May 4, 2020

What is Niacinamide and How Does it Benefit the Skin?

In the always-evolving skincare industry, skincare entrepreneurs need to stay informed regarding new, and not so new, popular ingredients. Continuous research and new studies of existing ingredients help improve everyday treatments for skin conditions. When a new study finds that a well-known ingredient assists in treating a skin condition, new or enhanced applications are developed for that ingredient. Skincare formulations of popular products and brands change to provide the most benefit to consumers. An excellent example of an ingredient where this is the case is niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B-3. The other form of Vitamin B-3 is nicotinic acid and is similarly effective since these two forms of vitamin B-3 can be converted into each other within the cells. 

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B-3. The blanket term for vitamin B-3 is Niacin. Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that has several benefits for skin, such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, addressing blotchiness and redness, and shrinking enlarged pores. It also decreases the impact of environmental damage to the skin. We obtain some of the benefits of niacinamide from the foods we eat, such as eggs, cereal, green vegetables, beans, fish, and milk. Topicals are an excellent way to boost the amount of niacinamide in our skin, reaping even more of the rewards that this ingredient has to offer. 

Topical Use of Niacinamide

Niacinamide is well-tolerated by all skin types, even sensitive skin or individuals who suffer from rosacea. It is therefore a great ingredient to enhance the benefits of almost any skincare formulation. It also works well in combination with other ingredients such as retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, all types of antioxidants and more. Even if niacinamide is not the main active ingredient in your skincare formulation, its touted benefits will boost the effectiveness of your skincare products. It is especially useful when added to a moisturizer, since it increases the hydrating ability of moisturizers, making the skin more resistant to moisture loss that can result in dry and flaky skin. 

Benefits of Niacinamide


Niacinamide boosts the natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides. Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules that help keep the skin strong and maintains its protective barrier, it also increases its ability to retain moisture. When the skin is depleted of ceramides, it becomes extra-sensitive and might develop dry, patchy areas on the surface.  


Studies show that niacinamide can help regulate oil production in the sebaceous glands, preventing the glands from going into overdrive and producing too much oil that clogs pores and causes breakouts. It might even be helpful for severe and inflammatory forms of acne that cause papules and pustules on the skin.    

Enlarged Pores

It is not clear how niacinamide is able to shrink enlarged pores, but studies show that it is able to normalize the pore lining, which keeps debris from getting backed up and clogging pores. This clogging of pores is what usually causes them to stretch and seem visibly larger. 


Studies with topical treatments containing a 5% concentration of niacinamide show it assists with hyperpigmentation. A 12-week study with a niacinamide-containing moisturizer found that there were significant improvements in the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation or dark spots on the skin.    

Adding Niacinamide to Your Skincare Formulation

Niacinamide works well as part of a multi-ingredient approach to skin care. Leave-on products with niacinamide seem to work the best, so consider products like serums, toners, and moisturizers when selecting a product to which you can include niacinamide. Most studies conducted used a concentration between 2% and 10%. Even though niacinamide is very well-tolerated, you should keep that range in mind when introducing niacinamide in your products.  

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