What is Niacinamide in Skincare?

by Christine Tusher July 12, 2023

Biossance Body Cream

Niacinamide is the skincare ingredient on every influencer’s lips — and with good reason. The antioxidant version of a Swiss army knife, its benefits range from brightening to helping banish bumpy skin. But what  exactly is niacinamide, how does it work, and will it work for your skin type? Board certified dermatologist Dr. Muneeb Shah weighs in as we explore the science behind this buzzy skincare ingredient.

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a specific, water-soluble form of vitamin B3. You’ll most often find this form of vitamin B listed in skincare ingredients as niacinamide or nicotinic acid.

“The important difference between nicotinic acid and niacinimide is that nicotinic acid causes flushing in some people,” says Dr. Shah.

Your body can’t produce niacinamide on its own. Thus, if you want to reap its skincare benefits, you’ll need to apply it topically. At the cellular level, niacinamide acts as an antioxidant, fighting  inflammation and free radical damage. It also  inhibits changes in pigment and improves the skin’s natural protective layer, thus reducing the impact of environmental stressors and preventing transepidermal water loss.

“Transepidermal water loss is exactly what we want to prevent with our moisturizers,” says Dr. Shah. “When your skin loses water through evaporation, it becomes dehydrated, loses volume and can start to crack. Niacinamide helps to lock in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss, so it has a moisturizing function in addition to all its other benefits.”

What Does Niacinamide Do for Skin?

When niacinamide is applied to skin, it’s broken down into the form of vitamin B that our skin cells can use, the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It’s this coenzyme that’s responsible for niacinamide’s many benefits, which include:

  1. Strengthening the skin’s natural protective barrier
  2. Locking in moisture
  3. Increasing dermal collagen to tighten lax skin
  4. Fighting environmental stressors to ward off premature aging
  5. Minimizing enlarged pores
  6. Improving uneven skin tone
  7. Brightening dull skin
  8. Decreasing oil production, clearing skin and visibly improving under-skin bumps
  9. Reducing inflammation to visibly calm red, irritated skin
  10. Supercharging efficacy of other active ingredients such as vitamin C

Who Should Use Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Choose products containing niacinamide if your skin concerns include:

  1. Red, irritated skin
  2. Dark spots and uneven skin tone
  3. Oiliness and blemishes
  4. Enlarged pores and uneven texture
  5. Visible signs of aging

How to Use Niacinamide

Niacinamide works best when used in leave-on skincare formulas such as serums and moisturizers. 

“Use it after cleansing during the treatment or moisturizer phase of your skincare routine,” says Dr. Shah.

“It’s also an ingredient that works really when you layer it with other ingredients,” says Dr. Shah. “It mixes well with things like retinol to offset irritation and also has anti-acne properties, so it layers well with oily skin products as well.” 

Which Biossance Formulas Contain Niacinamide?

Our Caffeine Toning Body Cream uses niacinamide to visibly improve skin texture and strengthen the moisture barrier. It’s important to note that we use niacinamide — not nicotinic acid — to ensure our rich, nourishing body cream is as gentle as possible. In addition to niacinamide, our body cream uses caffeine sourced from green coffee beans to give skin a smoother, firmer appearance. Use deep, circular massaging motions to apply to thighs, abdomen, or any other areas that need a lift. 

Biossance Body Cream

Christine Tusher

Christine Tusher
Christine Tusher


As a lifestyle writer and journalist, I’m excited to bring my passion for storytelling to Biossance as an Engagement Content Writer. Two things you should know about me: I have a deep love of the ocean (especially sharks) and I’m obsessed with clean beauty. My bathroom cabinet is literally overflowing with my many-layered sustainable skincare routine. This combo is what led me to buy my first bottle of Vitamin C Rose Oil. I was so impressed by the way it improved my skin that I wanted to shout this brand from the rooftops. Three years later, and here I am doing just that. I’m excited to be on this journey of clean beauty innovation with Biossance, and to share it with you here on the blog.

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