What is Niacinamide: Fighting Hyperpigmentation

Many people want to improve the look and feel of their skin, preventing the signs of aging along the way. That’s why there are so many products out there with a variety of ingredients to help address skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, full of vitamins that are good for your skin. If you’re wondering if there’s one vitamin you should strive to include in your skincare routine, then the answer is yes. It’s niacinamide.

If you’ve never heard of niacinamide before, then you’re not alone. But it is a skincare ingredient everyone should know more about. Here’s what you need to know about it, how to use it, and some of our favorite products that can help you get your daily dose.

What is Niacinamide

What is Niacinamide? 

Niacinamide goes by a few different names. You may see it also referred to as nicotinamide, nicotinic acid, or Vitamin B3. No matter what it’s called, it’s a form of Vitamin B3, whether natural or synthetic.

It’s often found in water-based serums since it’s a water-soluble vitamin. That makes it a great product for those of you who want to avoid putting oils or oily solvents on your skin. It also happens to be a very stable ingredient that is non-irritating as well as non-acidic.

What Does Niacinamide Do for the Skin?

Vitamin B3 is found naturally in many foods that are a part of a healthy diet such as whole grains, mushrooms, and liver. The body converts niacin into niacinamide, which then works in the body to help give cellular metabolism a boost. That means they help provide energy to the cells to help them work at their best.

Niacinamide also absorbs well into the skin, so you don’t have to rely on diet to be the sole source. It has many benefits to the skin when used topically, such as:

Fighting Free Radicals

Niacinamide protects the skin against oxidative stress and free radicals. When used on the skin it helps the skin to better utilize antioxidants to protect itself from the damage free radicals can do.

Fighting Hyperpigmentation

Niacinamide is one of the best treatments out there for those who struggle with hyperpigmentation, melasma, or age spots. Studies have shown that after four weeks of treatment with 2% niacinamide it resulted in a significant decrease in hyperpigmentation. Plus, patients experienced fewer side effects than other ingredients, such as hydroquinone.


Fighting Wrinkles

Niacinamide has a great track record for fighting fine lines and wrinkles. Some research has suggested that niacinamide helps to increase collagen production. This is something that naturally reduces as you get older and can contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, keeping skin flexible and supple.

Fighting Acne

Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial properties, making it a great treatment for acne. It also happens to be gentler on your skin than other treatments for acne, such as retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and acids.

Smoothing the Texture of Skin

Want to reduce the appearance of your pores? Well, niacinamide makes that possible!

Studies have found that niacinamide helps to smooth the texture of the skin and reduce the size of pores with continued use. How it does this is through controlling oil production of the skin. When pores are full of sebum (the natural oils produced by the skin) and dead skin cells, they tend to look larger. Using niacinamide helps to control oil production, making them appear smaller and the skin smoother overall.

Fighting Redness

Niacinamide is also a great tool for those who are prone to redness. It’s thought that it does this through strengthening the skin’s barrier by balancing water loss and helping the skin to retain moisture, leading to less irritation and redness.

Fighting Dryness

Speaking of the skin barrier, maintaining the proper balance of moisture, and helping the skin to reduce water loss helps fight back against chronic dryness.

Are There Side Effects to Niacinamide?

One of the best things about niacinamide is that it has very few side effects, especially when compared with other skincare ingredients. It can be used in topical doses up to 5% and tolerated well. Plus, it’s one of the safest active ingredients you can find, especially for women that may be pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you use a product containing niacinamide and experience irritation, it’s likely another ingredient in the formula that is causing the problem. Look at the preservatives in the product to figure out what could be causing the adverse reaction and talk to your skincare professional.

How to Use Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a versatile and stable product. It can be used at any point in your skincare routine to target specific skin issues such as hyperpigmentation. However, it’s most effective later in the skincare routine because it requires a high pH to work at its best.

In your skincare routine, use low-pH active ingredients such as vitamin C and exfoliants first. Then, apply the product with niacinamide. Many serums contain niacinamide but it can also be found in moisturizers, skin care masks, and sunscreen. Thinner products such as serum with niacinamide should go on before thicker products. Establish a routine that works for you and stick with it.

You can pair products that have niacinamide with almost anything else. But if you notice any irritation or redness, you may want to consult with your cosmetic provider.

The Best Niacinamide Products

If you’re ready to introduce niacinamide into your skincare routine, then we have a few suggestions of products we love.

what is Niacinamide



SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

This serum harnesses the power of niacinamide (vitamin B3) to reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots on the skin of the face. This skin-brightening serum is ideal for all skin types and is hydroquinone-free. Visit our blog to learn more about best SkinCeuticals products


DefenAge 8 in 1 BioSerum

This anti-aging serum helps to smooth wrinkles and fine lines, while firming the skin with the help of niacinamide and a unique blend of peptides. It boosts collagen production and helps to calm inflammation.

Specialty Treatments


EltaMD Renew Eye Gel

If you’re struggling with under-eye puffiness, fine lines, or dark circles, then this eye gel may be what you need. It contains niacinamide to help reduce redness and restore suppleness around the eyes that can result from dry, damaged under-eye skin.


Alastin Skincare Restorative Eye Treatment

Reduce puffiness, fine lines, firmness, and address the appearance of dark circles with this, Alastin Skincare niacinamide-rich eye treatment.


Alastin Skincare Restorative Neck Complex

The delicate skin of the neck needs special attention to help tighten and keep the skin tone even. This restorative neck complex helps to reduce redness and discoloration caused by sun damage as it helps to improve the appearance of the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.



A treatment was formally known as Cysteamine and is for those who struggle with hyperpigmentation. Cyspera helps to reduce melanin to brighten skin and even skin tone without the use of hydroquinone or retinoic acid. It’s gentle enough for all skin types.

What is Niacinamide



Sente Ultralight Defense Moisturizer

This long-lasting moisturizer helps to enhance the skin’s natural moisture barrier as it offers protection against free radicals and oxidative stress, leaving the skin feeling soft and looking bright.


DefenAge 24/7 Barrier Balance Cream

This moisturizer is specially formulated to help improve the overall tone and texture of the skin as it helps the skin to restore and maintain its moisture balance. Using this moisturizer regularly can help the skin feel firmer and look more radiant.


EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer

Add this moisturizer to your nighttime skincare routine to help improve your skin’s overall tone and color while also helping the skin to repair as you sleep. You’ll wake up with smooth, refreshed skin!

What is Niacinamide



EltaMD - UV Clear SPF 46

Protect your skin from the rays of the sun and the discoloration it can cause with this sunscreen. Niacinamide is combined with other products to help promote healthy, calm, and clear skin.


EltaMD UV Clear Tinted SPF 46

If you’re looking for a silky and lightweight moisturizer that offers a little tint to help even skin tone as it helps to protect your skin from UV rays, then this is the moisturizer for you. It can be worn with or without makeup and is great for all skin types.

Ready to Give Niacinamide a Try?

Niacinamide is an amazing product to add to your skincare routine. We love it because it’s safe and effective. Now that you know what niacinamide is and how to use it, put it on your list of things to try -- especially if you struggle with hyperpigmentation or other skin issues.

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