Niacinamide at a Glance
- Famous for visibly reducing enlarged pores and improving dull, uneven skin tone.
- Boosts skin’s barrier strength and hydration.
- Helps mitigate negative effects of environmental stressors.
- Also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinamide.
- Stable in the presence of light (which is unique for an antioxidant).
Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinamide) is a unique skin-restoring ingredient that offers a multitude of benefits for skin. It is best known for its ability to help visibly reduce enlarged pores and improve uneven/dull skin tone. It also strengthens a weakened skin barrier.
An advantage of niacinamide’s antioxidant power is that it can help visibly repair damage from UV light while offsetting other sources of environmental attack (including the negative impact of airborne pollutants). Another helpful benefit is that niacinamide helps fortify skin’s surface against moisture loss and dehydration by boosting its natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides. Studies have also shown niacinamide has a positive effect on reducing wrinkle depth.
Unlike many superstar anti-ageing ingredients, niacinamide is stable in the presence of heat and light. It is water soluble and presents as colourless needles or white crystalline powder in its raw material state.
Niacinamide offers benefits for skin starting in concentrations as low 0.2%, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel concluded it is safe in concentrations all the way up to 20%.
Myths about niacinamide’s incompatibility with other “bio-active” ingredients have been dispelled, and in fact, research overwhelmingly shows complementary effects of combining niacinamide with other key anti-ageing ingredients. In particular, we provide a deeper dive into the research and benefits of using niacinamide + retinol and using niacinamide + vitamin C together.
For an advanced understanding of niacinamide, see our article How Niacinamide Helps Skin.
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!