December 18, 2022/Skin Care & Beauty

Top 6 Benefits of Niacinamide

Use niacinamide to smooth, brighten and strengthen your skin

niacinamide gel

You may have seen niacinamide serum making the rounds in TikTok videos as one of the hottest new trends in skin care. Available in cleansers and moisturizers, this multitasking nutrient can help improve the health of your skin in more ways than you might’ve thought.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

“Niacinamide is one of those ingredients found in many skin care products to brighten skin, prevent signs of aging and treat conditions like eczema or acne,” says dermatologist Alok Vij, MD. “Niacinamide may be the ‘it’ product of the moment, but it’s been around for years and has staying power given its positive impacts on many skin conditions.”

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a type of vitamin B3, one of eight B vitamins that support many aspects of your health. Your body makes niacinamide when you have too much niacin in your body. Your body can also change an amino acid called tryptophan into niacinamide.

What does niacinamide do for my skin?

Niacinamide is a multipurpose skin care ingredient. It helps build keratin, a protein that maintains skin health. It’s also been shown to make your skin stronger, smoother and brighter.

“Niacinamide is used to treat acne and can help nourish and protect your skin, especially when it’s used with other products like retinol,” says Dr. Vij. “It’s a potent nutrient that rarely has side effects.”

Here are the top six niacinamide benefits:

1. Boost hydration

Niacinamide may enhance the function of your skin’s lipid barrier (a layer of water and oil that protects your skin). This helps lock moisture in and keep pollutants or other potential irritants out, making your skin more hydrated and less sensitive.

2. Calm redness

Niacinamide has been shown to ease inflammation, which can help calm redness due to conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema. It can also soothe irritation caused by strong exfoliants like retinol or glycolic acid that remove dead cells from the surface of your skin.

Advertisement

3. May reduce the appearance of pores

Nothing has been proven to reduce the actual size of your pores. But niacinamide may help minimize their appearance by helping keep your skin smooth and clear. It also may help regulate the amount of oil your glands produce, which can prevent breakouts and clogged pores.

4. Possibly protect against skin cancer

Niacinamide is a close relative of another B vitamin called nicotinamide. Oral nicotinamide supplements may help prevent new skin cancer or precancerous spots from developing in some people. But more studies are needed to confirm this benefit.

recent study also shows nicotinamide, the cousin of niacinamide, may increase the risk of triple-negative breast cancer in those who take the dietary supplement in high levels.

But using niacinamide in a skin care product and applying it topically is generally regarded as safe.

“You can even find niacinamide in some sunscreens these days,” notes Dr. Vij. “Just make sure you’re not using too many skin care products with it at once.”

5. Treat dark spots

Niacinamide is dermatologist-approved for brightening skin tone. Some research suggests skin care formulas with 5% niacinamide can also help lighten dark spots.

In one small study, a combination of skin brighteners including retinol and niacinamide reduced dark spots and fine lines. They also improved skin radiance and texture.

Advertisement

6. Reduce wrinkles and fine lines

This vitamin’s antioxidant properties may help protect your skin and aid its recovery from damage due to factors like aging, sun and stress. Some research has shown topical niacinamide can improve fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin sallowness.

How do I use niacinamide in my skin care routine?

Niacinamide can be used once or twice daily after gentle cleansing during your regular skin care routine. To maximize its benefits, apply niacinamide after applying a moisturizer. You can also combine niacinamide serum with your moisturizer and apply them together to your face and neck. Or try a face mask that contains niacinamide for skin recovery and relaxation.

How much to use

Most skin care products contain 5% niacinamide or less, but amounts can vary. Start slowly with a low concentration if you have sensitive skin. And talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about how to use it or potential side effects.

Pair it with other products in your routine

It’s often helpful to pair niacinamide with other skin care products to maximize its benefits. These include anti-aging formulas with antioxidant vitamin C or moisturizers with ceramides (fat molecules), as well as:

  • Glycolic acid.
  • Hyaluronic acid.
  • Retinol.
  • Supplements, such as copper, folic acid and zinc.

What are the side effects of niacinamide?

Niacinamide is generally considered gentle and safe to use on your skin. Rarely, it can cause:

  • Allergic reaction.
  • Itching.
  • Mild burning sensation.
  • Redness.

“If you’re concerned about potential side effects, do a patch test by applying a small amount on your forearm, and waiting 24 hours,” Dr. Vij advises. “Most of the time, you’ll be able to use niacinamide safely and discover your skin is all the better for it.”

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Fingers with globs of petroleum jelly above container
April 18, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Slugging: Does This Skin Care Trend Work?

Go ahead and get goopy to help boost hydration and repair damaged skin

Salmon over lentils and carrots
April 15, 2024/Nutrition
Psoriasis and Diet: How Foods Can Impact Inflammation

A well-balanced diet with anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce flare-ups and severity of psoriasis symptoms

Healthcare provider holding bottle of prescription medication
April 12, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
These Common Triggers Likely Cause Your Psoriasis Flare-Ups

Stress, infections, skin injuries and environmental factors can trigger an onset of psoriasis symptoms

Person sitting in a yoga pose with calming vegetation behind them
April 8, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
10 Easy Steps To Prevent and Manage Your Psoriasis Flare-Ups

Stick to your treatment plan, but keep your provider updated on any new symptoms or triggers

Wet plastic loofah hanging on shower knob
April 2, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Is Your Loofah Full of Bacteria?

This puffy shower accessory can become lodged with skin cells (and other gross things), so make sure you dry it daily and clean it once a week

Close up of face with rosacea on cheeks
March 21, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
6 Natural Ways To Find Relief From Rosacea

You can turn down the redness and soothe the irritation with natural remedies like green tea, raw honey and aloe vera

person getting forehead injections in a wrinkle
March 18, 2024/Aging Well
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Botox?

With repeat injections over time, you may be able to slow the development of new wrinkles

Smiling person holding small container of moisturizer close to face, with product applied to face
February 1, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
What Does Vitamin B5 Do for Your Hair and Skin?

Pantothenol is a powerful moisturizer and can help repair damaged skin and hair

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey

Ad