Niacinimide: Brilliant Antioxidant or Over-hyped Ingredient

Mar 17, 2020
05:06 P.M.
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Niacinimide is the latest of a slew of popular “it” ingredients to catch the attention of skincare enthusiasts. But is it worth the hype?


Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 is popular with both commercial cosmetic formulators and dermatologists. offices for decades. Does it have a place in your skincare? Here is everything you need to know about niacinamide to decide if it's perfect for you.

What is niacinamide?



Niacinamide, a powerful antioxidant, is also known as nicotinamide. It is a form of vitamin B3 which is an essential nutrient in the body. B3 deficiency affects the skin, kidneys, and brain.


Niacinimide is especially important to the general health of the skin. There is still some research needed regarding the effects of topical niacinamide on conditions like acne and eczema.

Niacinimide vs. Nicotinic Acid


A common misconception when it comes to B3 is caused by the many different names its forms take. Nicotinamide is a specific amide form of B3.

Niacin, on the other hand, is the acid form of the vitamin. It is usually found at the drugstore and may cause unpleasant flushing of the skin while nicotinamide will not.

Benefits of Niacinimide


Like most other antioxidants, Niacinimide is extremely restorative and helps repair damaged DNA. It also reduces the immunosuppressive effects of UV rays. It also reduces signs of ageing like wrinkles.

Niacinamide has been linked to the prevention and reduction of brown spots as well as reducing redness due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help preserve hydration, strengthen the skin barrier, and improve the synthesis of healthy fats which makes skin appear more glowy.

What to Pair With Niacinimide


The best thing about Niacinimide is that it plays well with other products. In fact, it is one of the few skincare products that work better when paired with other ingredients.

"Concerning pigmentation specifically, nicotinamide is best paired with other ingredients like hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin, and soy, which can work synergistically on the 'pigment pathway' to best help clear brown spots and discoloration."

said board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon Jennifer Herrmann, MD.

Side Effects of Vitamin B3


While Niacinimide is generally stable and recommended for those with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin. However, in high concentrations, it may react.

It is recommended to start with a lower concentration (1-2%) of vitamin B3 and slowly build up. Overuse can cause some redness or dermatitis.

How To Use It


To get the best results from vitamin B3 to choose your product carefully. Ensure that the formula will effectively penetrate the skin.

Ensure the B3 products you choose have enough scientific studies backing their formulation. The best time to apply Niacinimide to the entire face in the morning and evening before heavier creams.

Products with Niacinimide


Dr. Dennis Gross B3 Adaptive Superfoods Stress Rescue Super Serum

Price: $74

A powerful serum developed by dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross. It is packed with niacinamide (B3), adaptogens, and superfoods to treat stress on the skin including acne, dullness, and signs of aging.


The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Price: $7

The Ordinary's formula has a high concentration of Niacinamide with 10%. It also has a zinc salt called pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible sebum production.