Is Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 Worth The Splurge?

by Gio

skinceuticals metacell renewal b3

One of the best things we can do for our skin is to use niacinamide. This anti-aging superstar can really improve the appearance of the early signs of aging, such as wrinkles and sun spots.

But, so many brands are being quite slow at jumping on the niacinamide bandwagon, busy as they are discovering their own supposedly-miraculous-but-actually-useless special ingredients. *sighs*

One brand that gets their science right is Skinceuticals. Niacinamide is the star of the Metacell Renewal B3, which claims to reduce photodamage (another word for sun damage). There is a whooping 5% of it here. I know 5% doesn’t sound like much, but it’s one of the hightest concentrations you’ll find in a cosmetic product these days. Well done, Skinceuticals!

But, is that alone worthy the equally whooping $110.00 price tag? Let’s investigate:

Why Niacinamide is so awesome for the skin

Niacinamide, also called vitamin B3, is one of those multi-tasking ingredients that does absolutely everything:

Best of all? Unlike other effective multi-staskers, such as retinol and vitamin C, niacinamide has no side effects. It’s so gentle, even those with sensitive skin can safely use it. Isn’t that awesome?

What else is in Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3?

  1. 15% of glycerin, a humectant that draws water from the environment into the skin, keeping it well-hydrated. And when skin is hydrated, it glows.
  2. Silicones. They make up its base, which is why its texture feels so silky soft and spreads on the skin so easily. And nope, silicones, don’t suffocate skin. Their particular molecular structure is made up of large molecules with large spaces between each molecule that allow skin to perspire.
  3. Citrus oils, which have no real benefit for the skin, but can cause irritations and even darken skin (quite ironic since this emulsion is designed to fight that!). There’s very little of them in here, so I doubt they’ll cause any real problems, but always use it with a good sunscreen, just in case.
  4. Tetradecyl aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric urea trifluoroacetate, a tripeptide that reduces wrinkles and firms skin. At least, according to the company that makes it. There are no indepedent studies confirming these claims yet.

What else isn’t here?

Antioxidants. Skinceuticals relies heavily on niacinamide here to do pretty much all the work, which is not a bad idea. Niacinamide works. But, if you charge $110.00 for a bottle, I can’t help but feel you should include some more goodies in the formula, don’t you?

Personal experience and results

Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 has a lightweight texture that sinks immediately into the skin, without leaving any greasy residue behind. I’ve been using it for a few months now, and my skin is smoother, is slightly more hydrated, and my fine lines look a bit smaller, too.

This emulsion worked really well for me during the heart of winter, when my skin decided to turn dry and sensitive. My beloved retinol became too harsh for a while, and Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 soothed it while giving my skin everything it needed to fight photoaging.

So, is Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 worth the splurge?


Yes, if your skin is sensitive and you need something that can fight photoaging without irritating it.

No, if you don’t feel like splurging on a fairly basic niacinamide treatment that lacks antioxidants. In this case, a cheaper retinol or vitamin C serum can give you the same results.

Price & Availability: $110.00 DermStore.

Ingredients: aqua / water / eau, glycerin, dimethicone, niacinamide, propanediol, dimethicone/peg-10/15 crosspolymer, methylsilanol/silicate crosspolymer, sodium chloride, polymethylsilsesquioxane, phenoxyethanol, microcrystalline cellulose, ci 77163 / bismuth oxychloride, chlorphenesin, caprylyl glycol, sodium citrate, ethylhexyl hydroxystearate, peg-10 dimethicone, disodium edta, cellulose gum, laminaria digitata extract, adenosine, citrus aurantium amara flower oil / bitter orange flower oil, melaleuca viridiflora leaf oil, tetradecyl aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric urea trifluoroacetate, linalool, cymbopogon flexuosus oil, citral, limonene, pelargonium graveolens flower oil

PR Sample. Affiliate links.

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Hannah April 30, 2016 - 2:31 am

I think manufactures put some citris in products that are skin lightening is to help lighten hyper pigmentation. I guess Skinceauticals expects that somebody spend $110 on a products for sun damage is gonna wear sunscreen over this.

About vitamin C serums,I’ve got a question: Does vitamin C serums cause photo sensitivity,because isn’t the vitamin C often derived from citrus?


Gio May 4, 2016 - 7:20 pm

Hannah, yes, I think Skinceuticals expects the same. But, that doesn’t mean people will do it. *sighs*

Yes, vitamin C can increase sun sensitivity, which is why it should always be used together with sunscreen too.

You’re welcome. 🙂

Emily K May 16, 2016 - 5:50 pm

The one thing that sold me on it is that you don’t need much to cover your face, just a pump and it stays working on your face.. it lasts for about 6 months that way. I only use it once a day. I find it makes a big difference in combo w/CE Ferulic!

Gio May 20, 2016 - 10:04 pm

Emily, it’s amazing what niacinamide can do for the skin, isn’t it? So bad it’s so underrated.

Nik. December 22, 2017 - 7:51 pm

Over the past year I have been buying Skinceutical products. I’m a male with sensitive/oily skin and found that Skinceutical products really work for me, above all the products once aplied over the face do not leave it shiny! Awesome.
I love the Ferulic serum, phyto gel, retexturing activator .These are standard which I buy once I’ve finished the bottles.
About a week ago I bought the H.A Intensifier and the Metacell Renewa B3. These 2 new products do sink in . The M.R B3, I really like cause it sinks in the skin and leaves no oily shine. As for results I’ll give it 3 months and see!!! I hope it lives up to its claims.
Thank you.Have a Merry X-MAS and a Happy New Year.

Gio December 23, 2017 - 7:06 pm

Nik, glad to hear this line works well for you. It’s expensive but most of the products are very well formulated and contain actives that really work. I love CE Ferulic and the HA Intensifier too. This one is more basic but I think niacinamide is one of those ingredients everyone should use. It doesn’t give you results as quickly as, let’s say, glycolic acid, but it works.

Dorothy February 24, 2018 - 4:20 pm

I just came across your website as I was looking for some reviews about Metacell Renewal B3. Have been using it for a couple of weeks now and I really love it. It has a very elegant consistency, it’s not oily nor clogging. On the other site there was a review of C E Ferulic which I’m using for a few years now and someone wrote that your skin routine should be as simple as ABC SPF 🙂 A for retinol, B for niacinamide and C for vitamine C plus spf as a must. She also mentioned that there is no need to pay particular attention to moisturiser (this can be very simple), as good formulation of above ABC can replace moisturiser. In fact I think that Metacell Renewal B3 is so good at keeping moisture in that there is no need to apply anything else on top apart from spf. My routine at the moment is C E Ferulic + Metacell Renewal B3 and rest of my skin care is la mer (can’t help it, love their products). As a final note… I have been asked by the cashier for my ID the other day while buying some adults bits… didn’t mind it as I’ll be 40 next year ??

Gio March 2, 2018 - 5:44 pm

Dorothy, I completely agree on keeping it simple. I think it’s all a matter of figuring out what your skin concerns are and what ingredients can best fix them. Retinol and niacinamide are such multitaskers, you don’t often need much else. And sunscreen of course!

I agree re moisturiser. It’s designed to prevent dryness so if your skin isn’t on the dry side, you may not need it at all.

That’s awesome! You’re definitely doing something right. 😉


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