Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, has been gaining more recognition as a very effective skin-restoring ingredient.   Used topically, it addresses the effects of acne and targets signs of aging.   Unsightly issues such as dullness, enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, weakened skin surface, and fine lines are visibly improved with continued use.   As an anti-inflammatory agent, niacinamide calms inflammation which often leads to acne.  It  controls pigmentation and lessens the appearance of pores.

Niacinamide improves skin by increasing protein synthesis (e.g., keratin, a key structural material that makes up the outer layer of skin).  It even weakens the impact environmental damage can have on skin.  Repeated exposure to UV rays from the sun weakens collagen and leads to wrinkles.  Niacinamide fights back by boosting collagen production.

It also reduces dryness, which gets worse with age.  By boosting ceramide production niacinamide stabilizes the epidermal barrier function by stopping transepidermal water loss which dehydrates skin.  Skin that is hydrated looks healthier, plumper and is less prone to redness and irritation.   Unlike other anti-aging agents such as retinol and vitamin C, niacinamide is stable in the presence of heat and light.

How do you know if the level of niacinamide in a skincare product will get results?  A double blind, left-right randomized study found that the use of 5% niacinamide significantly improved the appearance of skin.  White female subjects with fine lines, wrinkles, poor texture, and hyperpigmented spots applied 5% niacinamide to half of the face and a control to the other half twice daily for 12 weeks.  The study revealed participants had fewer dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, red blotchiness, and skin yellowing. Elasticity was also improved.


If you’re looking to get your hands on some niacinamide, here are 3 products worth consideration:

RESIST 10% Niacinamide Booster


RESIST 10% Niacinamide Booster by Paula’s Choice.  This 2017 Acne Awards winner is light and can be used alone or added to a serum or moisturizer.  It claims to dramatically improve uneven skin tone and refine the appearance of pore size.Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - 30ml

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary.  For $5.90, you can’t beat the price of this effective and light weight serum.  The Ordinary has brilliantly combined the blemish reducing power of niacinamide with Zinc.  Zinc is a mineral that helps soothe inflamed skin and balance oil production.

Both The Ordinary and Paula’s Choice products do have twice the amount of niacinamide needed to get good results.  (Remember the participants in the study only used 5% not 10% to treat their issues.) If you have sensitive skin you may want to apply these products only where you have enlarged pores.



Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream SPF30.  Although the level of niacinamide has not been disclosed, this product has effectively combined peptides, niacinamide and an spf.   It’s important to always, and I mean always, always, always use an spf when trying to tackle dark spots.  Sun rays darken skin including dark spots on your face, so protecting your skin with an spf will help prevent spots from darkening.

The above listed products are safe to combine with other skincare treatments including retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, and all types of antioxidants.  If you heard otherwise, it’s because research was conducted in the 60’s that is now outdated.   It suggested vitamin C and niacinamide were not stable or compatible.

However, the formula tested in those days was a far cry from the more sophisticated ones chemists create today. It also raised the concern that niacinamide would convert to nicotinic acid in the presence of vitamin C posing a risk of redness and sensitization.  You would have to expose your formula to very high heat for a long period of time for this to occur.  So unless you plan on torching your skincare products, you should be good to go.

Get the most from your niacinamide product by applying it to cleansed skin twice daily.  Remember to follow up with sunscreen when you use it in the morning.  Apply it before your moisturizer at night.

Join the Conversation

My favorite part of doing these posts is getting your feedback. Each week, I ask a question. This week, it is this:

Have you tried niacinamide and if so, what results did you get?

The information contained on this site is provided as an information resource only.  It is not to be used or relied upon for any treatment or diagnostic purposes.  This information is not intended to be patient education.  It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.   The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.   This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition, such as if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a mental condition.  Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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Hitoshi Murakami, Kazutaka Shimbo, Yoshiko Inoue, Yoshinobu Takino, and Hisamine Kobayashi, “Importance of amino acid composition to improve skin collagen protein synthesis rates in UV-irradiated mice,” Amino Acids. 2012 Jun; 42(6): 2481–2489, Published online 2011 Aug 23. doi:  10.1007/s00726-011-1059-z

Gehring W, “Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin,” J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004,

Bissett DL, Oblong JE, Berge CA, “Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance,” Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):860-5; discussion 865,

Zoe Diana Draelos, Akira Matsubara & Kenneth Smiles, “The effect of 2% niacinamide on facial sebum production,” Pages 96-101 | Received 07 Mar 2006, Accepted 20 Mar 2006, Published online: 12 Jul 2009,