A decade ago, the only people who routinely talked about niacinamide were dermatologists. Now, the superstar ingredient is a frequent topic of discussion in Instagram and TikTok videos about radiance-boosting skincare. Niacinamide isn’t a new ingredient—in fact, its complexion-enhancing benefits have long been established through years of studies. But lately, it’s become a hero within the skincare world.
And for good reason. A form of vitamin B3, niacin—which converts into niacinamide in the body—is an essential nutrient found in good-for-you foods like salmon, tuna, and leafy green vegetables. When applied topically, niacinamide is a recipe for healthy skin, too. It offers so many benefits on its own, but it also pairs remarkably well with other skincare ingredients and can even make certain ingredients easier to tolerate. If niacinamide was a person, it would be that awesome friend who gets along with all different personalities and brings out the best in everyone.
Here are some of the ways that niacinamide can bring out the best in your skin.
1. Niacinamide helps restore and protect skin
Niacinamide is like strength training for your skin cells, giving them extra power to fight off external and internal stressors, which ultimately helps guard against the cell breakdown that contributes to skin aging. Niacinamide helps skin cells energize and repair themselves, specifically repairing damaged DNA and, because it’s a powerful antioxidant, reducing some of the harmful effects of UV rays.
In addition, niacinamide helps restore skin’s lipid layer which in turn strengthens your skin barrier, the outermost layer of skin responsible for keeping harmful stuff out and moisture and nutrients in. This helps the skin hold in moisture better and can improve texture so skin is softer and smoother overall. A well-functioning barrier also helps your skin tolerate stronger ingredients better, thereby reducing irritation.
2. Niacinamide is an all-star brightener
If you want to look more luminous overall, adding a niacinamide product to your regimen can deliver the goods. The ingredient has been shown to reduce dark spots by preventing the transfer of pigment within skin. One study found that niacinamide significantly decreases hyperpigmentation and increases skin brightness after four weeks of topical use. The ingredient also helps crank up collagen production, which is key for even-toned skin. But keep in mind, niacinamide doesn’t put the brakes on pigment production, so for significant uneven tone or pigment issues, you may want to add a stronger melanin inhibitor like vitamin C to your regimen. The good news is, vitamin C and niacinamide play well together, even in the same product, so you can double up on both ingredients to achieve maximum brightness. Try our It’s A Miracle 8 Minute Mask, which contains both niacinamide and vitamin C, for instant and long-term luminosity.
3. Niacinamide fights wrinkles and boosts the overall look of skin—without irritation
Any ingredient that stimulates collagen production will help smooth out existing lines and wrinkles and help prevent new ones from forming, even skin tone and clarity, and minimize the appearance of pores. But unlike retinoids or vitamin C, niacinamide does all this without irritating the skin, thanks to the ingredient’s strong anti-inflammatory properties. In a clinical, double-blind study, women with light skin who applied a 5% niacinamide product to their face for four weeks showed significant improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, redness, sallowness (i.e. yellowing), and skin elasticity. Our PUREVOC All Day Glow Face Cream is rich in niacinamide.
People with sensitive skin and rosacea tend to do well with niacinamide products, though always test a new formula on a small patch of skin for several days in a row before using it on your entire face.
4. Niacinamide may help reduce acne
The inflammation-fighting power of niacinamide seems to reduce acne, which is an inflammatory condition. Numerous studies have linked niacinamide to a reduction in acne, though skin pros say more evidence is needed comparing niacinamide to first-line acne treatments to truly quantify its pimple-busting power. But since niacinamide complements tried-and-true acne treatments like salicylic acid, retinols, and benzoyl peroxide, there’s no harm in adding a niacinamide product to your regimen.