This Holy-Grail Ingredient Targets Acne, Rosacea, Fine Lines, and Wrinkles

When you're shopping for skincare, you want to make sure the products you're buying feature ingredients that really do the work for your skin. If they don't, then what's the point of spending your money (or sometimes splurging) on them? That's why it's so important to arm yourself with knowledge about common skincare ingredients so you know which ones will work best for your specific skin type and concerns. Of course, a dermatologist might be your best source for figuring all of this out, but you can do your own research too.

One powerhouse ingredient that you might have heard of before is niacinamide. It's starting to gain traction much like hyaluronic acid, which has been a popular skincare buzzword for years. But what is the ingredient, and why is it so beneficial? Well, I asked a derm to explain.

The 17 Best Niacinamide Serums of 2021



"Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, a water-soluble vitamin that helps support repair mechanisms in the body's cells. It can help to reduce damage from free radicals, reduce inflammation, and support the skin barrier," explains Michele Farber, MD, FAAD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Farber adds that niacinamide can be used topically as an anti-inflammatory for conditions like acne and rosacea. It can help support hydration, improve the skin barrier, brighten skin, and reduce dark pigment. It also can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

"Niacinamide can also be used orally for reducing the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in the appropriate setting and also for acne when other oral medications are contraindicated or not tolerated," Farber says.

For the most part, pretty much all skin types can use niacinamide because it's generally well-tolerated. Farber says it's best for people dealing with inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema. But it's important to note that it may be irritating on sensitive skin in higher concentrations.

"While it has many benefits, niacinamide is best as an adjunct treatment," Farber explains. "Most people with acne, rosacea, or pigment changes will need other ingredients and possibly prescriptions to complete a skin regimen."

One way to add niacinamide into your skincare routine is through a serum, which Farber says would be a great addition if you're dealing with acne, rosacea, redness, and generally sensitive skin. "It's ideal in combination with other ingredients depending on skincare goals, but it's also a nice option for people who have trouble tolerating other products," she adds.

When choosing a serum, Farber recommends looking for one with a percentage between 2% to 10%. She also suggests looking for it in combination formulas. When it's paired with kojic and tranexamic acids, it targets pigmentation; with vitamin C, it's for brightening; with hyaluronic acid for hydration; and with retinol, for acne.

Take a look at some niacinamide serums below.

1. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

"I like The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% for acne, as it is well-tolerated, and the zinc is helpful for oil production in acne," Farber says.

2. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

"SkinCeuticals' Discoloration Defense is great for dark marks or pigment issues, as it contains tranexamic acid and kojic acid in addition to niacinamide," Farber recommends.

3. Versed Just Breathe Clarifying Serum

This serum is formulated to clear acne and manage excess sebum that clogs pores. It's a blend of niacinamide, willow-bark extract, and zinc.

4. Glossier Super Pure

This lightweight, water-gel serum is a combination of niacinamide and zinc PCA. It works to reduce the look of congested pores and balance your complexion.

5. Alpyn Beauty Wild Nettle & Niacinamide Firming Serum

If you're looking for a firming option, try this serum from Alpyn Beauty. In addition to niacinamide, it contains vitamin C–rich nettle extract and plant-based retinol alternative rambutan. All of these ingredients work to minimize excess oil, hydrate, reduce pore size, fade dark spots, and firm and plump the skin.

6. Olay Wrinkle Correction Serum

Along with niacinamide, this wrinkle-targeting serum contains peptides, which work to replenish collagen.

7. Naturium Niacinamide Serum

Naturium's serum is formulated with 12% niacinamide, 2% zinc PCA, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E. So not only does it fade dark spots, improve texture, and reduce extra shine, but it also locks in moisture and plumps the skin.

8. Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

This concentrated niacinamide formula targets the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, rough skin texture, and redness. Other ingredients include licorice root, allantoin, vitamin C, and panthenol.

9. PCA Skin Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum

PCA Skin's serum works well on oily, dry, combination, and normal skin types. The gel-like formula reduces the look of dark spots and hyperpigmentation and also addresses fine lines, dryness, sun damage, and redness.

10. The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum

Oily skin types, the Inkey List's serum is for you. It's designed to control excess oil, which can reduce blemishes and redness. The formula also contains hyaluronic acid for hydration.

11. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum

This serum will leave your skin brightened, even, and protected against free radical damage. Ingredients include niacinamide, licorice root, golden kiwifruit, and undecylenoyl phenylalanine (for hyperpigmentation).

12. TruSkin Niacinamide Facial Serum

TruSkin's serum is a blend of niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and aloe to reduce discoloration and blemishes. It also contains a hydrating medley of avocado, sunflower-seed, and neem-seed oils.

13. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Stress Rescue Super Serum

If you have stressed, angry, and irritated skin, this calming serum will save it. It's designed to target the skincare woes that stress causes, such as breakouts, red patches, dullness, and worry lines.

14. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

Glow Recipe's serum will leave your skin looking dewy and, well, glowy. Along with niacinamide to target hyperpigmentation, the formula includes hydrating watermelon and hyaluronic acid.

15. Insta Natural Niacinamide Serum

Designed with 5% niacinamide, the serum addresses breakouts, blemishes, scars, red marks, and irritated skin. It's also enriched with skin-nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, avocado oil, and rosemary extract.

16. Sobel Skin Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum

This gel serum has anti-aging benefits thanks to 15% niacinamide and Sigesbeckia orientalis, which work to firm the skin and minimize the appearance of large pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. There's also calming allantoin to relieve any irritation or redness.

17. Skin Inc. Supplement Bar Vitamin B3+ Serum

Formulated with vitamin B3, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and glycerin, this serum reduces the appearance of dark spots and evens the skin tone while also keeping the skin super hydrated.

Next: These Cheap Serums Are Just as Good as Their Expensive Counterparts

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.