best niacinamide products

What are the best skincare products with niacinamide?

If there’s an ingredient that deserves more recognition in the skincare world, this is it. If there were an award for the most versatile skincare ingredient ever, niacinamide would win it. I’m not exaggerating when I say this active can do anything, from fighting wrinkles to treating acne and fading away dark spots – while at the same time hydrating skin and reducing irritation.

Olay was the brand that first put niacinamide on the map. Since then, Paula’s Choice, The Ordinary, and plenty of other brands have made it one of the main stars in their beauty products. With so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is best for you, your unique skin type and needs?

Fret not. Here are the best niacinamide products for every skin type, need, concern, and budget:

Niacinamide Benefits

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that benefits skin in a lot of different ways. While most actives make outrageous promises they can’t deliver, niacinamide promises a lot and delivers on everything count. So what does Niacinamide do in skincare exactly?

  • It hydrates skin: Niacinamide strengthens the skin’s protective barrier to keep moisture in. This makes skin softer and plumper. The best part? Niacinamide has been proven to be more effective than petrolatum (what dermatologists consider the gold standard for moisturisation) at preventing water loss, keeping skin hydrated for longer.
  • It soothes skin: It alleviates the symptoms of rosacea and irritations. This makes it ideal for every skin type, including sensitive.
  • It lightens skin: It reduces dark spots, blotchiness (redness) and sallowness (yellowing) to give you a beautiful, even complexion.
  • It helps treat wrinkles: Preliminary research shows it can boost the production of skin-firming collagen to prevent wrinkles from forming/deepening.
  • It treats acne: Its effects are similar to those of 1% clindamycin gel, but it’s gentler on the skin. Everyone can use it without experiencing irritation.

Sounds too good to be true? For once, it isn’t. Niacinamide can really do all this. Hello, beautiful glowing skin!

Related: Spotlight On Niacinamide

Want to get the most out of your skincare products? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive the “How To Combine Actives Like A Pro” cheatsheet.

What To Look For In Products With Niacinamide?

The only thing to look for in a product with niacinamide is the concentration. Not every product will list this on the label (and often, that tells you everything you need to know). As a rule of thumb, it should be listed as the first five ingredients so there’s enough of it to actually do its job!


What can products with niacinamide do?

Niacinamide is a multi-tasker that can fight wrinkles, reduce acne, soothe irritations, fade away dark spots, and even hydrate skin.

What can’t products with niacinamide do?

Niacinamide is an amazing multi-tasker, but it’s not a miracle worker. It can’t firm skin or single-handedly make dark spots disappear overnight. If a clean is too good to be true, it probably is.

Who should use products with niacinamide?

Anyone can use products with niacinamide. It works wonders for every skin type and concern.

Who should not use it?

You should not use niacinamide only if you’re allergic to it.

Can you use products with niacinamide if you have sensitive skin?

Yes! Niacinamide is a great active to treat acne, wrinkles, and dark spots in sensitive skin that can’t tolerate harsher treatments.

How often should you use products with niacinamide?

Up to twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

Can you use niacinamide with Vitamin C?

There’s a myth going round saying you can’t use niacinamide with Vitamin C because they form of a complex that turns the solution yellow, making both ingredients ineffective. But this reaction takes soooooooo long to occur, you can finish your serums while these actives are still working wonders.

Best Products With Niacinamide

Best For Oily Skin: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (£5.00)

Let’s be clear: niacinamide isn’t a miracle cure for oily skin or acne. But, it can soothe inflammation (one of the main causes of acne), reduce the redness that always comes along with an angry zit, help pimples heal faster and fade away those little dark spots they sometimes leave behind as an unwanted parting gift. All things your oily, acne-prone skin badly needs. Plus, The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% pairs it with Zinc, another anti-inflammatory that helps reduce the signs of acne, too.

Available at: Beauty Bay, Boots, Cult Beauty, Sephora, SpaceNK, The Ordinary, and Ulta

Active Ingredients: 10% niacinamide + 1% zinc.

Benefits: Absorbs excess oil and helps to both prevent and treat acne.

Cons: Too drying for most skin types.

Skin type: Oily and acne-prone.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: The Complete Guide To The Ordinary Anti-Acne Skincare Products

Best For Anti-Aging: CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum ($21.99)

If you’re serious about fighting wrinkles, you need retinol in your skincare routine. Period. This form of Vitamin A boosts the production of collagen, the protein that keeps your skin firm. The more collagen your skin has, the slower wrinkles appear and the less pronounced they are. It also fights free radicals before they give you new wrinkles. While retinol shines at fighting wrinkles, it also helps reduce acne and fade away dark spots. The catch? It can be drying and irritating. CeraVe paired it with niacinamide and ceramides to keep skin hydrating while retinol works its anti-aging magic. Suitable for all skin types – unless your skin can’t tolerate retinol at all.

Available at: Boots, Cult Beauty, Sephora, and Ulta

Active Ingredients: retinol, niacinamide, and ceramides.

Benefits: Fights wrinkles, acne, and dark spots.

Cons: Retinol can be drying when you first start using it.

Skin type: All skin types, especially dry.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Best High-Strength Niacinamide Serum: Cosrx The Niacinamide 15 Serum ($25.00)

Let’s get one thing straight: 10% niacinamide is more than enough for most people. Higher concentrations give you faster results – but the risk of irritation is higher too. If you have resistant skin that can take the extra load – and you want to treat your acne faster, get a bottle of this. Niacinamide helps treat acne and reduce the redness that comes along with pimple, zinc absorbs excess oil, and hydrating humectants keep the formula from being too drying. Still, because of oil-absorbing zinc, I recommend this serum only to oily, acne-prone skin.

Available at: Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Soko Glam, Stylevana, Ulta, and Yes Style

Active Ingredients: niacinamide and zinc.

Benefits: Fights acne and dark spots.

Cons: Too drying if your skin doesn’t produce excess oil.

Skin type: Oily and acne-prone skin.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

paula's choice 10% niacinamide booster 01

Best For Multitasking: Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster ($42.00)

Don’t know where niacinamide fits into your routine? With Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster, it can fit anywhere! Just pour 3 or 4 drops into your fave serum or moisturizer to supercharge it and you’re good to go. It’ll shrink your pores, hydrate your skin, and brighten the complexion. Plus, in true Paula Choice’s style, the booster is full of antioxidants to help you keep those pesky premature wrinkles at bay, too. In case you’re wondering, yes, vitamin C is here too – and you can totally use them together. It’s a myth you can’t – and I’ve debunked it here.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK

Active Ingredients: niacinamide and Vitamin C.

Benefits: Brightening, hydrating, wrinkle-fighting, and pore-shrinking.

Cons: The bottle is small, so expect to buy it often.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Best For Sensitive Skin: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum ($42.00)

Niacinamide itself is very soothing. It can treat wrinkles, acne, dryness, and dark spots while reducing inflammation – all without irritating sensitive skin. What sets this serum apart is the inclusion of every anti-inflammatory ingredient you can think of, from green tea to licorice extract to feverfew extract. It’s not the fastest treatment for dark spots, but it’s the gentlest. If other options irritate your skin, get your hands on this baby, pronto.

Available at: Dermstore, Look Fantastic, and Sephora

Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, green tea, liquorice extract.

Benefits: Brightens skin, hydrates, and soothes irritation.

Cons: Not the fastest treatment for dark spots.

Skin type: All skin types, especially sensitive.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Best For Brightening: Olay Tone Perfection Serum B3 + Vitamin C ($39.99)

Can you guess how Olay Tone Perfection Serum B3 + Vitamin C brightens your skin tone? Yep, it uses both niacinamide and vitamin C (again, they CAN be used together). This combo isn’t enough to fade away stubborn dark spots, but it can fade away dark marks left behind by pimples and give your complexion a radiant glow. Plus, panthenol and glycerin give your skin a hydrating boost that plumps skin and makes it look healthy. If you’ve got dull skin, give it a try.

Available at: Olay

Active Ingredients: Niacinamide and Vitamin C.

Benefits: Brightens skin.

Cons: If you already use Vitamin C in your skincare routine, you don’t need this too.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: Which Is The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?

the inkey list niacinamide

Best For Dry Skin: The Inkey List Niacinamide ($6.99)

If you’ve got dry skin that needs more help in the moisture department, look no further than The Inkey List Niacinamide. Sure, the huge dollop of niacinamide helps fight wrinkles, treat acne, and brighten the skin tone. But where this serum truly excels is moisturization. On top of hydrating niacinamide, it also has hyaluronic acid to add moisture back into the skin and Squalane to strengthen its protective barrier, preventing water from evaporating out again. I’ve used this all winter long and it helped to keep my skin soft, supple, and healthy.

Available at: Boots, Cult BeautyThe Inkey List

Active Ingredients: Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Benefits: Moisturises skin.

Cons: Doesn’t have any anti-aging properties.

Skin type: All skin types, especially dry.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: My Full Review Of The Inkey List Niacinamide

Best For All Skin Types: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ($20.99)

This is my fave moisturiser for all skin types. Oil-free, this lightweight lotion is enriched with niacinamide and ceramides (natural components of your skin’s natural protective barrier) to moisturise skin without adding more oils to it. It walks that perfect balance between being moisturising enough and not feeling greasy or unpleasant on the skin. I’ve recommended it to clients with all skin types and it just works. If you’re struggling to find a good moisturiser for your unique skin types and needs, give this one a go.

Available at: Boots, Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic, and Ulta

Active Ingredients: niacinamide and ceramides.

Benefits: Moisturises skin.

Cons: Doesn’t have any anti-aging properties.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Best For Shrinking Pores: FaceTheory Porebright Serum N10 (£22.00)

This lightweight formula is loaded with actives that help you keep oily skin under control and pore size as small as possible. It has azelaic acid, niacinamide and salicylic acid to treat acne, prevent new breakouts, and fading away any dark spots pimples have left behind. Salicylic acid also exfoliates pores from within, unclogging them of the crap that stretched them out to ginormous size. It also helps keep oil production at bay. Oh, and it does all this without drying out skin.

Available at: FaceTheory

Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, azelaic acid, and salicylic acid.

Benefits: Shrinks pores, absorbs excess oil production, and treats acne.

Cons: May be drying for dry skin.

Skin type: Oily and acne-prone skin.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

The Verdict

Niacinamide is a multi-tasker that can fix a wide variety of skin types and concerns, including acne and dark spots. The products above are the best on the market. Pick your favourite and start incorporating it into your skincare routine straight away.