Prevention.com posted “15 Best Niacinamide Serums for Brighter Skin, According to Dermatologists” featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel and Visha Skincare.
The article includes Dr. Patel’s expert commentary on Niacinamide, and features Visha Skincare's Advanced Correcting Serum.
This do-it-all ingredient can keep oil in check, reduce redness, and get your skin glowing.
Niacinamide has become one of the buzziest skincare words on the market—and for good reason. The superstar ingredient works to treat various skin concerns at once, making it essential to add the best niacinamide serum into your skincare regimen.
Wait, what is niacinamide?
The ingredient is a form of vitamin B3 and can stand on its own in serums and creams, but it’s even better when combined with other skin-boosting ingredients. “B3 is an essential nutrient the body needs,” says Purvisha Patel, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare.
Despite what the packaging says, it’s best to scan the ingredients label and look for “niacinamide”—not nicotinic acid. “It’s thought that nicotinic acid converts into niacinamide, but nicotinic acid can cause flushing and redness of the skin,” says Dr. Patel.
What does niacinamide do and how does it work?
“Niacinamide does a little bit of everything with minimum to potentially no irritation, making it a very inclusive ingredient,” says Elyse Love M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “This powerhouse ingredient soothes the skin barrier, decreases overall irritation for a slew of skin issues, helps enhance skin’s overall moisture, reduces oiliness, and promotes more even skin tones,” she explains.
Dr. Patel also adds that the ingredient has a significant brightening benefit, “as it affects melanocytes, cells that play a role in pigment formation in the skin.” For that reason, you’ll find it in products designed to fight discoloration and lessen red marks left over from acne. What’s more, because niacinamide reduces irritation, “it can temper the effects of other anti-aging ingredients that can cause the skin to act up, like wrinkle-smoothing retinol or exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids,” Dr. Patel adds.
Serums are actually one of the best vehicles for niacinamide. “The vitamin is water-soluble and will most effectively absorb into the skin in a serum form,” explains Dr. Patel. “An effective serum should also have two to 10% of niacinamide,” says Annie Gonzalez, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami.
How often should I use niacinamide?
The great news is that niacinamide is gentle and can be used daily in both your morning and nighttime skincare routines. As with any serum, make sure you layer it on after cleansing your skin (to remove makeup, dirt, and oil) and before moisturizer (so it can penetrate the skin more easily.) “I personally infuse this into my skincare routine and am regularly recommending this to my patients,” says Dr. Love.
Now that know the facts about this ingredient, you can give your skin the glow it deserves. Here are the best niacinamide serums you can try, according to experts and shoppers.
1. Pure Retinol Face Serum with Vitamin B3
This pure retinol face and neck serum is a dream come true if you haven’t found a daily serum that works for you. It leaves the skin feeling smoother, hydrated, and refreshed right after using the product. And with over 1,500 five-star ratings on Amazon, it's customer favorite as well.
2. Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum
So lightweight you can barely feel it on your skin, the niacinamide and zinc PCA (helps reduce the look of clogged pores) in this serum are an ideal duo for balancing oil production to keep pores clear while maintaining needed moisture. Fragrance-free, it won’t cause skin irritations.
3. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum
“This is one of the best options out there, and added bonus is the affordable price,” says Dr. Love. “It combines the powerhouse ingredients of niacinamide with zinc, another great anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredient. It’s also a lightweight option that is complementary to an acne routine. I also reach for this serum because it’s cruelty-free and vegan. Dab all over the face morning and evening before applying heavier creams or moisturizers,” she advises.
4. PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment
When your focus is on reviving skin’s radiance and chasing away discoloration, this niacinamide complex contains a bevy of brighteners. Along with niacinamide, there’s tranexamic (helps reduce the look of dark spots) and kojic acids (for brightening) to tackle discoloration, says Dr. Patel. The overwhelmingly positive reviews say that this product has helped lighten scars, acne marks, and hyperpigmentation while improving the skin’s texture.
5. Mineral 89 Prebiotic Face Serum
“This hyaluronic acid + niacinamide + probiotic serum helps soothe irritated skin and fight visible signs of aging and stress,” says Dr. Love. “Most of my dry skin-prone patients are using this in conjunction with their prescription topicals. Every morning and evening, apply two pea-sized drops onto cleansed skin as the first step in your routine.”
6. Metacell Renewal B3 Unisex
This serum’s formula is crafted with niacinamide to tackle dark spots on the skin, peptides that plump, and hydrating-but-not-greasy glycerin, this product (a cross between a lotion and serum) makes the skin look and feel renewed the second you smooth it on. Suitable for all skin types, the moisturizer is also sulfate-, paraben-, fragrance-, and phthalate-free.
7. Niacinamide Oil Control Serum
With 10% niacinamide, this well-priced and potent serum is a fan favorite. Not only is niacinamide added to reduce oil production to fight blemishes, but it also relieves the redness that comes with acne. And the hyaluronic acid ingredient hydrates without contributing to greasiness.
8. Facial Radiance Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum
“I love this lightweight serum that’s formulated with niacinamide and licorice root (helps to soothe and brighten the skin) to promote a radiant appearance,” says Dr. Love. “It works hard to reduce dark spots, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and post-acne scars. Apply morning and evening as the first step in your routine, then end with moisturizer—and SPF, of course, if you’re applying in the morning!”
9. Advanced Correcting Serum
Dr. Patel recommends this serum to patients looking to treat mature skin concerns like fine lines and wrinkles. It works to promote exfoliation, improve the skin’s barrier, and even out skin tone. It’s also packed with other agents that target discoloration, including kojic acid and licorice extract, as well as retinol to promote collagen formation and smooth fine lines.
10. 10% Niacinamide Booster
This booster packs in 10% niacinamide to tackle uneven skin tone. (It also helps cinch pores while it’s at it, refining texture.) Licorice extract tackles redness, while vitamin C provides another boost of brightness. Add two to three drops of this silky serum to your moisturizer (or dab onto the skin alone) at night and during the day.
11. Honest Beauty Calm & POREfect Serum
“This is a very lightweight serum that sinks in quickly,” wrote one satisfied Amazon customer. “I have combo dehydrated skin with rosacea and eczema. And this works well with no irritation and no pilling. Highly recommend!” The formula includes a unique calming phyto-blend ingredient that works to soothe the skin and marine-derived amino acid that helps to hydrate.
12. Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Retinol stimulates skin cell turnover to reveal fresh skin underneath, helping to fade dark and red marks. The addition of niacinamide brightens and guards against the potentially irritating effects of retinol. Testers love the silky texture and credit it for reducing the appearance of acne scars and melasma.
13. Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops
Glow Recipe’s niacinamide-infused highlighting serum not only smells and looks good, but it works great, too! It’s the first of its kind highlighting skincare product that helps to brighten the skin and provide an effortless glow instantly while helping to reduce hyperpigmentation. The brand notes 97% of users agree the product made their skin look more glowy.
14. Tone Perfection Serum with Vitamin B3
This delightfully creamy serum combines the antioxidant powers of vitamin C and vitamin B3 to give the skin a visible boost in hydration and brightness. The fast-absorbing formula almost feels like a lightweight lotion, but doesn’t leave behind that sticky or tacky feeling. It layers wonderfully underneath heavier creams or SPF and has no fragrance, so even those with sensitive skin can enjoy it.
15. C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum
This luxe serum packs a unique vitamin C technology alongside niacinamide and collagen for a do-it-all skincare product. Customers love how smoothly it applies, and that a little bit goes a long way.