What is niacinamide and what can it do for your skin?

Vanessa Gibbs

Niacinamide is something of an “it” ingredient in skincare. Many people talk about how it’s transformed their skin, experts say it can help with almost any concern and many brands now sell products with niacinamide in like moisturisers, serums and cleansers. If you’re curious what all the fuss is about, but want to be sure the ingredient is right for you before adding it to your routine, we’re here to help. 

Here at Face Dr, our skin experts have decades of experience in the industry. We’ve helped thousands of clients find the right ingredients and products for them to get a healthy and glowing complexion.

Here’s what we’ll cover about niacinamide: 

  • What is niacinamide? 
  • What does niacinamide do for the skin? 
  • How does niacinamide work? 
  • How to use niacinamide
  • Who should (and shouldn’t) use niacinamide
  • Which ingredients can you use with niacinamide? 
  • The side effects of niacinamide 
  • The top products to try containing niacinamide

Want to skip the research and find out if niacinamide is right for you straight away? Book a free online skincare consultation with one of our skin experts. They’ll be able to analyse your skin, ask about your concerns then recommend the best niacinamide products to help, or if there’s a better ingredient out there for you instead.


We’ve shared our knowledge of many skincare ingredients before including lactic acid, glycolic acid and ceramides. Now, let’s get to niacinamide. 

woman with clear skin looking in mirror

What is niacinamide? 

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B-3 and is actually classed as an antioxidant. It can be found in grains, fish, meat and beans, as well as made in the lab for skincare products. It’s become hugely popular in the skincare world so you won’t have to look far to find it. You can find niacinamide in everything including serums, masks, moisturisers, cleansers and toners. 

It’s known as a multitasking ingredient as it can help with so many skincare concerns, from ageing to acne, oiliness to hyperpigmentation. As it’s anti-inflammatory, it can even help with skin conditions like acne and rosacea. 

What does niacinamide do for the skin? 

Here are the main things niacinamide can do: 

  • Control oil production 
  • Reduces the look of large pores 
  • Evens out skin tone 
  • Boosts hydration 
  • Reduces inflammation 
  • Clears blackheads and acne 
  • Smooths fine lines and wrinkles 
  • Boosts skin’s natural barrier to protect against damage 
  • Fades hyperpigmentation 
  • Reduces redness 

How does niacinamide work? 

Niacinamide communicates with the cells in our skin and essentially tells them what to do and how to function correctly. With this added ingredient, the skin soon starts healing itself from damage, protecting itself properly from harmful free radicals and making new skin cells which are fresh and healthy. 

Niacinamide also helps your body make other compounds that are important to the look and health of your skin. It can boost the production of keratin, which firms the skin, ceramides, which help to boost moisture, and collagen, which makes the skin look more plump and firm.

Man putting skincare product into hand

How to use niacinamide

How you use niacinamide all depends on which product with the ingredient you use. For example, most niacinamide products are designed to be used once or twice a day. But products with a stronger percentage may be used less often than that. Be sure to always follow the instructions from the product you’re using and get expert advice if you’re not sure.  

Who should (and shouldn’t) use niacinamide

Niacinamide is one of those ingredients that can work wonders for every skin type. Even those with sensitive skin or those who are prone to acne or rosacea can use it. It’s even safe for use when pregnant.

If you have oilier skin, look out for products with a higher concentration of niacinamide. Not only can your skin tolerate it more, but it’ll be especially beneficial at clearing up blackheads, shiny patches and excess oil.   

Those with more sensitive skin can try niacinamide cleansers and moisturisers as they aren’t usually as strong. Or you can simply try using the product once a day or once every other day instead of twice a day if you find it a bit irritating.  

Which ingredients can you use with niacinamide? 

When you introduce a new ingredient into your routine, you’ve got to check if it is compatible with the other ingredients you’re already using. 

Niacinamide works well with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, AHAs, salicylic acid and even retinol. However, there are some studies that show that it may not be effective when used with vitamin C. That’s because niacinamide may change the pH of vitamin C making it less effective. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use both in the same routine. You simply need to be aware of when you’re using each ingredient. You should wait at least 10 minutes after applying one before applying the other to give your skin a chance to absorb the first product. Or you can simply use them at different points in your routine, like a vitamin C serum in the morning and a niacinamide product at night. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your ingredients, your Face Dr skin expert can tell you exactly how to use each product and in what order. 

Swipe of skincare product


The side effects of niacinamide 

Niacinamide is generally considered a safe and gentle ingredient without many side effects. 

Some people may experience minor side effects like: 

  • Redness 
  • Itching 
  • Burning
  • Irritation 

However these will probably be very mild and go away on their own. If you’re worried about side effects, you can speak with a skin expert to get professional advice on how you should use a niacinamide product. 

Face Dr top tip: whenever you introduce a new ingredient or product into your routine you should always do a patch test to check for any reactions. Simply swipe a small amount of the product on your wrist or even behind your ear. Wait at least 24 hours before checking for any signs of irritation. If everything’s clear, you should be safe to use the product on your face with no problems. 

The top products to try containing niacinamide

Ready to try this ingredient for yourself? Here are our favourite niacinamide products to try: 

  • ZO Brightalive Skin Brightener — this serum contains niacinamide as well as ingredients like tranexamic acid and glycerin to protect, exfoliate and moisturise the skin all while brightening the complexion. 
  • ZO Exfoliating Cleanser — add niacinamide to your skincare routine with this daily cleanser. It also contains vitamin E and salicylic acid to protect the skin, minimise oil and exfoliate. 
  • AllSkin Med Pigmentation Control Serum — those looking to target dark spots and discolouration can try this serum which uses niacinamide, retinoids and kojic acid to lighten and brighten the skin.  

To find out more about these products and pricing, email us at hello@myfacedr.com or book a consultation with one of our skin experts. 

Want expert guidance? 

Face Dr expert giving online skincare consultation

Hopefully you now know exactly what niacinamide can do for your skin. But how do you know if it’s right for you, or if there’s a better ingredient out there for the job? That’s where speaking to an expert can make all the difference. We offer free online skincare consultations with a member of our friendly team. On a 30-minute video call, one of our skin experts can analyse your skin and ask about your concerns. Then, armed with this information, they’ll be able to recommend the best niacinamide product to help or let you know if there’s something else you should try instead. 

Plus, they can even help you build a skincare routine to tackle your concerns and let you know where niacinamide should fall into that. 

When it comes to recommendations, we only ever share products and brands we know and trust. There’s never any obligation to buy, but if you do decide to go ahead with a purchase, we can ship your new products directly to your door. 

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