Star Ingredient: Niacinamide

Niacinamide-containing Korean skin care products

Few skin care ingredients make me as happy as niacinamide does. Niacinamide is one of the few actives that I actively (ha, ha) seek out in my skin care products, and I’m always a little disappointed in products that don’t contain any. I just can never get enough of the stuff. Here’s why.

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is another name for vitamin B3. As an ingredient in topical skin care products, it has been shown to be antioxidant and to have a variety of other benefits. It is a cell-communicating ingredient, which means that niacinamide actually alters the behavior of skin cells, rather than simply creating a temporary, superficial effect on the skin.

Niacinamide’s benefits for hyperpigmentation and skin brightening

One of the most well studied and well known benefits of niacinamide is its ability to fade hyperpigmentation and brighten overall skin tone. Niacinamide does so by inhibiting the production of melanin in the skin. In Japanese and Korean skin care products, therefore, you’ll often see niacinamide in quality skin brightening and lightening products. (Source)

Niacinamide for anti-aging and wrinkle prevention

If you’re concerned about preventing wrinkles and slowing the aging process, niacinamide offers benefits in that area, too. Niacinamide has been shown to increase skin elasticity and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, making niacinamide-containing products valuable additions to a solid anti-aging skin care routine. (Source)

Effects of niacinamide on overall skin health

In addition to the big two benefits of brightening and anti-aging, niacinamide also produces other notable improvements in skin condition over time. Niacinamide can decrease sebum production, a compelling benefit for those who struggle with oily skin. It can also stimulate skin to produce more natural lipids and strengthen skin’s overall barrier function, helping those with dry and dehydrated skin that loses moisture easily. Niacinamide can lessen the appearance of acne and redness by soothing inflammation. Finally, in conjunction with sunscreen, niacinamide’s antioxidant properties help to protect skin from further UV damage. (Source)

Where can I find niacinamide?

Luckily for anyone interested in the skin benefits of niacinamide, this is a very common ingredient, found in both Asian and Western skin care products. I use many niacinamide-containing products for face, and even my body lotion, Olay Quench in the Shimmer formula, boasts niacinamide as one of its top ingredients. So the next time you’re in the market for a brightening, anti-aging, or overall skin-boosting product, take a look at the ingredients list and try to find one with niacinamide!

Niacinamide-containing Korean skin care products
A selection of the niacinamide-containing products I own. As you can see, I like niacinamide.

Do you use any products with niacinamide? How are they working out for you?

14 thoughts on “Star Ingredient: Niacinamide

  1. Hi Queen Fiddy – What product (serum, ampoule or other) has the most relative niacinamide? Also, any chance niacinamide can cause breakouts? I had that experience with an Olay product that had high levels of niacinamide, but have been okay with the Missha Longer Name Ampoule so far (few weeks).

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    1. Shark Sauce is ideal because it has 5% niacinamide and 3% n-acetylglucosamine. This combination at those concentrations is shown to be the most effective for lightening excess pigmentation/brightening skin.


      1. So far so good. I very unscientifically (bad immunologist, bad!) started using a few products concomitantly. Something I’m doing, either the prolonged use of mizon snail ampoule, missha first essence (old one), clinique even better essence for oily skin (curious your thoughts on the ingredients list btw) or Longer Name, or the combo is making my skin super duper plump and soft and glowier.

        No cystic acne or closed comedones for a good month now, zits come to a head faster and heal faster, the PIH (my melanocytes HATE EVERYTHING, i have like the donald trump of melanocytes) isn’t as bad and the old ones are fading faster.

        It could just be the hydration? I dunno. ‘Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty’ makes zoolander fishlips

        I would also luuurve your thoughts on the ingredient list for the Fresh Age Delay Toner. It feels like buttah…but its spendy.

        Thanks Queen Fiddy!!


  2. Hi! I came across your blog and have been reading it for a while. It’s very informative!

    If I want to incorporate niacinamide into my routine, is it ok if I just mix niacinamide powder (I bought some off amazon from bulksupplements) with water to create a rough 5% solution? I think I have enough humectants in my other products so I’m just thinking of spraying this on after my FTE.


  3. I just bought Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and was quite lost regarding how to use it not to interact with other products that I am using.For what I have been reading, I understand that it should not be used with AHA or BHA or Vitamin C. What about the toners that are BHA or AHA, like BENTON Aloe BHA Skin Toner and AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner? Are these strong enough to make the Niacinamide less or not effective? Or can they be used before applying Niacinamide? Thanks!


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