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Ingredient Deep Dive: Niacinamide

Get to know this versatile ingredient better

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Ingredient Deep Dive: Niacinamide
Written byKamara Hakeem-OyawoyeCosmetic scientist
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What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide has solidified itself as one of the industry’s most coveted skincare ingredients due to its seamless ability to multitask. This water-soluble form of Vitamin B3 will support you on your skin journey, helping to improve skin texture and strengthen the skin barrier.

How does niacinamide work?

Niacinamide isn’t stored in the skin like Vitamin C or Collagen and requires consistent replenishment or upkeep to maintain results. Although Niacinamide is also found in food, and can be taken via supplements or through IVs, topical application is a lot simpler, accessible and thankfully affordable!

Because of its absorbable nature, Niacinamide, being a versatile active, is typically a precursor for ‘NAD’ and eventually, ‘NADP’.  Both NAD and NADP are the names of the coenzymes, which support the function of enzymatic activity in the cells AKA energy production in the cells [1].

Think of it like giving the skin a power bank, or a backup generator. So, as our skin cells start to age and need regenerating to put a pep back in their step, enter: Niacinamide. The ingredient goes through a series of metabolic processes in the skin, eventually spitting out NAD and NADP to supercharge this regeneration.

Not only does this limit the breakdown of important activities within the skin, it minimises the replication of unhealthy or damaged cells, supports repairs when needed and protects the skin through its antioxidant activity. 

What are the main benefits of niacinamide?

Niacinamide drives a lot of processes in the skin. Due to its versatility, it is much loved for its ability to: 

  • Reduce hyperpigmentation/dark marks: Niacinamide can help reduce hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone by inhibiting the production of melanin. Whether it’s onset by menopause, acne, scarring, pigmentary disorders or just another day in life, niacinamide is extremely hardworking when it comes to skin brightening [2].  

This typically works in two ways:

1. Niacinamide is able to promote cell turnover – i.e. the growth of a new cycle of the skin. As the new skin grows the outermost layers shed, replacing dead skin with a more vibrant counterpart. Taking with it pigmentation that sits on the surface, until it eventually sheds. 

2. Niacinamide also interrupts the processes involved in melanin distribution to reduce and slow down hyperpigmentation forming. This could be especially beneficial to those with melasma.

  • Reduce redness and inflammation: In most cases, inflammation and redness go hand-in-hand, irrespective of skin colour and whether the redness is visible. When topically applied, niacinamide works well to minimise inflammation and has even been reported to work in conditions such as rosacea. It can be particularly helpful for those with acne-prone or sensitive skin.
  • Strengthen the skin barrier: If you are not intentionally focusing on skin barrier strength or focusing on repairing your skin barrier, but you’re using anything with niacinamide in, you're already doing a great job at looking after it. 

    Niacinamide or B3 is a superstar at balancing oil composition. So, if you have oily or dry skin, it should help swing the pendulum back towards the middle. For those who are skin types prone to eczema or rashes, niacinamide may also be able to help with that. As it supports ceramide and cholesterol production, it closes up the gaps in the barrier that can lead to itching, dryness and overall discomfort [3]. 
  • Improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles: Niacinamide can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production in the skin. This can result in firmer, smoother skin over time.
  • Minimise the appearance of pores: Niacinamide can help reduce the appearance of pores by regulating the production of sebum, the oil that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

Is Niacinamide suitable for all skin types? 

Listening to what your skin is saying is at the core of what we believe at Renude. 

Fortunately, niacinamide has a proven track record of being safe for all skin types, as long as it is used at around 5%. However, due to some unique features, we recommend the following based on different skin types, tones and concerns:

1. Black and brown skin tones

Despite the limitations in data, a consistent finding in studies concerning darker skin types is the lack of ceramides and distinct lipid profiles for evolutionary purposes. Niacinamide’s ability to support the ceramides and lipid profile’s metabolism reduces the movement of water out of the skin and the onset of eczema for those exposed to colder and less humid climates [4].

2. Those with sensitive, inflamed or textured skin 

Unfortunately, a lot of us have overexposed our skin to harsh actives such as AHA’s and BHA’s, Retinoids or Benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment, which cause sensitivity, and inflammation causing the skin to become textured. Scaling back with calm nurturing ingredients such as Niacinamide allows the skin to heal from the inside out, bringing us closer to the skin that we love.

Is there anyone who should not use Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is generally considered safe for all skin types. However, there are a few people who may want to avoid using it:

  • Those with a niacin allergy: If you have a niacin allergy, you may also be allergic to niacinamide. It's always a good idea to patch-test any new skincare product before applying it to your face.
  • Those with liver disease: Niacinamide can be processed by the liver, so those with liver disease may want to avoid using it or talk to a doctor before adding it to their skincare routine.

What other ingredients can you combine it with as part of a routine? 

The secret to optimising your skincare results is to choose products and ingredients that work symbiotically towards your targeted result. Luckily for us, Niacinamide is a good team player and seems to work well with a host of other ingredients. 

Depending on the intended results, we would recommend pairing Niacinamide with an oil applied on top to seal it in and allow it to work deeper within the skin. Pairing it with SPFs and other high-powered antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid and Vitamin D would boost antioxidant activity and create an almost bulletproof shield.

How to introduce Niacinamide into your skincare routine

If you're interested in adding niacinamide to your skincare routine, here are a few tips to get started:

  • Start with a low concentration: To avoid any potential irritation, start with a product that contains a low concentration of Niacinamide, such as 2%.
  • Patch test first: Before applying Niacinamide all over your face, it's always a good idea to patch test it on a small area of skin to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction.
  • Introduce it slowly: If you're new to Niacinamide, start by using it once a week and gradually increase the frequency to avoid any potential irritation or sensitivity. 
  • Be patient: Like most skincare ingredients, it can take time to see results from using Niacinamide. It's important to be patient and consistent with your use to achieve the best results.

Introducing Niacinamide into your AM routine?

After washing your face with a hydrating face wash like CeraVe Foaming Cleanser, apply COSRX Niacinamide Serum 15, before moisturising with Bioderma Hydroio Gel Creme and a full spectrum SPF.

Renude Approved Niacinamide Products:

Niacinamide is a versatile skincare ingredient that can benefit a wide range of skin types and concerns. It has numerous benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reducing hyperpigmentation, minimising the appearance of pores, and moisturizing the skin. 

1. CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser

2. Medik8 Calmwise Soothing Foaming Cleanser

3. Allies of Skin Peptides and Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment

4. Garden of Wisdom Niacinamide Serum

While it's generally considered safe for all skin types, we would always recommend you speak to one of our Renude Aestheticians before introducing it into your skincare routine and follow their advice to enjoy the benefits of niacinamide for healthy, glowing skin.

Take our skin health quiz as a first step in receiving your personal routine and speak to one of our aestheticians about even more ingredients. 


Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin - PubMed ( 

Structural and functional differences in barrier properties of African American, Caucasian and East Asian skin - PubMed (

Kamara Hakeem-OyawoyeCosmetic scientist
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Kamara Hakeem-OyawoyeCosmetic scientist
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