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3 Reasons You Should Be Using Niacinamide for Skin

This derm-favorited ingredient is worthy of all the hype.
November 24, 2023


It seems like these days everyone is talking about how they use niacinamide — and for good reason. It’s a powerful ingredient derived from vitamin B3 (a necessary antioxidant for the body) with amazing benefits in reducing visible signs of skin aging, hyperpigmentation, and other skin concerns, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). If you’re still questioning whether or not using niacinamide for skin is a good idea, allow this to serve as the final confirmation you need to add the skin-loving ingredient to your routine. 


Here, get the full scoop on topical niacinamide for skin with research-backed benefits and insight from Michelle Henry, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant. Also, discover the affordable drugstore favorites (a niacinamide serum and niacinamide moisturizer) that you'll want to add to your routine, stat.  


What Are the Benefits of Using Niacinamide for Skin?

Niacinamide is nothing short of a hero ingredient because it can tackle a number of different skin concerns. Below, learn more about how niacinamide can benefit your skin in three different ways. 


1. Niacinamide Helps Reduce the Appearance of Hyperpigmentation 

Over-the-counter products that include niacinamide have been proven effective, per the NCBI, when it comes to soothing redness. Along with that, it can also improve skin brightness by reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation on the face. 


Dark spots can happen to anyone and are described as any patch of darkened skin that may occur from too much sun exposure (aka sun spots) or from picking at pimples (post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation). Niacinamide has been studied by the NCBI as a proven ingredient in minimizing hyperpigmentation and reducing dark spots


Dr. Henry recommends using a concentrated niacinamide serum twice a day to target dark spots and pigmentation concerns. Our pick is L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum, which is formulated to visibly fade all types of dark spots, including the ones mentioned above. This serum is gentle enough for all skin types and can be used in both your morning and nighttime skin care routines. Don’t forget to use sunscreen. We love L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion for it's lightweight, non-greasy texture that won't leave visible residue on any skin tone. 


2. Niacinamide Helps Reduce the Appearance of Wrinkles

According to the NCBI, using niacinamide consistently helps smooth out tiny fine lines and creases on the face by encapsulating water inside the skin. In general, skin care ingredients are only as useful as how often they are used, so make sure you’re keeping up with your routine for the best skin possible. You can’t expect wrinkles to appear diminished if you use niacinamide every few days and neglect the rest of your skin care.


Target signs of aging with a nighttime face cream, like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Pressed Night Moisturizer with Retinol + Niacinamide, which offers a formulation of derm-recommended ingredients, like retinol and vitamin B3, to soothe and lightly exfoliate skin. Retinol and niacinamide work together to reduce wrinkles, even skin tone, smooth texture and brighten the complexion. 


This moisturizer is ideal for all skin types — even those with sensitive skin that may be easily irritated by retinol — thanks to the inclusion of a soothing complex of ingredients that helps balance the potentially drying effect of retinol. 


3. Niacinamide Helps With Acne

While exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are popular to combat acne, niacinamide is another derm-backed ingredient that can help target blemishes with a gentle formulation. “If you have acneic skin, [niacinamide] may help with that. It [also] may be a little bit mattifying,” confirms Dr. Henry


According to a study by the NCBI, niacinamide can help regulate the natural oil (sebum) that the skin produces, in turn, reducing breakouts caused by excess oil. It has anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce the swelling associated with acne and, when applied topically, can also reduce the appearance of acne scars. 


Who Can Use Niacinamide for Skin?

Niacinamide is safe for everyone, even those with sensitive or dry skin because it may be less irritating than other popular skin care ingredients — like acids which offer similar benefits as niacinamide. As with any skin care ingredient, consult with your dermatologist first and ease into using it as your skin gets acclimated to get the most benefits.


How Long Does Niacinamide Take to Work?

If you want to see results from your skin care routine, you have to be consistent. While niacinamide starts to work once you incorporate it into your routine, the NCBI reports that it can take eight to twelve weeks (or longer) to notice smoother skin and more even skin tone. The point is, be consistent. Just because you don’t see results with the naked eye does not mean it’s not working.


What Are Side Effects of Niacinamide?

Generally, niacinamide is well-tolerated by most skin types and Dr. Henry confirms this. That said, she also notes that topical niacinamide may lead to skin redness or itching, so if you experience this, stop use immediately and talk to your dermatologist. 

Dr. Henry notes that some can experience a little bit of flushing with niacinamide, but confirms this has less to do with ingredients and more to do with formulations. Some people have reported experiencing skin redness and discomfort when niacinamide is combined with other skin care ingredients. 

Next: What Is Niacinamide?


Photographer: Stephanie Price, Photo Assistant: Thomas Miller, Digi Tech: Sergio Colon, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Makeup Artist: Kelly Bellevue, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Rika Watanabe, Wardrobe Assistant: Fausti, Model: Anastasia Offutt

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