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What Is Niacinamide? What Can It Do for Your Skin?

Medically reviewed by Sue Kua, MD · Dermatology

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Oct 11, 2022

What Is Niacinamide? What Can It Do for Your Skin?

What is niacinamide? It is a water-soluble, active form of niacin or vitamin B3 that is usually present in different food, such as:

  • Lean meat
  • Fish
  • Yeast 
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cereals
  • Green vegetables
  • When more niacin is consumed than the body requires, it is then converted to niacinamide. The body needs this component in small amounts for fats and other sugars in the body to properly function, as well as to maintain healthy cells. Some also use niacinamide to treat different conditions, including diabetes, osteoarthritis, vitamin B3 deficiency, and even cancer.

    Niacinamide is often seen in products that treat skin conditions like:

    As a result, it is often incorporated in many topical skincare products, including serums, sunscreens, and other cosmetic agents.

    Some people also refer to it as nicotinamide or nicotinic acid amide.

    How Can The Skin Benefit from Niacinamide?

    Topical niacinamide provides benefits for the skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties. 

    Help in Acne Treatment

    One of the notable benefits of niacinamide is its capability to treat acne problems with its anti-inflammatory properties

    In a controlled clinical trial of 76 participants with moderate acne, 4% nicotinamide gel showed comparable effectivity to the topical antibiotic 1% clindamycin gel in treating acne. Moreover, it also aids in the reduction of sebum production on the face that could help prevent acne buildup

    Improve the Skin Barrier

    Studies also show that niacinamide can enhance the skin’s barrier function. This is made possible by reducing water loss through the epidermis, thus resulting in improving skin hydration

    In another study, niacinamide helped protect the skin cells from oxidative stress. 

    Furthermore, people with rosacea may also benefit from this particular functionality of niacinamide. Two studies mentioned its effectiveness in reducing reactions to such irritants as with other cleansers and cosmetics. 

    Niacinamide Has Anti-aging Properties

    Multiple clinical studies indicate that topical niacinamide has good effects on skin by improving fine lines, wrinkles, and elasticity. Apart from that, it also helps in treating hyperpigmented spots and red blotchiness. 

    According to one study, it stimulates the skin’s production of ceramides that are known as natural emollients and skin protectants. Thus, it helps in enhancing skin appearance, as well as hydration. 

    Help in Hyperpigmentation and Melasma 

    Researchers discovered that the use of niacinamide as a treatment for melasma brought significant results in reducing hyperpigmentation. Consistent use of the product for two weeks also revealed a decrease in erythema and papules by 50-75%.

    Key Takeaways

    What is niacinamide? It is a potent substance that can help you treat many skin concerns. Apart from treatment use, this skincare product can also prevent signs of aging. 
    Niacinamide is generally safe when taken/ applied at the right dose, but because this is a potent substance, you may want to consider doing a patch test first on your wrist to check if your skin reacts to it.
    Also note that it can produce adverse effects like sweating, increase in blood sugar, low blood pressure, and nausea. It is better to consult a specialist if you experience any of these, especially if you’re currently taking other medications which can have an interaction with it.

    Learn more about Skin Care and Cleansing here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Sue Kua, MD


    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Oct 11, 2022

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