Everything you need to know about Niacinamide, the serum staple for brighter skin

You are probably familiar with niacinamide. Even if you don’t know how to pronounce it (guilty!), you’ve definitely seen it advertised as the star of your favorite serums. Niacinamide is an impressive, versatile ingredient—no wonder it’s all the rage these days. And in the spirit of not gatekeeping, I’m always ready and willing to talk about the best niacinamide serums I’ve come across.

While some busy beauty trends Lacking staying power in the ever-changing skin care world, niacinamide has been mainstream for quite some time. So believe what you’ve heard: once you start using it, you’ll never go back.

I began my niacinamide journey as many of us did: with The Ordinary’s Niacinamide and Zinc serum. It was all over my social media feeds and gaining attention for its high efficiency and low cost. I had only just heard of the transformative ingredient and desperate to experience the skin-saving magic, I dropped into The Ordinary’s tiny storefront on Prince Street in SoHo (IYKYK) and walked out with the product that would transform my skin.

Featured Image by Michelle Nash.

Photo by Michelle Nash

To this day, I call it my “good skin summer”. My skin absorbed the niacinamide serum and began to change before my eyes. Stubborn dark spots began to fade, my uneven texture became silky smooth, and my breakouts disappeared overnight. I could not believe it. My skin ate this ingredient – I was here for it brilliant results.

Eventually I reached a point of diminishing returns. My skin health skyrocketed and then plateaued. But I wasn’t ready to give up on niacinamide just like that. Instead, I began exploring new serums and experimenting with product combinations that would keep my skin on the same fast slope. The introduction of niacinamide was a game changer, but keeping it in mine skin care routine was a challenge. That is, until I discovered the best niacinamide serums that were gentle but effective.

Picture of Andrea Posadas

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that acts as a antioxidant. Just as your body needs antioxidants, so does your skin. They prevent and protect against damage from free radicals, which occur when stress factors in the environment wear down your skin barrier. Niacin, the active ingredient in niacinamide, repairs this damage while strengthening your skin.

What are the benefits of niacinamide?

Niacinamide’s restorative properties mean it does pretty much… everything. It protects your skin while undoing the damage caused by sun exposure, aging and hyperpigmentation. It has anti-inflammatory properties – so you get instant results for soothing redness and soothing breakouts – while penetrating deep into your skin for complete renewal.

The benefits of niacinamide include:

  • Smoothes fine lines
  • Smooth texture
  • Clearing acne
  • Stopping excessive oil production
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Diminishing dark spots
Picture of Sarah Prince

Is it okay to use niacinamide every day?

Yes! Because niacinamide strengthens your skin, you can (and should!) use it morning and night to support your overall skin health.

Niacinamide also helps to enrich other ingredients, such as Vitamin C and retinol. The barrier protection and skin soothing that this powerhouse provides offsets the dryness and irritation of retinol. It also increases the effectiveness of other antioxidants by speeding up cell turnover.

How to use Niacinamide serum in your skin care routine

Niacinamide serum is the most potent way to deliver a dose of this transformative ingredient. Whether you’re a beginner or a niacinamide devotee, playing around with different formulations can be exciting. When my skin gets used to a product or combination of ingredients, I like to embrace one minimalist skin care routine a while before adding the best niacinamide serums back in to really see the results.

The best niacinamide serums to add to your rotation

The best niacinamide serums are elegantly formulated to penetrate directly into your skin. Lower quality niacinamide serums make my skin sensitive and reactive while peeling under other products. Choosing the right products with active ingredients is always a balancing act. But don’t stress—this collection of the best niacinamide serums will save you a headache.

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