Niacinamide: The Do-It-All Skincare Ingredient Your Face *Needs*


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Okay friends, listen up: I freaking looove niacinamide serums (aka vitamin B3). Really, I could talk about this all day. In my opinion (and the opinion of, like, 99.9 percent of dermatologists I’ve ever spoken with), niacinamide is one of the true skincare greats—like, in the same category as retinol and vitamin C. Why? Because niacinamide not only (1) normalizes your skin’s oil production to help keep pores clear and breakouts in check, but also (2) regulates pigment-making cells to fade hyperpigmentation, (3) soothes redness with its anti-inflammatory properties, (4) protects your skin from free-radical damage during the day, and (5) boosts your skin’s hydration levels to keep your skin barrier healthy and happy.

Impressive, right? And even better, niacinamide is safe to use on any and all skin types. And the easiest way to get a massive dose of niacinamide is through a serum, like one of my favorites below. And because I really have tried them all at this point, I went ahead and handpicked the 17 best niacinamide serums to try asap. I promise not one of these will disappoint.

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1

Best Glow-Boosting Niacinamide Serum

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

Part highlighter and part serum, these niacinamide-infused “dew drops” make your skin look glowy as hell. Tap a few pumps onto the high points of your face to instantly hydrate, plump, and reflect light for that glassy skin look. FYI, they’ll even help minimize hyperpigmentation with continued use.

2

Best Niacinamide Serum for Dark Spots

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Dark Spots Niacinamide Serum

Seeing sun spots or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne scars from old breakouts? This is the niacinamide serum for you. It combines 4 percent niacinamide with 1 percent ethyl vitamin C to fade existing spots and prevent new ones from forming in the future.

3

Best Clean Niacinamide Serum

Alpyn Beauty Wild Nettle & Niacinamide Firming Serum

In addition to niacinamide, this clean beauty serum uses all-natural ingredients, like nourishing wild nettle and anti-aging rambutan, to help firm and plump skin, soften fine lines and wrinkles, and minimize pore size over time.

4

Best Niacinamide Serum for Dull Skin

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum

Perfect for skin that looks dull or blah, this niacinamide serum makes your face look glowy, refreshed, and well-rested thanks to (duh) niacinamide, plus brightening licorice root extract and antioxidant-rich golden kiwifruit.

5

Best Niacinamide Serum for Scalp

Sunday Riley Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum

Niacinamide isn’t just a gem for your skin, it’s great for your scalp too. The ingredient is combined with exfoliating AHAs and BHAs in this clarifying scalp serum to nix flakes, dryness, and product build-up, along with curb excess oil production the more you use it.

6

Best Brightening Niacinamide Serum

PCA Skin Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum

Whether your skin is sensitive, oily, or dry, you can safely use this niacinaimde serum to brighten up your face and improve your skin texture. The gentle, lightweight formula uses niacinamide along with hydrating glycerin and smoothing antioxidants for a powerful, effective serum.

7

Best Soothing Niacinamide Serum

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Stress Rescue Super Serum

True to its name, this niacinamide serum is perfect for anyone with inflamed, irritated, or stressed-out skin. In addition to soothing niacinamide, it uses ashwaganda and goji fruit extracts to make skin more resilient and better equipped to protect itself from external stressors, like pollution, blue light, and debris.

8

Best Niacinamide Serum for Hyperpigmentation

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment

If you’re dealing with melasma, def give this brightening niacinamide serum from Peter Thomas Roth a try. In addition to niacinamide, it uses a combo of skin brighteners (like tranexamic acid, kojic acid, and alpha arbutin) to suppresses excess melanin production to keep skin looking even and bright.

9

Best Niacinamide Serum for Fine Lines

Olay Wrinkle Correction Serum with Vitamin B3+ Collagen Peptides

This drugstore serum is ideal for anyone who is starting to see the first signs of aging (aka fine lines and wrinkles). It combines niacinamide and collagen-boosting peptides to increase cell turnover, up your moisture levels, plump lines, and smooth skin texture.

10

Best Niacinamide Gel Serum

Sobel Skin Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum

This 15 percent niacinamide serum has a lightweight gel-like texture that instantly soaks into skin (no greasy or sticky residue) and leaves your face looking firm, smooth, and practically poreless. 

11

Best Niacinamide Serum for Daytime

Epi.logic by Dr. Jeanniton Daily Dose Vitamin C + Multivitamin Defense Serum

brooklynfaceandeye.com

$110.00

Along with niacinamide, this potent serum contains a cocktail of antioxidants—like vitamin B5, C, E, and ferulic acid—making it the perfect first-step in your morning skincare routine. A few drops protect skin from environmental aggressors and free radical damage for a healthy glow.

12

Best Niacinamide Serum for Acne-Prone Skin

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Unlike other harsh acne-treating products with, say, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, this 10 percent niacinamide serum with zinc won’t dry out your skin or cause redness and flaking. What it will do? Reduce oil production, unclog pores, and cut down on inflammation.

13

Best Hydrating Niacinamide Serum

Skin Inc Vitamin B3+ Serum

All skin types can benefit from the hydrating effects of this lightweight niacinamide serum. In addition to vitamin B3, it uses hyaluronic acid and glycerin—two humectants that draw moisture to the skin—to hydrate and plump your face without leaving behind any greasy or tacky residue.

14

Best Mattifying Niacinamide Serum

The Inkey List Niacinamide

Oily skin types, listen up (and feel free to throw away your blotting papers while you’re at it). This mattifying niacinamide serum regulates your skin’s sebum production so you never look overly greasy or shiny. And regulated oil production can also mean fewer blackheads and breakouts.

15

Best Niacinamide Booster Serum

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

You don’t have to radically switch up your skincare routine to reap the benefits of niacinamide. Just mix a few drops of this niacinamide booster serum with your current day cream, night cream, or sunscreen to experience all the glow-boosting benefits of the antioxidant.

16

This Multitasking Niacinamide Serum

Murad Revitalixir Recovery Serum

For when you are hungover, haven’t slept, or just feel stressed AF and your skin is paying the price, try this multitasking niacinamide serum. It brightens, hydrates, and de-puffs to give your tired skin a healthy glow.

17

Best Niacinamide Serum for Sensitive Skin

Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum

marieveronique.com

$90.00

A few months ago, my sensitive skin had a serious freakout after a bad reaction to a product I was testing, and I swear this calming niacinamide serum made everything better. The formula is full of   anti-inflammatory niacinamide and soothing plant extracts—plus it’s free-from fragrance (a potential skin irritant) too.

Deputy Beauty Director
Lauren Balsamo is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan covering all things skin, hair, makeup, and nails for both the magazine and website.

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