Topical Niacinamide – The Benefits for Your Skin

In recent years, topical niacinamide has been in the skincare spotlight and incorporated into numerous commercial and prescription products. But what exactly is it and how can it benefit your skin?

What is Topical Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is called Niacin. Nutritionally, niacin helps the human body turn food into energy. It is usually included in a daily multivitamin; however, most people ingest adequate amounts of it from their daily diet. Niacin can also be prescribed to help control cholesterol. Synthetic topical forms of niacinamide are used to make various skincare products because they help the skin to build proteins and retain moisture among other benefits. It is often combined with other cosmeceuticals to target certain conditions.

What Can Niacinamide Do for Our Skin?

Topical niacinamide has gained popularity in countless skin care products targeting acne, anti-aging, and rosacea because it has been found to:

  • Repair damaged skin DNA and reduce the cause of aging from UV damage
  • Produce anti-inflammatory properties that can result in a reduction of skin redness and inflammation
  • Brighten the skin and boost its radiance
  • Helps to inhibit oil production which may help acne and minimize pore appearance
  • Increases collagen production to improve fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation
  • Functions like an antioxidant protecting the skin from UV, pollution, and toxins

Is it Right for You?

With each of the benefits listed, it is easy to see why topical niacinamide is formulated in many products designed for conditions such as acne, rosacea, anti-aging, and eczema. But is it for everyone? While it is generally well-tolerated, some people may experience:

  • Mild burning or skin irritation
  • Redness
  • Itching

If any of these symptoms are experienced, it is best to avoid products that contain topical niacinamide. You may need to become a label reader for products that contain it such as lotions, creams, moisturizers, serums, and cleansers to name a few.

How Often Should Topical Niacinamide Be Used?

Because niacinamide is sought after in skin care products to help reach certain goals, in order to see results, a little patience may be required. Like most topical products, even acne medications, it will take once to twice daily application for eight to twelve weeks to see results depending upon what it is being used for and the severity of the skin concern.

What Strength Should I Choose?

When it comes to picking a product, a higher percentage may not always be better. We recommend sticking between 1-4% to prevent irritation. Products containing higher percentages may trigger more irritation, however may be used if tolerated. If you know that niacinamide irritates your skin at any strength, it is recommended to avoid it.

The Verdict?

Overall, we feel that topical niacinamide is generally a well-tolerated cosmeceutical that has many benefits for conditions such as acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and anti-aging where many types of treatment may overlap.

Need Additional Recommendations?

The Derm NP offers convenient virtual dermatology care. Our provider, Laura Collins, APRN, ANP-BC, DCNP, has extensive experience and education in dermatology. We provide care for non-urgent dermatologic conditions via telehealth visits through which we formulate customized affordable care plans. Contact us at (630) 233-9767, at our website or via email at for an appointment that will help you to get started on your skincare goals.

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