Niacinamide: 8 reasons why it’s a ‘must have’ in your beauty regimen.


It was a simple question.

What’s in it? I asked. “Oh well, there is no particular ingredient…
I nodded politely, sparing the poor girl what was really on my mind. 

No particular ingredient? What!! Are you kidding me? Then how is it going to smooth, fill in, plump and diminish my lines and gulp.. wrinkles?

Okay, perhaps I have a need-to-know-how-things-work personality more than most, which is why I didn’t buy this miracle serum, a serum well-known for perfecting the skin? No, no and no. I didn’t. Not because it may not live up to the marketing promises, but because I kind of object to spending $160 or more on any skin care product without an explanation of the key active ingredients. Blind faith? Uhem.. I don’t think so. 
To be honest, there are a lot of serum formulations on the market today that’ll promise to fill in your lines and wrinkles. Some of course, better than others. Mostly, they do this by adding silicones to the serum. Silicone is often referred to on ingredient lists as Dimethicone.
To be clear. There’s nothing wrong with Dimethicone as an ingredient, in fact, I quite like it, as it gives your serum its silkiness, helping suspend other active ingredients in the product until released into your skin upon application.
Dimethicone will also smooth and fill the surface of your skin making it appear less lined. Great!! I’m all for it.
But, here’s the thing. I prefer my serums to include other ingredients that do more than smooth and plump; I want my serums to contain meaningful and specific active ingredients with the potential to change my skin for the better. That’s all. 


Enter, Vitamin B3.

Niacin also referred to as vitamin B3 is well recognised as an essential nutrient when it comes to a well-functioning and healthy body. Your digestive system, nervous system and brain function are all dependent on Niacin (Vitamin B3). 
Mostly you’ll get your daily supply from red meat, chicken, turkey and fish like salmon and tuna as well as green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and asparagus and like it or not, many packaged foods are fortified with Niacin, so most of us are not likely to be deficient.


But what about your skin?

As essential as it is for your body, it may be time to view topical Niacinamide as a permanent ‘must have’ in your beauty regimen, and I’ve got eight excellent reasons to share with you. 


8 Reasons why your skin needs Niacinamide.


#1 Boosting the immunity of your skin.

There are cells in your skin known as Langerhans cells. They are responsible for the protection and repair mechanisms of your skin. They are shy little guys, and when you expose your skin to the sun, especially when you burn your skin, they temporarily retreat leaving the skin without its natural immunity against invading microbes or the safeguards against the activity of precancerous lesions.

#2 Improves epidermal barrier performance.

Everything about your skin is better when the epidermal lipid barrier is functioning at its peak. Your lipid barrier helps retain moisture, keeps it hydrated for longer and will protect your skin from the harshness of the environment, regardless of the time of year. Niacinamide increases the production of ceramides (an essential component of your lipid barrier), keeping the skin strong and preventing Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL).

#3 Improves redness and blotchiness in the skin.

With an improved epidermal lipid barrier, the skin’s natural ability to protect itself from external aggressors becomes vastly improved. Over time and with a daily application of a Niacinamide formulation, improvements in skin structure will reduce redness, blotchiness and sensitivity brought about by exposure to the environment due to a poorly functioning barrier.

#4 Regulated oil flow.

When your skin retains its natural moisture with a well-functioning lipid barrier, the natural oil flow of the skin becomes controlled. So, if you have oily skin, rather than trying to wash it scrupulously away and exacerbate the problem, consider topically applied Niacinamide as an essential factor in getting any excessive oil flow under control.

#5 Protects skin from infrared light.

Niacinamide protects the skin from the infrared heat of the sun. Along with the damaging effects of UV exposure, infrared activates free radicals and stimulates an overproduction of pigmented cells, and if your pigmentation is hormonal, heat is a big problem. Niacinamide protects the skin from heat. 

#6 Hyper-pigmentation.

The transfer of pigment (melanosomes) from your melanocytes to the surrounding skin of your epidermis is known as a tan. However, over time, this activity becomes dysfunctional, and many of us end up with uneven, blotchy pigmentation rather than a golden tan. If your skin has become susceptible to hyperpigmentation, then Niacinamide will assist in the reduction of uneven pigmentation by slowing down the transfer of melanin to your skin’s epidermis. Including this smart ingredient into any hyper-pigmentation treatment plan is a must do!

#7 Minimise lines and wrinkles.

Niacinamide boosts collagen production. Along with the improvement of the skin’s lipid barrier comes an increase in cell differentiation which contributes to better synthesis and formation of collagen and elastin. Music to my ears!!

#8 Dull and sallow skin.

While many antioxidants prevent damage caused by oxidative stress and AGE’s, Niacinamide goes one step further and reverses the visible signs brought about by the onslaught. As time goes by and with the constant exposure to free radicals and glycation, the skin can appear dull and sallow with a sad loss of radiance. You don’t want that! Niacinamide as an antioxidant reduces the negative impact of oxidative stress and improves the skin’s ability to fight back. You definitely want that!

Next time you venture out for something to improve the appearance of your skin, or when a well meaning beauty consultant extolls the virtues of their best-selling and most fabulous serum for smoothing away lines and wrinkles, just ask them. Does it contain Niacinamide?

Five brands with a healthy dose of Niacinamide.

From left to right: ASAP – B SUPER COMPLEX | Alpha H Liquid Gold – INTENSE NIGHT REPAIR SRUM | Synergie Skin – VITAMIN BVerso – Day Cream with Retinol 8 | Rationale – IMMUNOLOGIST Niacinamide Serum



Not just for lightening and brightening.

Many brands recommend the inclusion of Niacinamide for the prevention and treatment of hyper-pigmentation, which it does, but as you can see, it is an all-around ingredient for anti-ageing and skin health. Everyone, no matter how old or what condition the skin will benefit from the long-term use of this scientifically proven ingredient. 


How much is enough?

The best formulations will contain at least 10% Niacinamide. Some brands will be forthcoming with this information while others prefer to keep it under wraps. A good indication of how much is in your serum is how far up the list of ingredients Niacinamide appears. It should be close to the top of the list. 


When is the best time to apply?

Anytime is the best time. If you are keen, by all means, use it morning and night, but because of the protective nature of Niacinamide, I favour use once a day underneath my moisturiser and sunscreen, however, if your night time serum or cream contain Niacinamide, well then, all the better. If you’d like to read more on this excellent ingredient, you may also like this article. Niacinamide: Your Plan B


And now you?

Have you found a serum with Niacinamide that works well for you? Why not share your findings in the comments below. 
Did you find this article informative? Why not share it with your friends. 
Got a question you’d like answered? Why not shoot me an email over here. I personally read every email and usually reply within 24 hours. 
See you next time,

The Beauty Issue


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  • Mel Hart

    With the Rationale essential six, step 1 for the morning routine is the niacinamide serum. I don’t get it, don’t you cleanse your face in the morning as as well as at night?

    • Hi Mel, the most important time to cleanse the skin is at the end of the day to remove any makeup that may have been applied and the residue of pollutants that have gathered on the skin. I always suggest a double cleanse to ensure the skin is correctly cleansed and then balanced. If your evening cleansing routine is thorough then the need for cleansing in the morning is not as important. However, if it is something you like to do then you should continue to do so. But, never skip the evening cleanse.

      This is why Rationale name immunologist as step 1. It is your first step to protecting your skin everyday. I hope that helps. But for more detailed information about the essential six from Rationale I suggest you visit their website as they do have an online chat service. Best, Julie

    • Carol O’Dowd

      I was told by a skin clinician to just splash a bit of water on my face in the morning then use the Rationale niacinamide serum.

  • Zoe Greenberg

    I just ordered my first niacinamide serum. I regularly use a C&E Ferulic serum. Whould they be used together? And if so, which first??

    • That’s great news Zoe!! Enjoy the power of niacinamide and it’s wonderful to hear you also use C&E Ferulic. I always recommend niacinamide as the very first serum before anything else. So, for you, niacinamide, C&E Ferulic, moisture protection and then sun protection and you’re good to go.
      Just curious? Which brand did you choose?

      • Natasha

        Niacinamide and Vitamin C cancel each other out and should not be used together.

        • Wisam

          Bt I have a serum with the combination of Vaitamin c + Niacinamide

          • Natasha

            Google the combination

          • Lily

            Hi Natasha. There is a common misconception that you cannot use these ingredients together. Unfortunately it is widely picked up on the internet and spread by people who don’t research further than a quick glance over the top couple of google results. If you go further and look at actual research you will see that ascorbic acid and vitamin C products have been stabilised since the original research was done in 1960. There is now no issue between them and some studies show they enhance each other. I use niacinamide morning and night, morning under magnesium ascorbic phosphate and at night under retinol. The difference in my previously blotchy uneven skin tone and especially in some hyperpigmentation I have been trying to rid myself of for months is incredible. I wish people wouldn’t perpetuate 60 year old science myths. Best, Lily

          • gaylep

            What is the serum you use? I’d love to try it.

        • Thanks for you comment Natasha and while that is true up to a point, it takes a lot for this to happen. In most cases layering serums will sort this problem out if it does occur.

          • Fraz Mc

            Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient that offers multiple benefits for aging skin. Among these benefits is the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and a weakened skin surface. Niacinamide can also mitigate the damage environmental attack can cause, and is stable in the presence of heat and light.

            What about using vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and niacinamide in the same product or applied at the same time in separate products?

            You might have read or heard that niacinamide and vitamin C shouldn’t be used at the same time, whether found together in the same product or applied separately one after the other. Rest assured, this combination is fine and is in fact quite beneficial!

            The research this misconception is based on was conducted in the 1960s; the forms of niacinamide and vitamin C used in this study were not stabilized—although niacinamide itself is very stable. The base of the formula used in this study was also far different than today’s sophisticated skincare formulas. Today, cosmetic chemists know how to combine niacinamide and vitamin C in the ideal base formulas that enhance their compatibility.

            The other common concern we’ve seen about combining these two ingredients has to do with the pH range. The concern is that the acidic environment ascorbic acid needs to be most effective will cause niacinamide will convert to nicotinic acid, a form that can be sensitizing, possibly inducing redness. Good news: This conversion process would only happen under conditions of the formula being exposed to very high heat for a long period of time. This would not apply to layering skincare products or to heat conditions that occur during manufacturing, transport, and storage of cosmetic products that contain niacinamide and ascorbic acid.

            What all of this means is that you can use or layer products containing both niacinamide and vitamin C knowing that they will not render each other any less effective. Each of these ingredients on its own can help to address dark spots, uneven skin tone, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and dullness. When used together, they become even more of a powerhouse! This duo will help give you an even better chance at achieving a radiant, smooth, even, younger-looking complexion.

    • Natasha

      Niacinamide and Vitamin C cancel each other out and should not be used together. You could wait 20 minutes in between the two steps of use Niacinamide at night. Vitamin C boosts the effects of sunscreen and most use it during the day.

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