Niacinamide at a glance

  • Famous for visibly reducing enlarged pores and improving dull, uneven skin tone
  • Boosts skin’s barrier strength and hydration
  • Helps mitigate negative effects of environmental stressors
  • Also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinamide
  • Stable in the presence of light (which is unique for an antioxidant)

Niacinamide description

Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinamide) is a unique skin-restoring ingredient that offers a multitude of benefits for skin. It is best known for its ability to help visibly reduce enlarged pores and improve uneven/dull skin tone. It also strengthens a weakened skin barrier. An advantage of niacinamide’s antioxidant power is that it can help visibly repair damage from UV light while offsetting other sources of environmental attack (including the negative impact of airborne pollutants). Another helpful benefit is that niacinamide helps fortify skin’s surface against moisture loss and dehydration by boosting its natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides. Studies have also shown niacinamide has a positive effect on reducing wrinkle depth. Unlike many superstar anti-ageing ingredients, niacinamide is stable in the presence of heat and light. It is water soluble and presents as colourless needles or white crystalline powder in its raw material state. Niacinamide offers benefits for skin starting in concentrations as low 0.2%, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel concluded it is safe in concentrations all the way up to 20%. Myths about niacinamide’s incompatibility with other ingredients have been dispelled, and in fact, research overwhelmingly shows complementary effects of combining niacinamide with other key anti-ageing ingredients.

Niacinamide references

  • International Journal of Dermatology, February 2021, pages 166-173
  • Biomolecules & Therapeutics, July 2019, pages 562-569
  • Experimental Dermatology, February 2019, pages 15-22
  • Dermatologic Therapy, September 2017, ePublication
  • Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 2017, page S116
  • International Journal of Pharmaceutics, March 2017, pages 158-162
  • Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America, May 2016, pages 145-152
  • Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, July 2015, pages 405-412
  • Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2014, pages 311-315
  • International Journal of Pharmacy, January 2013, pages 192-201
  • Dermatoendrocrinology, July 2012, pages 308-319
  • International Journal of Toxicology, September 2005, pages 1-31
  • Dermatologic Surgery, July 2005, pages 860-865
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, October 2004, pages 231-238
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2004, pages 88-93

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.