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When to Use Niacinamide in Your Skin Care Routine

Regardless of when you use niacinamide, your skin will be better for it.
November 13, 2023

has been used on the face of skin care enthusiasts, dermatologists and other experts alike — and it deserves its moment in the spotlight. Even if you’re new to creating a skin care regimen or just stick to a simple routine, there’s a good chance that this popular skin care ingredient is already in your routine. 


If you’ve ever wanted to fade dark spots, reduce sebum on your skin or even brighten your complexion, you’ve likely interacted with the B vitamin. Of course, you still may be wondering if you’re maximizing niacinamide’s use in your skin care routine. Here, learn when to use niacinamide properly and how to add the hero ingredient to your routine for the best results. 


What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B that offers many skin benefits — including the ones previously mentioned — like boosting hydration and reducing fine lines and wrinkles, per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). It’s found in many different forms of skin care products like moisturizers, serums and even face cleansers, making it easy to add to your skin care routine. All skin types can benefit from niacinamide and should consider adding it to a routine for the overall health of the skin. 

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When Should You Use Niacinamide in Your Routine?

Niacinamide is considered a hero ingredient for many reasons and a big one is how useful it is for all ages and all skin types. “We see [niacinamide] in all sorts of skin care because it's soothing,” explains Michelle Henry, MD FAAD, NYC-based board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant. 

“We even see it in skin care for kids sometimes. So, it's not necessarily that you have to add it at a certain time. If you're using it in a concentrated form like a serum, again, [you could use it] at any point in life.” You can use niacinamide in your daytime or nighttime routine and even layer it with some active ingredients (including exfoliants like glycolic acid and salicylic acid) without causing irritation to the skin, according to Dr. Henry.

If you’re looking for a niacinamide serum, try L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum as part of your morning and evening routines. Simply apply the face serum after you wash your face and before you put on your moisturizer. Instantly, skin looks luminous and refreshed, and over time with continued use, dark spots appear reduced and skin tone looks more even.

If you’re in need of a moisturizer with niacinamide, you can use L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Pressed Night Moisturizer with Retinol + Niacinamide at night. This face cream is packed with two powerhouse anti-aging ingredients (retinol and niacinamide) to deeply moisturize skin while playing defense against wrinkles, uneven skin tone and dullness. Just make sure you don’t skip sunscreen the next morning (no matter what ingredients you’re using at night) as the NCBI points to retinol as a culprit in skin’s increased sensitivity to the sun. 

As part of your morning skin care routine, apply a layer of L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion to your entire face for protection from the sun. This broad-spectrum SPF is lightweight, non-greasy and absorbs quickly into the skin. Make sure you apply your broad-spectrum sunscreen at least 15 minutes before being exposed to the sun and re-apply every two hours (or more frequently if you get sweaty or wet), per the AAD.


How Often Can You Use Niacinamide?

Dr. Henry says that it’s okay to use niacinamide twice a day (in the morning and in the evening), but advises that more than that could be excessive. As with any skin care ingredient, pay attention to its effect on your complexion to determine if you need to change its use in your regimen. 

If your skin is tolerating niacinamide well you should notice reduced inflammation, minimized pores and faded dark spots. Some flushing may occur with excessive application, confirms Dr. Henry, which may prompt you to reduce niacinamide use to once a day. 

What Should You Not Layer Niacinamide With?

Technically, no one should be playing skin care professional unless they are one — so mixing actives is out of the question unless advised by your dermatologist. That doesn’t mean you have to stop using ingredients that work for you in order to add something new to the mix. Simply reach for pre-mixed formulations perfected by the experts. 

As mentioned previously, niacinamide is one of those ingredients that typically plays well with other ingredients. Dr. Henry confirms that you can layer niacinamide in the same routine with retinol, vitamin C and many other active ingredients. This is why niacinamide is often formulated in the same product as other actives. 

The aforementioned Revitalift Pressed Night Moisturizer with Retinol + Niacinamide is created with a soothing complex that includes niacinamide in order to offset the potential irritation and dryness that comes with using retinol.

”We use [niacinamide] a lot in topical treatments for its anti-inflammatory properties. So you'll see it even in over-the-counter moisturizers,” she says. “It's synergistic when you pair it with other fading treatments or brightening treatments. We can see why it's just wildly proliferating throughout skin care.”

Can You Use Niacinamide If You're Using Retinoids?

Yes, niacinamide and retinol can be used together. One online study showed that a topical formulation of retinol and niacinamide and glycolic acid had highly favorable results. As always, you should consult with your skin care professional before layering any active ingredients onto the skin and you should never mix formulas together unless instructed to by a dermatologist. 

If you’re still unsure about layering ingredients, you can always separate them in your routines — aka use niacinamide in your morning skin care regimen and retinol only at night. You can also reach for a product that already includes both ingredients — you can trust that a cosmetic chemist ran trials to not only ensure the efficacy of the product, but also its safety when applied to the skin. 

Which Is Better: Niacinamide Serum or Niacinamide Moisturizer?

If you’re already using a niacinamide skin care product and it’s working for you then carry on. The truth is, niacinamide serum isn’t better than niacinamide moisturizer or vice versa — it all comes down to preference and efficacy. If you want a really targeted treatment, Dr. Henry recommends incorporating a niacinamide serum into your routine. The best part is that L’Oréal Paris has both a face serum and a night cream that you can use to add niacinamide to your routine, so no matter what you prefer, you have options.

Next: Can You Use Niacinamide With Vitamin C?

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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