skinceuticals metacell renewal b3 review

Forget about peptides, EGF, or rare extracts that grow in the middle of nowhere.

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, including wrinkles and sun spots.

Sadly, so many brands are too busy “discovering” their own supposedly-miraculous-but-actually-useless special ingredients to jump on the niacinamide bandwagon. *sighs*

One brand that gets their science right is Skinceuticals. Niacinamide is the star of their Metacell Renewal B3 Serum. Here’s what it does.

What’s In Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3?


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

  • It reduces hyperpigmentation by stopping melanin (the pigment that gives skin its colour) from reaching the surface of the skin.
  • It makes fine lines and wrinkles smaller.
  • It hydrates skin better than petrolatum, which is considered the gold standard of hydration by dermatologists.
  • It counteracts sallowness.
  • It soothes skin and helps treat rosacea.
  • It busts acne.

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?

Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 contains 5% Niacinamide. It may seem like nothing, but it’s a lot! Definitely more than enough to get the job done.

Related: 5 Anti-Aging Superstars You Need To Add To Your Skincare Routine


Silicones aren’t as bad as you think. They do a lot of good things in skincare:

  • Enhance texture: They allow the cream to glide on smoothly, without tugging or pulling.
  • Fill in fine lines and wrinkles: It’s a trick to make them look temporarily smaller.
  • Softens skin: It makes it feel silky soft to the touch.

They don’t even suffocate skin: silicones have a particular molecular structure made up of larger molecules with wider spaces between each molecule. They create a barrier that keeps moisture in but still allows skin to perspire.

Related: Are Silicones In Skincare Bad?

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Let’s start with the basics. Glycerin is in pretty much ALL skincare products for a reason.

It’s a wonderful humectant: that’s a fancy way of saying it draws moisture from the air and locks it into your skin. Once there, this extra moisture softens, plumps, and brightens your skin.

That’s the base you want to build the rest of your skincare routine on.

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycerin In Skincare


What a mouthful, eh?

This stuff is simply a synthetic Tripeptide. According to the manufacturer, it does two things:

  • It boosts the synthesis of hyaluronic acid in the skin, keeping it plumper and hydrated for hours.
  • It improves the quality of collagen fibers to keep skin firmer for longer.

The catch? I couldn’t find any independent studies it works as claimed. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t. But, you know, it’s always wise to take manufacturer’s claims with a pinch of salt…

Related: The Truth About Peptides In Skincare: Do They Really Work?


Lightweight. Fast-absorbing. Leaves no greasy residue behind.


Technically, it’s fragrance-free. But it contains citrus essential oils that make it smell nice (and may irritate sensitive skin).

How To Use It

Morning and/or night, after cleansing/exfoliation but before moisturiser.

Performance & Personal Opinion

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.

What about dark spots? I don’t have any, so I can’t vouch for it personally. But I can tell you what the science says. This serum can help you fade them away faster, but not on its own.

If you’re dealing with melasma, sun spots, or age spot, you’ll still need exfoliation, retinoids, and maybe a more powerful skin-lightner like arbutin.

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

skinceuticals metacell renewal b3

Who Is This For?

Almost anyone can use it. Niacinamide benefits all skin types.

Who Is This NOT For?

Sensitive skin. Just because the scent may irritate your skin.


A white tube with a pump applicator. Sleek and practical.

Does Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 Live Up To Its Claims?

Daily emulsion reduces the appearance of discolouration and early signs of ageing.It’s true, but it does it slowly.
Promotes skin renewal by increasing EPIDERMAL cell turnover.There’s nothing here that can exfoliate skin.
Strengthens skin’s moisture barrier.True.
Reduces the appearance of blotchiness and dark spots.It helps, but it’s not enough on its own.
Lightweight B3 serum delivers intense hydration without a heavy or tacky feel.I wouldn’t say intense, but it does hydrate skin without leaving a greasy residue behind.
Helps improve the appearance of skin’s firmness.This is marketing misleading at its finest. Pay attention to the keywords “helps” and “appearance”. The serum doesn’t claim to firm your skin (because it can’t). It claims to help (what?) make your skin look (not become) firmer.

Price & Availability

$112.00 at Dermstore and Blue Mercury

Do You Need It?

If you’re just looking for a way to incorporate Niacinamide in your skincare routine, there are cheaper ways to do it. But if you don’t mind the splurge, this works.

Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, Propanediol, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Methysilanol/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 Trifluroacetate, Linalool, Cymbopogon Flexuosus Oil, Citral, Limonene, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil