You know B vitamins are good for you but did you know they’re also a great skincare ingredient?
Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, is a jack-of-all-trades skin hero that does everything from moisturising to soothing inflammation and much more. It’s a popular solution for clearing congested, acne-prone skin and can even help reduce oil production.
It’s no wonder it has become a staple in skincare routines around the world.
The 7 Best Niacinamide Serums for Brighter, Healthier Skin
Alpha-H Vitamin B Serum with 5% Niacinamide
The Vitamin B Serum with 5% Niacinamide from ALPHA-H contains a powerful blend of ingredients that work together to enhance the skin’s barrier function, improve hydration, and even out the appearance of skin tone and texture. With an array of anti-aging benefits, this serum can aid with skin suppleness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The ALPHA-H Vitamin B Serum also contains ferulic acid, an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radical damage and promotes hydration. This makes it the perfect choice for those looking for a serum that provides both anti-aging and environmental protection.
- Improves the skin’s natural barrier
- Targets multiple skin concerns like fine lines and ageing, dull skin tone, dryness and congestion
- Suitable for those with sensitive skin
- Australian-made, cruelty-free, sulphate and paraben-free
- Absorbs quickly
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary is a pioneer in the beauty world, making potent yet budget-friendly skincare that can be seen on the top shelf of even the most discerning beauty editors.
One of their best-sellers is the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum considered a ‘holy grail’ thanks to its effectiveness and affordability. The powerful combo of 10% Niacinamide and Zinc works synergistically to reduce bacteria on the skin, regulate oil production, and minimise the appearance of pores. It’s been a personal saviour in managing and clearing hormonal acne around my mouth.
This serum has a lightweight consistency that doesn’t feel too oily or dry on the skin and leaves your complexion looking incredibly clear and radiant.
At under $10 AUD, it’s ideal for those looking to experience ‘phenomenal’ results without a hefty price tag. You will find this quickly becoming a staple in your skincare collection.
- Comes in 30ml and 60ml
- Enhanced with zinc to combat acne
- Lowers sebum production and reduces blemishes
- Great for oily and combo skin that’s congested
- Can help brighten the complexion and fade hyperpigmentation
- Cruelty-free and vegan, free of allergens
Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster
Another product that offers a high concentration of niacinamide is the 10% Niacinamide Booster from Paula’s Choice.
While it is significantly more expensive than The Ordinary, it also offers a more complex formulation and ingredients that complement the hero ingredient.
The 10% niacinamide provides anti-inflammatory and pore-minimising effects, Vitamin C works to brighten dull skin and dark spots and target fine lines and Allantoin and Licorice extract provides soothing benefits — particularly for sensitive or irritated skin.
With consistent use, you will find a more radiant and glowy complexion, pores minimised and a smoother and more hydrated skin surface.
- Contains 10 percent niacinamide with vitamin C and licorice extract
- Good for all skin types
- Treats premature aging
- Moisturises and soothes skin
- Comes in a dropper bottle which is easy to use
- Paraben and fragrance-free, cruelty-free
asap super B complex
Niacinamide gets a hydrating boost with hyaluronic acid in asap’s Super B Complex. This well-loved serum by the Aussie Cosmecutical brand is excellent for reviving dull and dehydrated skin, treating fine lines and wrinkles with antioxidants, and offering a collagen boost. The lightweight formula also contains glycolic acid and lactic acid (AHAs), that work with niacinamide to brighten the complexion and fade hyperpigmentation.
Though it offers many benefits, a slight downside to this product is the potential irritation due to the two types of AHAs, especially for those new to chemical exfoliants, making it not ideal for daily use. Additionally, the serum’s niacinamide percentage is not indicated.
- It contains hyaluronic acid for hydration and moisture
- Strengthens your moisture barrier
- Good for signs of aging
- Contains glycolic and lactic acid which improves radiance
- Cruelty-free, vegan, doesn’t contain artificial fragrance
Revolution Beauty London’s 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc Serum
Revolution Beauty London’s 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc Serum embodies no-frills beauty at its best.
With a pricepoint and ingredients remarkably similar to The Ordinary, this is a lightweight, fast-absorbing gel serum that makes skin feel smooth and refined. One thing that differentiates these brands is the texture and consistency. Many users prefer Revolution as The Ordinary has been known to pile and not sit well under certain products.
The hero ingredient, niacinamide works to aid in oil control, reduce blemishes, and minimise the appearance of pores. The added zinc works wonders in calming and soothing stressed skin.
If you’re someone with oily or congested skin, looking for an affordable everyday serum that actually works this product is for you.
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Comes in two sizes 30ml and 60ml
- Fast absorbing and no sticky residue
- Affordable and effective
SkinCeuticals – Metacell Renewal B3
If signs of aging is your top concern, this is the best niacinamide serum for you.
It’s a lightweight emulsion containing 5 per cent niacinamide, 2.5 per cent firming tripeptide concentrate, and 15 per cent pure glycerin. This combination draws moisture into the skin, leaving it plump and hydrated.
The serum’s main draw is its effectiveness in reducing signs of photoaging, which makes the skin look dull and old. The peptides fight skin aging, reduce the appearance of fine lines, give a firmer feel, and stimulate cell turnover for a soft, smooth, and glowy complexion.
The niacinamide pairs with glycerin to strengthen your moisture barrier and get rid of discoloured and blotchy skin, refining your texture for a fresh glow.
- One of the best serums for fighting signs of aging
- Contains 5 percent niacinamide and 2.5 per cent tripeptides which reduces the photoaging effects
- This also has glycerin which moisturises the skin
- Helps reduce the look of wrinkles and firms up the skin
- Refines skin texture and treats hyperpigmentation and discolouration
- Has a lightweight and smooth formula
- Comes in a pump bottle
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare – Stress Rescue Super Serum with Niacinamide
Dr. Dennis Gross, a renowned name in dermatology, offers a standout niacinamide serum ideal for stressed skin in need of a reset.
Niacinamide helps reduce inflammation in the skin and protects against oxidative stress while also combating early signs of aging. Superfoods like avocado, cacao, and perilla sprout work to correct and prevent the visible signs of stress on the skin, nourishing and revitalising the complexion. Meanwhile, adaptogens such as ashwagandha, rhodiola, and shatavari provide anti-inflammatory properties and excellent healing capabilities.
What sets it apart is a unique microcapsule delivery system, enhancing absorption. This serum is lightweight and fast-absorbing without leaving a sticky residue.
- A brand created by a reputable dermatologist
- The best niacinamide serum to treat stressed skin
- Contains nutrient-dense ingredients such as superfoods and adaptogens
- Boosts collagen production and retexturise skin
- Delivers the serum through microcapsules for better absorption
- Prevents breakouts and minimises pores
- Contains Ashwagandha and Goji for treating skin stress
- Lightweight and absorbs quickly so it feels good to use
The Beginner’s Guide to Niacinamide
Niacinamide is the buzz-worthy ingredient of the moment but I think over time, it will prove to be more than a passing fad. It has all the makings of a skincare classic, like retinol and vitamin C. Niacinamide is made from vitamin B3 (also called niacin) and is under the B complex vitamin category.
What is Niacinamide?
“Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) is a unique antioxidant that stands out for its ability to retrain skin cells to function in a healthier manner. Applied topically, it translates to very specific benefits for the skin,” explains Stordahl.
What is the benefit of Niacinamide for your skin?
The benefits of Niacinamide for the skin are multifaceted and significant, particularly in enhancing the skin’s appearance and protection.
Stordahl highlights the compound’s capabilities: “Among its most impressive benefits, research shows niacinamide can tighten enlarged pores, improve dull/uneven skin tone, and help smooth ‘orange-peel’ textured skin (especially when used in high concentrations). Niacinamide also strengthens the skin’s barrier (its first line of defence) and plays a role in repairing signs of past damage (including fine lines and wrinkles).
“Even more fascinating, evolving research shows it can help the skin to better protect itself from UV light (you still need sunscreen, but the additional support is a plus).” These attributes make Niacinamide an important ingredient for those looking to achieve healthier, more resilient skin.
Increases Skin Immunity: Niacinamide boosts the production of keratin, a key protein in skin cells. This helps maintain the skin’s protective barrier, reducing the likelihood of infections, cuts, nicks, and eczema flare-ups.
Strengthens the Lipid Barrier: It enhances the production of ceramides, which act like cement between skin cells, keeping the skin firm, supple, and moisturised. This is particularly beneficial for conditions like eczema, where moisture loss can lead to flare-ups and infections.
Reduces Redness and Inflammation: Niacinamide is effective in reducing skin inflammation and redness, making it beneficial for conditions like acne. It also helps regulate oil production, which can be particularly helpful for people with oily skin.
Evens Out Skin Tone: Niacinamide works synergistically with other skincare ingredients, such as vitamin C, kojic acids, and arbutin, to even out skin tone. It’s known for being a ‘friendly’ ingredient, meaning it’s generally well-tolerated and mixes well with other skincare components.
What percentage of niacinamide is effective?
When it comes to the effectiveness of niacinamide in skin care, the percentage used plays a vital role in determining the results.
Stordahl explains, “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%. With the higher end of the spectrum concentrations, you get more dramatic results, especially when it comes to minimising the appearance of lax pores that have stretched and enlarged and smoothing out textured skin.
“Lower concentrations of niacinamide (under 5%) are perfect for maintenance and prevention, while higher concentrations of niacinamide are ideal for skin concerns that are more difficult to treat,” she added.
In summary, niacinamide can be effective in concentrations ranging from as low as 0.2% for basic skincare maintenance to up to 20% for more dramatic and targeted results. The appropriate percentage depends on specific skincare needs and desired outcomes.
How to Choose the Best Niacinamide Serum for You
Concentration Matters: Higher concentration doesn’t mean better. Products with 10% niacinamide might not be optimal and can lead to skin irritation. Aim for products with a 5% concentration, which are effective without being too harsh.
Product Formulation: Pay attention to how niacinamide is formulated with other ingredients. Some products combine it with hyaluronic acid or panthenol (vitamin B5) to enhance skin benefits, like minimizing water loss and boosting hydration.
Application and Use: Start with a once-daily application to see how your skin responds. Use it after cleansing if it’s a serum. If it’s a moisturizer, it can be your final skincare step or applied under a thicker moisturizer if needed.
Texture and Feel: Consider the texture and feel of the product on your skin. Some may feel tacky or leave a whitish film, while others are lightweight and absorb well.
Price vs. Quality: Don’t equate price with quality. Expensive products aren’t always better. Similarly, cheaper products can be effective, but be wary of very high niacinamide concentrations.
What can I mix and not mix with Niacinamide?
Niacinamide’s versatility in skincare has led many to wonder what it can and cannot be mixed within a routine.
Stordahl clears up some common misconceptions, explaining, “Niacinamide plays well with other actives, including powerful ingredients like peptides, retinol, hyaluronic acid, BHA, and all types of antioxidants. There’s outdated misinformation on the web that you can’t use niacinamide with vitamin C but that’s since been debunked (it was based on old research that wasn’t interpreted correctly—you can get a deeper dive on that here). Essentially, you can mix niacinamide with anything, as long as your skin tolerates it.”
What’s the best way to use niacinamide?
Read the instructions of the product so you can use it as the manufacturer intended. Topical niacinamide products are better than wash-off types.
Use niacinamide after your cleanser and pH-dependent actives such as chemical exfoliants and vitamin C.
Apply the serum anywhere in your skincare routine after that, depending on its thickness. Thin serums go under thicker serums, lotions, and creams. For maximum results, use niacinamide twice a day. You can try layering it with moisturisers and serums, as well.
Serums are a great way to add an extra layer of hydration and protection to your skin, and niacinamide serums can be especially beneficial for many skin types and concerns. We hope this guide helped you find the product that is right for you.
If you are someone who has oily or congested skin, check out our favourite serums for acne-prone skin here.
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