What Does Niacinamide Do for the Skin?

Young woman sitting on bed after shower, applying Niacinamide cream to her face

There are some powerful skincare ingredients you have heard us talk about before; things like vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc oxide can protect your skin from environmental factors and retinoids can help fight the signs of aging. But these aren’t the only ingredients that can benefit you to incorporate into your skin care routine.

There are countless niacinamide benefits for the skin and it’s even touted as one of Hailey Bieber’s all-time favorite ingredients, giving topical niacinamide a lot of good press, and rightfully so.

What does niacinamide do and why do Hailey and all her followers sing its praises? That’s what we’re here to discuss. We’ll also share what skin types benefit from niacinamide the most so you can know whether you should be incorporating it into your skin care routine. Scroll through this helpful guide to discover all you need to know about this skin care ingredient.

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a multi-active stable form of Vitamin B3. Also called nicotinamide, niacinamide is the metabolically active ingredient form of niacin. When comparing niacin vs niacinamide, niacinamide is simply a derivative of niacin. Niacin and many forms of vitamin B are naturally occurring and present in many foods such as chicken, salmon, beef, and pork, and is converted to niacinamide in the body.

However, most people are unable to reach an optimal amount of nutrients through food alone. To make a notable impact on your skin, consider supplementing with a topical niacinamide; it’s a foolproof way to ensure that you reap niacinamide’s many benefits. What are they? Keep reading…

What Does Niacinamide Do?

Niacinamide is an essential nutrient that does a lot for most skin types, including oily skin, blemish-prone skin, and more. Just take a look at this laundry list of ways it supports healthier-looking skin.

Helps Strengthen the Skin Barrier

One of the great benefits of niacinamide is its ability to support the skin barrier repair process. This all-important feature of the skin helps protect it from harmful pathogens and moisture loss. By helping to rebuild a lipid layer in the skin, niacinamide enhances the skin barrier and thus encourages moisture retention, protection from environmental damage, and visibly healthier-looking skin.

Another benefit of a stronger skin barrier is that other skincare ingredients become easier to tolerate. When the skin barrier is strong, the skin benefits more from the efforts of your routine and the other ingredients you’re using, such as retinoids, AHAs, and vitamin C.

Supports Hydration Levels

While niacinamide helps the skin retain moisture by strengthening the skin barrier, it also attains hydration as it helps enhance the effectiveness of other moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and plant oils. This means, by simply adding it to your routine, you can help fight signs of dry skin and reap greater results from your moisturizing products.

Prevents Environmental Damage

Niacinamide is an antioxidant, which means it can help protect your skin from UV damage that is caused by the sun and environmental pollutants. It does this by protecting against free radicals in the skin, which can lead to uneven skin tone and skin texture. The daily damage the environment has on our skin is invisible in the moment, but in the long term, its effects are the most visible.

To help combat such damage, add niacinamide to your skincare routine, and apply sunscreen to ensure your skin can stay safe from the sun on a daily basis.

Visibly Reduces Signs of Aging

What else does niacinamide do for the skin? The list goes on… It can also visibly reduce signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re concerned about any one or all of these things, niacinamide could be a great addition to your skincare routine. It can help reduce the appearance of discoloration, brighten your skin tone, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and support the skin’s natural repair process.

Reduces Blemishes

Another reason so many love niacinamide is its effect on blemishes. It can help fight pesky breakouts and keep them from occurring through its ability to help rebalance surface sebum levels in the skin. It can also help calm blemishes and reduce the appearance of skin redness that comes with them by soothing the skin. For anyone struggling with blemish-prone skin or breakouts, niacinamide can offer a welcome relief.

Should You Use Niacinamide?

So, it boasts a boatload of benefits, but does that mean using niacinamide is right for you? The odds are in your favor!

The great thing about niacinamide is that it’s extremely versatile. So, many people can add this to their routine without the fear of unwanted side effects. It also works incredibly well with other popular skincare ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about throwing a wrench in your routine just to add niacinamide into it. Before you reach for a bottle of niacinamide serum, though, let’s break it down.

…With Your Skin Type

Niacinamide is a gentle ingredient, which is, in part, why it’s so popular. People with a variety of skin types can use niacinamide and reap its benefits. And, as we mentioned above, when using niacinamide, you can help support a stronger skin barrier, which can lead to less irritation all around. Whether you’re looking to address dryness, signs of aging, environmental damage, blemishes, niacinamide can support your skin and help you see results. Be sure to check out this article on How to Use Niacinamide to learn more about using this ingredient for your skin type.

…With Other Skincare Ingredients

Being both gentle and naturally occurring in the body, niacinamide is a great ingredient to pair with other ingredients that are already a part of your skincare routine. It can also help bolster the results you see. For instance, when using both niacinamide and vitamin c, the combination of ingredients can help calm visible redness, reduce signs of hyperpigmentation, and encourage healthy-looking, glowing skin.

Whether combined in a single face serum, or in multiple products you layer throughout your routine, niacinamide is considered safe to use with other ingredients, many of which can even enhance its benefits.

How To Start Using Niacinamide

Using niacinamide is easy to do; it’s widely available in a variety of products, which means you can start seeing all that this powerful ingredient can do for your skin sooner rather than later.

To reap the benefits of multiple ingredients at once, consider incorporating a niacinamide-containing serum into your routine. Our Bio Retinoid™ Youth Serum combines niacinamide with ceramides and Bidens Pilosa, a plant-derived alternative to retinol. Apply to even out your skin tone, add hydration, and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles after just 7 days.

By using this serum, you can easily incorporate niacinamide into your routine and check off a slew of skin concerns in one single bottle that you can use nightly.

About the Author

Camille Poggi is a doctor in Pharmacy (PharmD.) and is passionate about skincare and how the skin works in general. She specializes in the cosmetic industry and worked for renowned companies in France like L’Oréal and Chanel before moving to London. After being a training manager for 4 years, Camille is at ease with explaining how products work in the skin and how to adapt her speech according to the audience.

She joined REN in January 2020 as International Training Manager and moved to the Research & Development team earlier this year to be the new Scientific Education Manager. A tailored-made role where she assesses and leads all technical communication and ensures scientific compliance is always met. She’s also involved in new product development from the earliest stages. Finding a way to create sustainable skincare products and making sure the message is properly delivered and understood is definitely a big challenge but also her favorite part working for REN.


  1. https://www.renskincare.com/blogs/clean-thoughts/how-to-support-your-skin-barrier-repair-process
  2. https://www.renskincare.com/blogs/clean-thoughts/gentle-skin-care-routine
  3. https://www.renskincare.com/blogs/clean-thoughts/can-you-use-niacinamide-and-vitamin-c-together
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34439563/
  5. https://jddonline.com/articles/effect-of-a-tranexamic-acid-kojic-acid-and-niacinamide-containing-serum-on-facial-dyschromia-a-clini-S1545961619P0454X/?_page=5
  6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Niacin-HealthProfessional/
  7. https://www.allure.com/story/what-is-niacinamide-skin-care-benefits
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18492135/