait to incorporate vitamin B3 into your skincare routine. It can be a cleanser, toner, serum, and even moisturizer. Use a product with niacinamide once or twice a day, and remember you can combine it with almost every ingredient, except vitamin C. These two don’t like each other. If you apply them together, they become inactive; space them out. Use vitamin C in the morning and niacinamide at night.

Side Effects of Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a safe and well-studied nutrient. However, not all cosmetic products are created equal. There is always a chance that one of the additional components may cause side effects. So, do a patch test before putting any new formula on your face.

The redness, mild irritation, and blushing can appear as you start using niacinamide products. This reaction is rare. If it persists, try a product with a lower concentration.

Those who have allergy-prone skin should avoid high levels of niacinamide formula because it increases histamine. Consult with a dermatologist before starting to use vitamin B3 topically or orally.

How Long Does It Take to See the Effect?

Based on studies, you may see the effect within 12 weeks of using topical niacinamide. But remember, there is no one standard rule for everyone. While one may see the result within days, the other may wait for several weeks. Every case is unique!

Take-Home Points

  1. Niacinamide is a well-studied nutrient. Based on scientific discoveries, it demonstrates significant penetration into deep layers of the skin and shows clinical significance.
  2. Vitamin B3 is a stable ingredient. It’s not affected by direct sunlight or oxidation. There is no need to look for a dark bottle with a pump.
  3. Niacinamide compliments almost everything you have in your cosmetic arsenal.
  4. Niacinamide suits all skin types and resolves many skin issues.
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