What Does Niacinamide Do? Niacinamide Benefits for Skin

With all the different active ingredients, antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients out there, it can be hard to keep up with all the different ingredients that make up your skincare. If you can’t even keep track of them, how do you know which ones are worth your time? 

We’re here to make it easier for you, at least when it comes to one skincare ingredient: niacinamide. 

Niacinamide is one of the most popular topical ingredients out there. It’s used in skincare products ranging from cleansers and exfoliants to eye creams and moisturizers. Not every ingredient can boast this kind of versatility. The reason why niacinamide is a part of so many different types of products is because it really does work. 

Today, we’ll break down this skincare ingredient, explaining how niacinamide benefits your skin and how you can add those benefits to your own skincare routine.

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B — vitamin B3, to be exact. This vitamin itself is actually called niacin, with niacinamide being only one type of niacin. Other types of niacin include nicotinamide, nicotinic acid, and inositol hexaniacinate. 

As a vitamin, all the different variants of niacin work together to help your body produce energy from good, create various hormones, and support your nervous and cardiovascular systems. While niacinamide plays a part in these larger processes, its real function in your body happens in your skin. 

How Does Niacinamide Work?

Different from other types of niacin, niacinamide supports your skin health. Instead of being ingested through food, topical niacinamides are absorbed directly through your skin

This provides two main benefits: 

  1. Topical niacinamides can reach your skin cells faster, targeting the exact area of the body the skincare ingredient is made to support. 
  1. Topical niacinamides can be made in higher concentrations, balancing out its limitations as a water-soluble vitamin and creating real results for your skin.

What Are the Benefits of Niacinamide for Your Skin?

Niacinamide is what dermatologists call a multi-purpose skincare ingredient. Unlike other products that serve only one purpose in your skincare routine, niacinamide works to support your skin in more ways than one . That’s why it can be found in so many skincare products: it has multiple benefits for your skin. 

Hydrates

One of the largest benefits of niacinamide — and what makes it a popular skincare ingredient, especially for those with dry skin — is its ability to hydrate the skin. 

Niacinamide works to reduce the amount of water that evaporates through your skin through a process called transepidermal water loss , or TEWL. While this water loss is completely natural, it’s not always great for your skin. 

“Moisture is crucial for supporting the skin’s health and appearance,” notes Melinda Hany, Registered Nurse. Without enough water, your skin can start to feel itchy, become red, or even flake off in places. This kind of dryness can also speed up signs of aging — making niacinamide an anti-aging skincare product, as it keeps the skin nourished and can prevent that kind of dryness. 

Supports Even Skin Tone 

Niacinamides can also even out your skin tone by working directly against the cause of hyperpigmentation: melanin transfer. 

Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition caused by an increase of melanin in the skin — which Hany notes are also known as “dark spots.” If left to complete the process, this darker pigment would push up from melanocytes deep within the skin until they reach the surface, where the pigment is visible through the skin barrier. 

But niacinamide interrupts this process , preventing the pigment from traveling up through the skin. If the pigment can’t reach the skin’s surface, it can’t cause hyperpigmentation. 

Promotes Radiance

Not only does preventing this kind of hyperpigmentation even out your skin tone, but this particular effect of niacinamide also leaves you with radiant skin. 

Without the dark spots and discoloration caused by hyperpigmentation, you’re left with an even complexion that is consistent from chin to forehead. Combine this with the hydrating effects of niacinamide, which keeps your skin smooth and supple no matter your skin type, from sensitive skin to acne-prone skin and more.

Helps Minimize the Appearance of Fine Lines

Another benefit of this skincare ingredient is the anti-aging effects of niacinamide. 

Niacinamide works to keep the skin hydrated, which can prevent early signs of aging. Additionally, this vitamin also minimizes signs of aging by reducing the appearance of fine lines on the skin. 

Niacinamide can encourage your skin to make more collagen — a powerful protein that provides structure and support to the different layers of your skin. Without collagen, your skin can become loose and struggle to bounce back, making it prone to wrinkles and fine lines. By helping your skin continue to produce collagen, niacinamide combats these signs of aging. 

Supports a Healthy Skin Barrier

But niacinamide doesn’t just support your skin through its own qualities as a B vitamin. It also supports the other nutrients in your skin. 

Some studies have shown that niacinamide actually increases your body’s production of ceramides and keratin , two key structures in your skin: 

  • Ceramides are a type of lipid in your skin that make up about 50% of your skin’s outer layer.
  • Keratin is a type of protein that protects your skin’s outer epithelial cells and helps keep your skin flexible. 

The more ceramides and keratin that are present, the stronger your skin barrier will be. By supporting these key structures, niacinamide works to strengthen your skin from the inside out. 

Helps Support Balanced Sebum Production

Alongside ceramides and keratin, niacinamide also helps your skin produce another essential building block for your skin barrier: sebum. 

Sebum is a type of oil produced by your sebaceous glands that helps lubricate your skin and lock in your skin’s natural moisture. Everybody needs sebum, whether you have oily skin or dry skin, because it is the driving force behind keeping your skin barrier strong. Niacinamide works to protect your skin by promoting regular sebum production in your skin. 

How Can You Incorporate Niacinamide Into Your Routine?

From its hydrating side effects to how it supports other important components of your skin, niacinamide is one powerhouse of a skincare ingredient. Plus, because its benefits are so vast, it makes its way into so many different kinds of skincare products. 

To help you find a starting point, we’ve put together a short list of some of the best niacinamide products out there, so that you can start using them in your own skincare routine. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm The Better B Niacinamide Serum

If you want to try out niacinamide as a serum, we recommend the Dr. Barbara Sturm The Better B Niacinamide Serum

This vitamin B serum is specifically designed to improve the look of your skin, combatting signs of aging at their source: skin texture, fine lines, sunken pores, and more. With the power of niacinamide, you can swap your skin concerns for a radiant and refined complexion.

SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3

If you want to try out niacinamide as a powerful emulsion, we recommend the patent-pending SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3

An emulsion is a type of lightweight moisturizer that blends together water and oil-based ingredients to create a product that is silky like a cream but has the refreshing feeling of a gel. This skincare product delivers all the hydrating benefits of niacinamide without weighing down your skin — and it targets skin texture too, giving you a brightening and glowing skin look after use. 

M-61 PowerGlow Pro+ Niacinamide+Neuropeptide Cream

If you want to try out niacinamide in a cream formula, we recommend the M-61 PowerGlow Pro+ Niacinamide+Neuropeptide Cream . In a clinical study, 100% of participants said skin clarity improved, 97% said skin looked smoother, more radiant, and more youthful, and 93% said skin looked visibly firmer and saw an improvement in skin's elasticity. 

This cream is packed with anti-aging skincare ingredients that will lift the look of your face — including a powerful peptide and glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid, just to name a few. Designed to moisturize and firm your skin, this product can transform your complexion. 

The Bottom Line

If it seems like niacinamide is in almost every skincare product on the shelf, that’s for a reason — it’s a powerhouse of a skincare ingredient. 

This water-soluble vitamin can do it all: hydrate your skin, even skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and even support your skin barrier. 

So don’t wait: to see these benefits of niacinamide in your own skin, give a topical niacinamide skincare product a try. 

Sources:

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Information | Mount Sinai

Niacinamide - mechanisms of action and its topical use in dermatology | National Library of Medicine

Top 6 Benefits of Niacinamide | Cleveland Clinic

Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin | National Library of Medicine

Influence of niacinamide containing formulations on the molecular and biophysical properties of the stratum corneum | National Library of Medicine

Transepidermal Water Loss - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Hyperpigmentation: Age Spots, Sun Spots & Liver Spots | Cleveland Clinic

The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer | National Library of Medicine

Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance | National Library of Medicine

Collagen | The Nutrition Source - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

What Do Ceramides Do for Your Skin? | Cleveland Clinic

Keratin: Protein, Structure, Benefits, Uses & Risks | Cleveland Clinic

The effect of 2% niacinamide on facial sebum production | National Library of Medicine

Emulsions - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf | National Library of Medicine