Saturday, April 20, 2024

10 Reasons to Add a Niacinamide Serum to Your Routine

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1

Best for Mature Skin

SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3

Metacell Renewal B3

1

Best for Mature Skin

SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: niacinamide, tri-peptide concentrate, glycerin

Size: 1.7 fl. oz

Think of the niacinamide in this composition as a soft, plush bed for your skin. The pillows it needs to offer full support are glycerin—used to restore hydration—and a firming tri-peptide concentrate to improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Together, these players strengthen the skin’s barrier and firmness with a fast-absorbing, lightweight formula.

Dermstore rating: 4.8/5 stars

Our expert says: “This serum contains a combination of niacinamide (five percent), vitamin E, and peptides to address early signs of aging, improve skin tone, and enhance the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It’s praised for its lightweight texture and ability to target multiple skin concerns, including fine lines, uneven texture, and dullness. However, it’s worth noting that SkinCeuticals products tend to be on the higher end of the price scale.”–Jackie Spagnuolo, NYC-based aesthetic nurse practitioner

2

Best Fruit-Infused Serum

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Serum

Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Serum

2

Best Fruit-Infused Serum

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Serum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, watermelon

Size: 1.35 oz

What’s not to love about this Glow Recipe bestseller? What granted it its virality is not merely the aesthetically pleasing pink packaging but the contents packed inside: radiance, hydration, and plumpness all in one. Plus, the faint watermelon scent is an added sensory bonus.

Sephora rating: 4.3/5 stars

Our expert says: “I am really loving this popular product—and not just for the adorable packaging. Infused with hyaluronic acid and watermelon in addition to niacinamide, this product not only evens out skin tones and calms irritation, but it also has powerful moisturizing properties that leave your skin with a dewy glow. My patients swear their skin looks more plump and hydrated with regular use, and it smells amazing too.”—Dr. Lauren Penzi

3

Best for Oil Control

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum

3

Best for Oil Control

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: niacinamide, zinc PCA

Size: 2 oz

One of the great uses of niacinamide is its ability to keep sebum production at a minimum. Here, it has some help; in addition to niacinamide visibly reducing the appearance of impurities, zinc PCA backs it by controlling oil to prevent future breakouts or congestion. “I love this cult favorite niacinamide serum due to its affordability and its extraordinary ability to both calm inflammation and blemishes. Zinc is anti-inflammatory and helps control sebum products, so combined with a high % of niacinamide, this serum helps to cut down on oiliness, decrease acne, calm redness, and truly smooth out the overall skin texture and complexion over time. I also love that it is super safe to be used by all skin types,” Dr. Lauren Penzi explains.

Sephora rating: 4.2/5 stars

Our expert says: “This budget-friendly serum combines niacinamide with zinc to regulate sebum production, reduce blemishes, and improve overall skin texture. It’s praised for its effectiveness in controlling oiliness, minimizing the appearance of pores, and brightening the complexion. However, some users with sensitive skin may experience irritation due to the high concentration of niacinamide.”—Jackie Spagnuolo

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4

Best for Glass Skin

PEACH & LILY Glass Skin Refining Serum

Editor’s Choice

Glass Skin Refining Serum

4

Best for Glass Skin

PEACH & LILY Glass Skin Refining Serum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, peach extract, peptides

Size: 1.35 fl oz

For an instant surge of moisture, look no further than the Peach & Lily Glass Skin serum. Yes, “glass skin” has become a bit of a buzzword on the interwebs, but this serum goes beyond gimmicks and delivers results you can feel proud of. With niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and more, the serum encourages collagen production and smoothes fine lines over time.

Ulta rating: 4.5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “This Peach & Lily serum is my favorite morning pick-me-up. I enjoy how refreshed and plump my skin looks ahead of makeup application, and how hydrated my skin remains throughout the day. Each use feels like a refreshing glass of water for my skin, especially given the actives I use to treat my hyperpigmentation.”—Nerisha Penrose, ELLE.com beauty commerce editor

5

Best Vitamin C-Infused Serum

Paula’s Choice Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

5

Best Vitamin C-Infused Serum

Paula’s Choice Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: niacinamide, vitamin C, licorice extract

Size: 0.67 oz

If enlarged pores are a main concern, this serum helps to boost your skin’s radiance and improve its overall texture. Vitamin C aids in fading discoloration, while licorice root soothes redness. With a blend of efficacious ingredients, especially a high percentage of niacinamide, it’s wise to titrate up to your skin’s appropriate tolerance.

Sephora rating: 4.8/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said: “You really can’t go wrong with Paula’s Choice! I love this niacinamide serum for my dry, textured skin. I apply it at night before my moisturizer and I can definitely tell a difference in the texture. My skin feels smoother, my pores look smaller and it gives me a nice, natural glow.”

6

Best Pure Niacinamide Serum

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Ultra Pure High-Potency 5.0% Niacinamide Serum

Ultra Pure High-Potency 5.0% Niacinamide Serum

6

Best Pure Niacinamide Serum

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Ultra Pure High-Potency 5.0% Niacinamide Serum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredient: niacinamide

Size: 1 fl oz

This Kiehl’s serum can be used all over the face but works even better in targeted areas that could use a little less oil. It absorbs well without leaving a sticky film behind and gradually smooths skin, so you can skip the Paris filter (or not).

Ulta rating: 4.6/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “As an oily, acne-prone girlie, I try to steer clear of anything that makes me look too dewy. After cleansing, I like to go in with this serum as a signal to all subsequent products that excess oil just isn’t on the bill today. It seeps into my skin effortlessly and is a team player to the other hydrating, oil-controlling serums in my lineup.”—Nerisha Penrose

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7

Best for Dark Spots

EADEM Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum with Niacinamide and Vitamin C

Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum with Niacinamide and Vitamin C

7

Best for Dark Spots

EADEM Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum with Niacinamide and Vitamin C

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: niacinamide, vitamin C, papaya and pineapple enzymes

Size: 1 oz

Dark marks are easy to come by and even harder to get rid of. While the journey to fading scarring is a long one, here’s a serum that helps make the process smoother. The formula combines fruit enzymes, niacinamide, and vitamin C to lighten dark marks to preserve your skin’s true complexion tone.

Sephora rating: 4.3/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said: “Already obsessed after 1 week of use! I feel like it calmed my acne marks really well. And the texture is so silky smooth! I am so glad I found this.”

8

Best Retinol Alternative Serum

Youth To The People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum

Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum

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Best Retinol Alternative Serum

Youth To The People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: retinal (vitamin A derivative), niacinamide

Size: 1 oz

Niacinamide is a godsend for improving texture and barrier support. To take things up a notch, Youth to the People coupled the powerhouse ingredient with a more effective anti-aging ingredient: retinal. A vitamin A derivative, retinal works faster than normal retinol and restores elasticity and smooth texture.

Sephora rating: 4.6/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said: “Love this product. If you’re struggling with uneven skin tone, dark spots, fine lines or texture this product produces results in just a few weeks & I love how eco-friendly the brand is!”

9

Best for Frequent Breakouts

Topicals Faded Serum for Dark Spots & Discoloration

Faded Serum for Dark Spots & Discoloration

9

Best for Frequent Breakouts

Topicals Faded Serum for Dark Spots & Discoloration

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: tranexamic acid, niacinamide, azelaic acid

Size: 1.7 oz

Along with niacinamide, the viral Topicals Faded Serum combines some acids you probably haven’t heard of. Tranexamic acid reduces the appearance of dark spots, while azelaic acid fights inflammation. Together with niacinamide, they address discoloration and brighten your skin while helping to keep acne at bay.

Sephora rating: 3.7/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “I’m really bad at taking my skin progress pictures, so I typically have to rely on the gasps and awws of family and friends whenever they see positive change on my skin. The results from this serum sneak up on you; after a few uses, I couldn’t tell if my dark spots were lightening or if it was a placebo. Then, weeks passed, and my brother commented on how bright and clear my skin looked. All credit goes to this Topicals gem.”—Nerisha Penrose

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10

Best Hydrating Serum

PCA SKIN PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

10

Best Hydrating Serum

PCA SKIN PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key ingredients: niacinamide, ceramides, hyaluronic acid

Size: 1 oz

Packed in this silver tube are all the hydrating essentials needed to give your skin a proper boost and restore its elasticity. Hyaluronic acid is the clear star, but ceramides and niacinamide are the supporting characters that do a lot of heavy lifting to address aging fine lines and wrinkles.

Dermstore rating: 4.7/5 stars

A Dermstore reviewer said: “I have been purchasing this product for the past five years. During this time I have tried other hyaluronic acid serums to try to save money, but none of them have even come close. I mist my face with a little water and then pat this into my skin. My skin has gotten so soft, and it always feels so nice and hydrated because of this serum. In my late 40s, my skin looks better than it did in my 30s and I attribute a lot of it to this serum. I use it every single day. Highly recommend.”

What skin type benefits most from niacinamide?

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“Niacinamide can benefit various skin types, but it is particularly beneficial for those with oily or combination skin,” says Jackie Spagnuolo, an NYC-based aesthetic nurse practitioner. Since oily and combination skin tends to produce excess oil, the ingredient is amazing for “its ability to regulate sebum production, control excess oiliness, and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. Additionally, niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory properties make it effective in soothing and calming acne-prone skin, helping to minimize breakouts and inflammation, she adds.

What ingredients shouldn’t you use with niacinamide?

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Unlike many other ingredients, niacinamide actually plays well with others. However, there are a few ingredients you should avoid combining it with:

Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid): According to Spagnuolo, vitamin C and niacinamide are tricky to combine, as both need to be formulated properly to carry out their functions effectively. “While some studies suggest that niacinamide and vitamin C can be used together effectively, there is a possibility of them canceling each other out when combined at very high concentrations or low pH levels. It’s best to use them separately or in formulations where their compatibility has been ensured,” she says.

Retinoids (such as retinol, tretinoin): Since retinol is already a potent ingredient on its own“Combining niacinamide with certain retinoids may cause flushing or irritation in some individuals. However, many people successfully use both ingredients together without any issues. If youÆre concerned, consider using them at different times of the day or on alternate days.

Acids (such as AHAs, BHAs, and salicylic acid): While niacinamide itself is not acidic, combining it with highly acidic products may cause temporary flushing or irritation in some people. Again, this largely depends on individual skin sensitivity and the specific products being used. It’s generally safe to use niacinamide with mild acids, but be cautious when combining it with stronger ones.

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Which ingredients are safe?

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When looking to combine niacinamide with another ingredient, look for ones that are hydrating and nourishing instead of harsh exfoliants. Spagnuolo advises investing in ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, antioxidants (such as vitamin E and green tea extract), mmoisturizing ingredients (such as glycerin and squalane), and, of course, unscreen.

Meet The Experts

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Why Trust ELLE Beauty?

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As a leading publisher of fashion, lifestyle, and beauty content, ELLE.com is committed to highlighting the best products in various categories by personally testing the latest and most innovative products, interviewing countless experts, and vetting customer-loved items. For this piece, ELLE.com beauty commerce editor Nerisha Penrose interviewed skin experts to learn about the benefits of niacinamide and the best serums for all skin types.

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