20 Best Niacinamide Serums to Try Today, According to Our EditorsApril 25, 2023
What Is Niacinamide?
“Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3,” says Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant based in New York City. You can find it in a variety of skincare formulas, including serums and creams. “It can be used as a main ingredient in certain products or in combination with other ingredients to help calm the skin and improve tolerability,” she adds.
What Are the Benefits of Using Niacinamide Serum?
Dr. Garshick calls niacinamide a “versatile” ingredient that can be used on its own or paired with other ingredients to help target discoloration and improve the look of redness, as well as to help support the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It’s known for its brightening, moisturizing and soothing properties, which makes it a good option for those with acne or sensitive skin, she says.
Can You Use Niacinamide and Vitamin C Together?
The answer used to be no — according to Dr. Garshick, there was once concern that combining niacinamide and vitamin C could lead to redness and sensitivity. “That said, with current formulations of these ingredients, it is unlikely to cause a problem,” she says. “If you are concerned, however, about your specific regimen or products, it is best to check with a board-certified dermatologist.”
How to Use a Niacinamide Serum
Many niacinamide serums can be used morning and night, after cleanser, before moisturizer. However, it’s always smart to check the product packaging to see how often the brand recommends applying the product. If you’re still unsure, ask your dermatologist if a niacinamide serum will suit your skin type. Below, we’re recommending 20 of our favorite formulas.
20 of Our Favorite Niacinamide Serums
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Dark Spots Niacinamide Serum
Formulated with 4% niacinamide and 1% vitamin C, this dermatologist-tested serum reveals more even-looking skin in as little as eight weeks. It’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, and targets all types of skin discoloration, from melasma to age spots.
Vichy Minéral 89 Prebiotic
One of our go-to products for calm, glowing skin, this niacinamide-rich concentrate helps restore the skin’s moisture barrier, improves the look of fine lines and boosts skin’s radiance. When I reviewed this serum, I noticed my skin appeared more hydrated and radiant every day, even after nights where I hadn’t had much sleep.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Serum
Those with acne-prone skin, listen up: This serum from La Roche-Posay helps clear existing breakouts and fight new ones from popping up while reducing the look of pores, post-acne marks and even fine lines. It’s formulated with 1.5% salicylic acid and lipo-hydroxy acids to lightly exfoliate the skin, plus niacinamide to soothe.
CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Retinol is the gold-star ingredient for anti-aging — but it can have some drying, irritating side effects. This serum uses encapsulated retinol, which minimizes the potential for irritation, along with niacinamide and ceramides to help balance and calm the skin. Over time, it helps to reduce the look of acne marks and large pores for a smoother appearance.
Vichy LiftActiv B3 Serum Dark Spots & Wrinkles
Improve the look of dark spots, wrinkles and fine lines with this multi-use serum. Glycolic acid gently exfoliates to reveal more even, glowy skin, while niacinamide brightens and soothes.
La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Pure Retinol Serum
This anti-aging serum leaves the skin on your face and neck smoother and more hydrated. It also helps reduce the look of sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, thanks to a combination of pure retinol, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid — which is key for hydration.
Garnier Green Labs Canna-B Pore Perfecting 3 in 1 Serum Cream with Niacinamide + Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil
Made specifically for oily and combination skin types, think of this as three products in one: a niacinamide serum, a hydrating moisturizer and a sunscreen with SPF 30. Not only is it a major timesaver in your morning skincare routine, it also helps reduce the look of shine and large pores. As with any sunscreen, it should be reapplied as needed.
Youth to the People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum
This serum is powered by retinaldehyde and niacinamide. The brand recommends using this serum once a week to gradually build up your tolerance before increasing to nightly use.
SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
This daily dark spot corrector focuses on diminishing discoloration on all skin tones in as little as two weeks. It’s formulated with niacinamide, tranexamic acid (an ingredient that minimizes the look of dark spots) and kojic acid, which helps brighten skin’s appearance.
The INKEY List SuperSolutions 20% Niacinamide Serum
According to the brand, this potent niacinamide serum will help soak up excess oil, improve the look of skin’s texture and minimize the look of large pores. It is best suited for oily and acne-prone skin types.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum
For under $10, this pick reportedly targets visible pores, as well as the look of shine and uneven texture. The vegan, cruelty-free formula is also said to be great for controlling the appearance of oil on congested skin.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops
As Glow Recipe explains, this niacinamide serum brightens skin and has a dewy, reflective finish that acts like a liquid highlighter. For a subtle glow and brightening power, you can apply one to two drops before moisturizer — for maximum sheen, use this as the last step of your skincare routine.
Glossier Super Pure
With 5% niacinamide and zinc PCA, Glossier claims that this serum makes skin look smoother and helps decongest pores without over-drying the skin. It’s oil-free, lightweight and has a gel consistency that sinks into the skin with ease.
Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment
This treatment is formulated with a 15% active brightening complex made up of niacinamide, tranexamic acid and kojic acid. Over time, the brand claims it helps improve the look of uneven skin tone from sun damage, dark marks and post-blemish marks.
Valoie HYDRO-HONEY Serum Moisturizer
Valoie describes this product’s consistency as “lighter than a cream, silkier than a serum,” which makes it ideal for both hydrating and brightening. In addition to niacinamide, it contains a nourishing complex of honey and glycerin to draw moisture into the skin.
Dr. Barbara Sturm The Better B Niacinamide Serum
This serum is designed to specifically target the look of large pores, working to refine and visually reduce their size. Formulated with niacinamide, soothing vitamin B5 and marine plankton extract, it also helps to support the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Versed Skin Just Breathe Clarifying Serum
Take a deep breath: This serum is here to help calm skin. Made with niacinamide, zinc and willow bark extract, Versed claims it helps to decongest pores and minimize the look of redness. The bottle is also made with 50% post-consumer recycled plastic.
Allies of Skin Prebiotics & Niacinamide Pore Refining Booster
With 10% niacinamide and a brightening complex of licorice root and botanical extracts, this antioxidant-rich booster helps refine the appearance of pores and leaves skin looking radiant, per Allies of Skin. You can use it on its own or mix it into a serum, moisturizer or facial oil.
EADEM Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum
This milky, fragrance-free serum was developed specifically with skin of color in mind, though its brightening benefits extend to all skin tones and types. Formulated with niacinamide, amber algae and encapsulated vitamin C, the brand notes it helps improve the look of hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Dr. Dennis Gross B3 Adaptive SuperFoods™ Stress Rescue Super Serum
Developed by dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross, this serum contains a complex of soothing niacinamide, adaptogens and superfoods like goji. It helps to brighten skin, restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier and visibly improve the look of redness.