Cosmetic Ingredients Class: Niacinamide 101

wolfandmoroko Niacinamide

Class is in session! Part of a healthy skin care journey involves understanding which cosmetic ingredients will actually help your skin.

Niacinamide is an antioxidant derived from niacin or vitamin B3. It is a potent cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can tell a skin cell to look, act and behave better, more like a normal healthy skin cell, or to stop other substances from telling the cell to behave badly or abnormally. They don’t use cell phones (ha! See what I did there?) for this. It can be done through direct communication with the skin cell or by blocking damaging cellular pathways or other cell-communicating substances.

This has multiple benefits for skin.

What are the benefits of Niacinamide?

  1. Niacinamide improves the skin’s protective function. Ceramides are lipids found in the skin that reduce water loss and keep it healthy. The use of harsh cleansers can contribute to loss of ceramides and unhealthy, easily irritated skin. Niacinamide increases the production of ceramides and other skin lipids to improve the protection of the skin.
  2. Niacinamide evens skin tone. In concentrations of 4%, niacinamide has been shown to even skin tone and fade spots from age, pregnancy and acne. After your skin is injured from acne, you will experience hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of an area of skin caused by increased melanin. Niacinamide reduces the amount of melanin – brightening and evening skin tone.
  3. Niacinamide stimulates collagen production. Collagen is a protein that supports skin, keeping it firm. As we age, our collagen levels reduce, which is a major cause of wrinkles, fine lines and saggy skin. By stimulating cells in the dermis to produce collagen, niacinamide improve’s the skin’s structure.
  4. Niacinamide helps treat irritation and mild acne.  The anti inflammatory properties of niacinamide decrease sebum production and reduces the appearance of acne and redness by soothing inflammation. Niacinamide has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of other irritated skin conditions like seborrhoeic dermatitis, atopic eczema, rosacea, melasma and mild psoriasis.

How to Include Niacinamide in your Skincare Routine

Niacinamide is available in a variety of skin care products: cleansers, toners, moisturizers, body lotions – you name it! Incorporating it into your routine all depends on what you are targeting, it would be best to use a leave on product like a moisturizer, mask or serum to reap the benefits of niacinamide. In something that has limited contact with the skin like a cleanser, it would just wash away.

When using a skin care product with niacinamide, do not forget to patch test.

pH and Concentration

Niacinamide needs to be at a concentration of 4% and maintain a pH of about 5-7 to be effective or it will  hydrolyze into nicotinic acid. This causes flushing in certain individuals.

Flushing is a burning sensation on your skin coupled with redness. Individual reactions can range from pink to beet red, you basically blush…in a bad way.

Try niacinamide in…

Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Treatment 

Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum

COSRX Galactomyces 95 White Power Essence

CeraVe Moisturizing Facial Lotion AM and PM

Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask

LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule

Have you used Niacinamide before? Let me know in the comments!


Please note that I can’t guarantee that all of the make-up and skincare products I talk about will suit you. I’m not a licensed medical professional,  everyone’s skin is different and it’s possible to be allergic to anything. Wherever possible, patch test your products.


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