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Also-called-like-this: vitamin B3, nicotinamide

Quick Facts

  • A multi-functional skincare superstar with several proven benefits for the skin
  • Great anti-aging, wrinkle smoothing ingredient used at 4-5% concentration
  • Fades brown spots alone or in combination with amino sugar, acetyl glucosamine
  • Increases ceramide synthesis that results in a stronger, healthier skin barrier and better skin hydration
  • Can help to improve several skin conditions including acne, rosacea, and atopic dermatitis

Geeky Details

Niacinamide, or as us normal people call it vitamin B3, is a real skincare superstar that has had so many studies and has so many skin benefits that we have to warn you that this "geeky details" description will not be short. 

Just as an intro a couple of thing about the stuff itself: it's a water-soluble vitamin that usually comes in white powder form. It is odorless and has a salty, bitter taste. It can be found in meat, fish, wheat and small amounts in vegetables. The version used in cosmetics is produced exclusively synthetically.

Let's look at all those skin benefits:

#1: Anti-aging, wrinkle-smoothing properties: With age, our skin tends to slow down in many ways. One of them is in producing important proteins, such as keratin, filaggrin, and involucrin, at a slower rate. Reduced amounts of these proteins results in poorer skin structure, reduced skin elasticity, and more wrinkles. Studies show that niacinamide can boost collagen production as well as the production of these three important proteins. That means improved skin structure and fewer wrinkles. FYI, anti-aging studies usually use 4-5% niacinamide daily for 8-12 weeks, so if you are after the anti-aging benefits try to choose a product that tells you the exact percentage of niacinamide it contains. 

#2: Skin-lightening properties: Hyperpigmentation or brown spots are really stubborn and honestly it can be really hard to make them disappear just by topical products. What you can expect for them is to fade a little and niacinamide is a great ingredient to help with that. Studies show that 2-5% niacinamide used daily for 8 weeks results in significant lightening of hyperpigmentation. When combined with amino sugar, acetyl glucosamine the results are even better.

What's more, niacinamide as a skin lightener works in a way different to most others. It suppresses the transfer of melanosomes (little spheres carrying the melanin pigment) from melanocytes (skin cells producing the melanin) to keratinocytes (skin cells in the top layer of the skin) while most other skin lighteners block an enzyme called tyrosinase (that plays an important role in melanin production). So if you want to mount a multi-front attack on the brown spots you can combine a niacinamide treatment with tyrosinase inhibitors like vitamin C, arbutin or kojic acid.

#3: Barrier repair functions: the skin barrier is the outer layer of the skin that is amazingly important at keeping the skin hydrated and healthy. The stuff between the skin cells consists mainly of free fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides. The amount and structure of these determine how healthy the skin barrier is. What studies have shown is that 2% niacinamide can increase the synthesis of free fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides that result in healthier and stronger skin barrier, decreased trans-epidermal water loss and better hydrated skin.

#4: Anti-acne properties: though niacinamide does not count as one of the gold standard anti-acne ingredients, if you have problem skin it's totally worth a try. It has sebum regulating and anti-inflammatory properties and a study that used 4% niacinamide for 8 weeks to treat acne found that 82% of those treated showed some improvement. What's more, the results were slightly better than with a 1% clindamycin gel, an antibiotics often used to treat acne.

#5: Other notable things: if the above four things are not  enough to convince you about niacinamide here are some more reasons! :)  Studies show that vitamin B3 can help to speed up epidermal cell growth (that slows down with age), it can help with wound healing, it can smooth the structure of the skin and it has also antibacterial and photo protective properties. Plus, it might also be useful for rosacea and atopic dermatitis probably because of its anti-inflammatory property. 

Well, that was long. Hope we could convince you that niacinamide is a skincare superstar and a must-try for pretty much everybody. :)

Show me some proof

  • Walocko, Frances M., et al. "The role of nicotinamide in acne treatment." Dermatologic Therapy (2017).
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 13 (4) – Dec 1, 2014, A review of nicotinamide: treatment of skin diseases and potential side effects
  • Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2014;27:311-315, Niacinamide - Mechanisms of Action and Its Topical Use in Dermatology
  • Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 2004 Apr;3(2):88-93., Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin.
  • Shalita, Alan R., et al. "Topical nicotinamide compared with clindamycin gel in the treatment of inelammatory acne vulgaris." International journal of dermatology 34.6 (1995): 434-437.
  • Navarrete-Solís, Josefina, et al. "A double-blind, randomized clinical trial of niacinamide 4% versus hydroquinone 4% in the treatment of melasma." Dermatology research and practice 2011 (2011).
  • Tanno, O., et al. "Nicotinamide increases biosynthesis of ceramides as well as other stratum corneum lipids to improve the epidermal permeability barrier." British Journal of Dermatology 143.3 (2000): 524-531.

Products with a known amount of Niacinamide

Other products with Niacinamide

Neogen Pink Cactus Liftmax Knit Mask The Saem Chaga Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream 2Sol Facial Recovery Booster ACO 25+ Protect & Restore Serum Allies of Skin Triple Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum Apothaka Barrier Support Serum With Niacinamide & Ceramides Aspect Extreme B17 Belei Dark Spot Solution Serum Bielenda Zielona Herbata Serum (Green Tea) Bioclarity Zen COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence CeraVe Repair Eye Cream Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum Dermatica Tretinoin 0.025% + Niacinamide 4% Easydew EX Repair Control Active Soothing Serum Elizavecca Cf-Nest 97% B-Jo Serum Elizavecca Witch Piggy Hell Pore Galactomyces Premium Ample Elizavecca Witch Piggy Hell-Pore Bifida Pure Ample Elizavecca Witch Piggy Hell-Pore Control Hyaluronic Acid 97% Fourth Ray Remedy From Nature Age Treatment Essence Geek & Gorgeous B-Bomb 10% Niacinamide Serum Good Molecules Niacinamide 10% Serum IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning Indeed Bakuchiol Reface Pads MD Skinical B3 Serum MD Skinical Soothing Hydromax ME+ Niacinamide & Zinc Booster Maelove Nia 10 Calming Serum Manyo Factory Galactomyces Niacin Special Treatment Essence Marks & Spencers Formula Absolute Skin Priming Booste Miamo Triple Brightening Cream Neogen White Truffle Hydramax Knit Mask Neogen White Truffle Serum In Oil Drop Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Overnight Purifying Gel Osmosis Clarify Vitamin A Blemish Serum Osmosis Renew Advanced Retinal Serum PCA Skin Hydraluxe Plaisir by Matas No Shine Oil Free Gel Pond's Clarant B3 Normal To Dry Skin Correcting Cream Purid Lab. Restoring Brightening Serum Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence Raiku Brightening Serum SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence Safi Dermasafe Rehydrate & Recover Night Moisturizer Safi Dermasafe Soothe & Hydrate Day Moisturizer Safi White Expert Replenishing Night Cream Scinic Peptide Ampoule 95 Scinic Propolis Ampoule