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 Description

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.

Niacinamide References

International Journal of Dermatology, February 2021, pages 166-173
Biomolecules & Therapeutics, July 2019, pages 562-569
Experimental Dermatology, February 2019, pages 15-22
Dermatologic Therapy, September 2017, ePublication
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 2017, page S116
International Journal of Pharmaceutics, March 2017, pages 158-162
Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America, May 2016, pages 145-152
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, July 2015, pages 405-412
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2014, pages 311-315
International Journal of Pharmacy, January 2013, pages 192-201
Dermatoendrocrinology, July 2012, pages 308-319
International Journal of Toxicology, September 2005, pages 1-31
Dermatologic Surgery, July 2005, pages 860-865
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, October 2004, pages 231-238
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2004, pages 88-93

See skin-restoring ingredients vitamin B3 nicotinamide nicotinic acid

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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!