Given the numerous benefits of niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, it is no wonder that the ingredient has gained a cult-like following in the skincare world in recent years.
It has been shown to improve the appearance of fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone, as well as reduce sebum levels in oily and breakout-prone skin.
These results can sometimes be seen within 4 weeks of use.
Although niacinamide is safe to use every day for most people, it is important to know how and when to use it for your specific skin type or condition (to avoid side effects like purging).
With so much false information floating around from many different sources, this is not always so easy.
Everything you need to know about this superstar ingredient is detailed below, so that you know exactly how to get the best out of your bottle.
#1 What Is Niacinamide & What Is It Used For?
Niacinamide is a water-soluble ingredient derived from vitamin B that is commonly used in a range of skincare products, including serums, moisturizers, and toners.
It is incredibly versatile and used to treat a variety of skin care concerns, from enlarged pores to a weakened skin barrier and general skin irritation or redness.
#2 How Does Niacinamide Benefit Your Skin?
Honestly, the possibilities with this superstar ingredient are endless. Here are just a few examples of how niacinamide can help with some of your skin concerns:
- It minimizes pore size by stabilizing the lining of the pore, thereby giving the skin a smoother texture.
- It helps to improve skin tone and reduce the hyperpigmentation and discoloration caused by sun damage and aging by decreasing the production of melanin in the skin.
- It strengthens the barrier function of the skin, helping to prevent moisture loss and increase skin hydration.
- It reduces inflammation with its incredible anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great ingredient to help treat acne, rosacea, and other inflammatory skin conditions.
While all this sounds amazing, the benefits of niacinamide for your skin also depend greatly on how you use it, your skin type, and your existing skin care routine.
In this article I’m sharing my favorite Korean niacinamide serums – I picked 6 best ones for different skin types and in a wide price range.
#3 How Long Does It Take For Niacinamide To Work?
The time it takes for niacinamide to work varies depending on your skin, the concentration used, and the product the ingredient is formulated in.
Serums with niacinamide, for instance, would work a lot faster than cleansers with the same concentration, simply because the serum stays on the skin longer.
In general, it takes around 2-4 weeks of daily use1 of niacinamide to see first results, but sometimes it may take up to 12 weeks depending on your skin condition.
Moreover, niacinamide products can prevent acne, help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin texture and the skin barrier function within 12 weeks of use4.
Remember that you need to keep using this skin care ingredient, to maintain the results, and see further improvement.
#4 How Long Does Niacinamide Take To Clear Skin?
There is no definite answer for how long niacinamide takes to clear the skin, if it even does that at all. It all depends on the severity of your skin problems and how diligently you use it.
For a mild skin concern like uneven skin tone, it may only take a few short weeks to see significant improvements. For more severe concerns such as acne and premature skin aging, it may take several months to see results.
#5 How Long Does Niacinamide Take To Work (The Ordinary Niacinamide Serum)?
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is a cult favorite skincare ingredient, and for good reason.
It is applied topically and is known for its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation, minimize pore size, and lead to increased skin hydration.
According to The Ordinary’s website, they suggest that users of the serum should see visible results within 4 weeks of consistent use.
It is however important to remember that individual results may vary, and some may find that it takes longer to see significant improvements in the skin.
#6 Can Niacinamide Be Used On All Skin Types?
Yes, niacinamide can be used on all skin types, including dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin. It is a versatile and non-irritating ingredient that can benefit a wide range of skin types.
For people with oily or acne-prone skin, niacinamide can help regulate sebum production, reduce the appearance of blemishes, and minimize the appearance of pores.
For those with dry skin, niacinamide can improve the skin’s barrier function and increase hydration levels, resulting in smoother and more supple skin.
#7 Is Niacinamide Serum Good For Sensitive Skin?
Yes, niacinamide serum can be an excellent option for people with sensitive skin.
It works by strengthening the skin’s natural barrier function, which can help to protect the skin from environmental stressors that can trigger sensitivity and irritation.
However, like with all ingredients, some people with especially reactive skin may still experience mild redness or irritation when using niacinamide, especially if they have never used it before.
If that sounds like you, you should patch-test any new product that you want to incorporate into your skincare routine before use, and start with a lower concentration of the ingredient, gradually building up to higher concentrations to minimize any risks.
#8 Can I Use Niacinamide On Oily Skin?
Do you have oily skin? The good news is that niacinamide is actually recommended specifically for this skin type!
One of niacinimanide’s most powerful benefits is its ability to regulate sebum production, which is the sticky substance between skin cells that can clog pores and lead to breakouts and acne.
Niacinamide is known to be particularly well-tolerated by its oily-skinned users, so they have very little to worry about in terms of skin irritation and redness caused by the use of the ingredient.
#9 Does Niacinamide Help With Acne?
Yes, several studies have shown that niacinamide is a very effective skincare ingredient for treating acne.
In one study7 the use of a 4% niacinamide gel significantly decreased pustules and comedones, improved inflammatory acne, and reduced the number of breakouts in patients.
It has several properties that can help with acne, including its ability to regulate sebum production and prevent the formation of clogged pores.
It also has some amazing anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the redness and irritation associated with a breakout.
#10 How Do I Apply Niacinamide?
Niacinamide-containing products come in many forms, from serums and creams to toners and essences. Here are some general tips for applying them:
- Before applying the product, cleanse the skin of any dirt, oil, or makeup. This will ensure that the ingredient can penetrate your skin effectively.
- A little goes a long way, so start with a small amount, about a pea-sized drop or less, and apply it to your face and neck.
- Using your fingertips, gently massage the product into the skin using circular movements. This will help it to absorb better into the skin.
- Give it a few moments to absorb into your skin before continuing with the rest of your skincare routine.
Remember, each niacinamide-containing product will have its own specific set of instructions, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s label carefully before use.
#11 Can You Use Niacinamide Everyday?
And now for the golden question: can you use niacinamide everyday? The answer is yes, of course you can!
In fact, using niacinamide consistently over time may provide the best results, particularly if you have skin conditions such as acne or hyperpigmentation.
It is such a well-tolerated skincare ingredient that using it every day is considered absolutely safe for most people, save a few exceptions.
#12 How Often Should I Use Niacinamide To See Results?
How often you should use niacinamide depends on your skin type and the specific niacinamide-containing product you are using, but, in general, you should use the ingredient twice a day, morning and night.
If you have a serum with niacinamide, for best results, it is recommended that you use it after cleansing and toning, but before applying a moisturizer.
#13 Is It Better To Use Niacinamide In The Morning Or At Night?
Niacinamide can be used both morning and/or night, depending on your preference and skincare routine.
There are, however, some benefits to using the ingredient at specific times of the day.
Because of niacinamide’s antioxidant properties, using it in the morning can help to protect the skin from environmental stressors such as pollution and UV rays.
This may promote a healthier, more radiant complexion.
Using niacinamide at night may be a better option for those with oily or acne-prone skin, since it helps regulate oil production and reduces inflammation.
Giving it more time to sink into the skin while you sleep can make these powerful benefits even more effective.
#14 What Concentration Of Niacinamide Should I Use?
In general, a concentration of 2% to 5% of niacinamide would be sufficient for most people8.
This is what is used in most skincare products, and niacinamide at this concentration has been found to provide a range of benefits.
If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to start with a concentration of 2% and increase it slowly over time. If you have normal skin, you can start with a concentration of 5%.
If you have more specific concerns like rosacea or acne, then a higher concentration of up to 10% may be more appropriate.
#15 How Do I Know If Niacinamide Is Working?
Let me start by saying that it’s a myth that you should feel that the ingredient or product is working on your skin.
Burning sensation or itching is definitely not a sign of proper working. You should mainly pay attention to the results.
There is no definite way to know that your niacinamide is working for your skin since it is often applied in combination with other active ingredients.
However, there are a few things that you can look out for that will give you a good idea if the ingredient is working for you or not:
- Reduced inflammation and redness
- Improved skin texture and tone
- Decreased oil production
- Fewer breakouts
- Brighter skin
- Tightened pores
- Increased skin elasticity
#16 Can Niacinamide Be Used In Combination With Other Ingredients?
Niacinamide can be used in conjunction with other substances — in fact, it is advised! It is one of those superstar ingredients that play well with most other ingredients, which is not a common find in the skincare world.
Using it in combination with other ingredients such as glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and retinol will enhance the overall benefits for the skin and provide better results.
One of the best combos is niacinamide paired with azelaic acid – according to dermatologists it’s an effective solution for fighting hyperpigmentation, as well as acne, enlarge pores and uneven skin tone!
#17 What Should I Pair Niacinamide With For Best Results?
Here are some of the best ingredients to use in conjunction with niacinamide, and who they are best suited for:
- Niacinamide & Zinc
This combo has been proven to reduce acne and excess sebum in oily or breakout-prone skin.
- Niacinamide & Vitamin C
Both of these ingredients have excellent anti-oxidant properties, and in combination, they act as a powerful defense for your skin against environmental stressors. Read more about mixing niacinamide with vitamin C >>
- Niacinamide & Salicylic Acid
This is one powerful duo for breakout-prone skin types that struggle with visible pores. Salicylic acid paths the way by cleaning out the pores, while niacinamide tightens them. Find out how to layer BHA and niacinamide properly >>
- Niacinamide & Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides or Peptides
All three of these ingredients support the skin barrier and lock in moisture, so pairing niacinamide with any one of them will create a powerful hydration duo for your skin.
- Niacinamide & Retinol
This combo can help with acne, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone and reduce the visibility of wrinkles. But it’s very important to learn how to properly layer niacinamide and retinol.
#18 How To Use Niacinamide For Hyperpigmentation?
Using niacinamide specifically to treat hyperpigmentation just means that you need to be extra consistent with your use of the ingredient, since consistency is the only thing that will truly bring you noticeable results.
A few other things that you can do include looking for a niacinamide-containing product with a higher concentration (at least 5%), applying a generous amount of the product, and using it in combination with other treatments and ingredients such as vitamin C or retinoids.
#19 Does Niacinamide Fade Dark Spots?
Yes, niacinamide has been shown to be effective in fading dark spots on the skin. These dark spots are caused by an overproduction of melanin in certain areas of the skin, which niacinamide works to inhibit.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm and soothe acne spots, hence reducing the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that may form.
#20 Does Niacinamide Brighten Skin Permanently?
Although niacinamide has been shown to have skin-brightening effects, whether or not these effects are permanent depends on a few factors.
Firstly, it is important to understand that the skin is constantly regenerating itself. As new skin cells are produced and old ones are shed, the appearance of the skin can change, and so these effects can disappear.
Secondly, the skin-brightening effects of niacinamide may be more significant and long-lasting for some than for others. This depends heavily on your skin type, concerns, age, lifestyle factors, and so on.
Lastly, the skin-brightening effects from niacinamide will only stay for as long as you use it. This is why consistent and long-term use of the ingredient is necessary for effective, long-term results.
#21 Does Niacinamide Help With Acne Scars?
Acne scars are mainly caused by inflammation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and niacinamide can help to treat both. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to prevent new acne breakouts and calm existing pustules, thus preventing further scarring.
Niacinamide is also known for its ability to help fade hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone, which can then minimize the appearance of acne scars and other imperfections.
#22 Is Niacinamide Safe During Pregnancy?
It can be incredibly overwhelming trying to figure out what products and ingredients can’t be used during pregnancy, but luckily niacinamide is not one of them. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is not associated with any significant risks or adverse effects when applied topically.
In fact, dermatologists often recommend niacinamide as safe for use during pregnancy: it helps improve skin tone, reduces the appearance of pores, and minimizes the appearance of hyperpigmentation, which are all common skin concerns during pregnancy.
#23 Does Niacinamide Have Any Side Effects?
Niacinamide is generally a very safe ingredient when applied topically, with a very low risk of side effects.
There are some rare cases, however, where some people may experience mild irritation or redness when using the ingredient, especially when it is being used in high concentrations or the person has particularly reactive skin.
#24 Does Niacinamide Cause Purging?
While it’s possible that some people experience an initial increase in acne or irritation when first using niacinamide-containing products, this is likely just a sign that the skin is adjusting to the new product.
Niacinamide should not cause purging like retinoids and acids are known to do, since it works differently from these ingredients.
While retinoids and acids like glycolic acid work by increasing cell turnover, niacinamide works by regulating sebum production and inflammation, thus preventing new breakouts and calming existing ones.
#25 Does Niacinamide Serum Expires Once Open?
Like with any skincare product, niacinamide serum will expire over time. Once opened, its lifetime becomes even shorter because the product is exposed to air and bacteria.
In general, most niacinamide-containing products will last 6 – 12 months after opening, if they are stored properly. In order to prolong the shelf-life for as long as possible, it is recommended that you store the product in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
#26 Is Niacinamide Vegan?
Niacinamide can be produced synthetically or from animal sources, so whether or not the niacinamide product itself is vegan or not depends on how the ingredient was sourced.
The niacinamide used in skincare products is typically synthetic and produced in a laboratory, which means that it is not derived from animal or plant sources and hence completely vegan.
That said, if you are vegan, then you may still want to check the labels or with the manufacturer first, as well as to confirm with them that all the other ingredients in the product are also vegan-friendly.
#27 What Is The Difference Between Niacinamide And Niacin?
Niacinamide and niacin are two different forms of vitamin B3, which the body requires in order to function properly9.
While both have important roles, they have very different uses and benefits, and they can cause different side effects.
Niacin is often used to treat high cholesterol and other cardiovascular conditions, while niacinamide has no benefits for these conditions and is used to treat other issues in the body and on the skin.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.
Pictures in this article with YouAreBeautie logo belong to YouAreBeautie.com and were taken by the owner of this website. All these images are copyright-protected. Other pictures of niacinamide serum belong to: The Ordinary, COSRX, Good Molecules, Paula’s Choice, Rituals.
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