9 Niacinamide Serums to Brighten Skin and Reduce Blemishes

Best Niacinamide Serums

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Niacinamide is among the most multi-tasking ingredients used in skincare right alongside retinol and vitamin C. It’s touted to be the hot new ingredient to tackle oily skin, large pores, dullness, and dark spots. That’s why it has made its way into face serums. Niacinamide serums are the current multi-benefit products that deserve a spot in your skincare routine. To that end, find below how niacinamide benefits your skin and the best niacinamide serums to get started.

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble ingredient used in skincare products to target a variety of skin concerns like dryness, hyperpigmentation, and acne. Niacinamide comes in face serums, creams, and toners, either alone or paired with other active ingredients.

Benefits of Niacinamide for Skin

1. It reduces oil production.

Niacinamide reduces excess oil in the skin. That’s why it’s incredibly helpful in managing oily skin. As excess oil leads to congestion and breakouts, niacinamide helps prevent acne too.

2. It improves skin barrier function.

Niacinamide increases the skin barrier lipids like ceramides. As ceramides are important components of a healthy skin barrier, niacinamide can protect and repair the skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier ensures your skin retains water. That’s how niacinamide helps reduce transepidermal water loss and keeps the skin stay moisturized for longer too.

3. It has anti-aging benefits.

Niacinamide reduces and prevents inflammation in the skin. As inflammation causes a cycle of events that can lead to wrinkles and skin damage, niacinamide is considered anti-aging too.

4. It reduces redness.

As a result of its barrier-restoring and anti-inflammatory effects, niacinamide helps calm the skin and reduce redness too.

5. It brightens the skin.

Niacinamide brightens and evens out the skin tone. Additionally, niacinamide inhibits melanin transfer, which helps reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin.

Best Niacinamide Serums

1. Alpha-H Vitamin B Serum

Best Niacinamide Serum For All Skin Types

Alpha-H Vitamin B Serum - Best Niacinamide Serum

Instantly calms skin
Has antioxidant benefits

Not pleasant for daytime use
Can feel a bit sticky

This is my recommendation if you’re looking for an overall great niacinamide serum. It’s so gentle that I can even use it on my rosacea skin. It’s made with niacinamide and panthenol, aka vitamin B5, with a total concentration of 5%. In case you’re not familiar, vitamin B5 is an amazing humectant that hydrates and calms the skin.

The formula has two forms of hyaluronic acid as well as glycerin and sodium PCA. It improves radiance and packs copper peptides and ferulic acid for antioxidant benefits too. It absorbs fast, reduces redness, and plumps up the skin instantly.

Key Ingredients: 5% niacinamide, vitamin B5, hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid
Key Benefits: Hydrates, calms, evens skin tone
Size: 0.85 oz/25 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

2. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

Best Niacinamide Serum For Hyperpigmentation

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense -  Best Niacinamide Serum for Hyperpigmentation

Packs a rich blend of skin brighteners
Helps all kinds of discolorations


If your major concern is hyperpigmentation from sun damage, dark spots, or acne marks, or if you have mature skin, this is gold. Because it’s paired with other skin brighteners to help you get more out of your product. It has 5% niacinamide topped with kojic acid as well as tranexamic acid.

Both of these are known skin brighteners to treat discolorations and uneven skin tone. The formula also packs enzymes for superficial exfoliation. So if hyperpigmentation is a concern, add this brightening niacinamide serum into your routine. And start using sunscreen!

Key Ingredients: 5% niacinamide, tranexamic acid, kojic acid
Key Benefits: Brightens skin, treats and prevents dark spots
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, silicone-free

3. Olay Tone Perfection Serum

Best Drugstore Niacinamide Serum

Olay Tone Perfection Serum - Best Drugstore Niacinamide Serum

Cost-effective (40ml)

Undsiclosed niacinamide concentration

There’s no skin that wouldn’t benefit from a vitamin C serum and its glow-boosting and wrinkle-reducing effects. Even more so when it contains vitamin B3. The affordable niacinamide serum hydrates and brightens the complexion for bouncy and soft skin.

And because it’s made with a vitamin C derivative as opposed to pure ascorbic acid, it’s suitable for all skin types. With its gentle form of vitamin C, the serum protects the skin against free radicals and helps restore your skin’s radiance.

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, vitamin C, vitamin B5
Key Benefits: Brightens skin, eliminates dullness
Size: 1.3 oz/40 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free

4. Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Best Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

High concentration niacinamide
Multi-tasking booster serum
Suitable for sensitive skin

Higher price per ounce

With a rare concentration of 10% niacinamide, this booster serum can turn a regular moisturizer into a super-targeted one. Even the most boring product can become a glow-boosting one with a few drops of this. Also, you can use it alone to get smooth and radiant skin if you don’t want to mix it with your products.

The booster is as anti-aging as it is anti-acne. Because it’s packed with antioxidants like coenzyme Q10, green tea polyphenols, and licorice extract. These all have anti-inflammatory benefits too. So while you manage enlarged pores with niacinamide, you can target uneven skin tone and acne marks too.

Key Ingredients: 10% niacinamide, vitamin C, green tea, coenzyme Q10
Key Benefits: Minimizes pores, reduces hyperpigmentation
Size: 0.67 oz/20 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, oil-free, cruelty-free

5. The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum

Best Niacinamide Serum For Oily Skin

The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum - Best Niacinamide Serum For Oily Skin

High concentration niacinamide
Hydrating formula

Not suitable for very sensitive skin
No pleasant after-effect

Formulated with 10% niacinamide plus 1% hyaluronic acid, this is one of the best budget-friendly niacinamide serums on the market and an amazing option for oily and acne-prone skin. It reduces excess oil production, and acne while also replenishing dehydrated oily skin.

The added hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and squalane allow you to hydrate without clogging pores. It has a very light base and layers easily with your products. If you’re dealing with blemishes, and enlarged pores due to dehydration, you can hit two birds with this stone.

Key Ingredients: 10% niacinamide, 1% hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5
Key Benefits: Softens the appearance of pores, plumps skin
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free

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

Best Niacinamide Serum For Acne and Pores

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum -  Best Niacinamide Serum For Pores

Anti-bacterial formula
Minimal and effective

Not suitable for sensitive skin

Similarly, this is another niacinamide serum for acne. Because in addition to niacinamide, it packs zinc PCA. Zinc is another anti-acne ingredient that reduces oil production and prevents acne. So the serum comes at those breakouts from all possible angles.

The formula is oil-free and fragrance-free and overall great for people who want to minimize greasiness, fade acne and acne marks, and reduce pore size. One thing I’d like to add here is that I had to stop using this one because it consistently gave me redness. So I don’t think this is suitable for people with very sensitive skin.

Key Ingredients: 10% niacinamide, 1% zinc
Key Benefits: Balances oil production, prevents blemishes, minimizes pores
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Oil-free, fragrance-free, silicone-free, vegan, cruelty-free

7. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum

Best Niacinamide Serum For Sensitive Skin

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum -  Best Niacinamide Serum for Sensitive Skin

Gentle niacinamide serum
Anti-inflammatory formula
Has calming effects

Niacinamide concentration unknown

Unless you have very sensitive skin, niacinamide is pretty easy to use for most skin types. But in case you do, this is the best niacinamide serum for you. Both ingredient-wise and formulation-wise, it’s as gentle as they come. The serum pairs niacinamide with licorice extract and green tea.

Both of these help brighten the skin tone and reduce inflammation and redness. So you don’t need to worry about irritation. The serum reduces dark spots, brightens your skin, decreases excess oil, and fades acne. The fragrance-free formula also soothes with panthenol and allantoin.

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, licorice extract, green tea
Key Benefits: Fades dark spots and acne marks
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free

8. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

Best Niacinamide Serum For Dry Skin

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops - Best Niacinamide Serum For Dry Skin

Multi-purpose formula
Has dewy finish
Looks great under makeup

Niacinamide concentration unknown

If there’s any skin type that could use the barrier-improving benefits of niacinamide, it’s dry skin. Even better if you get instantly luminous skin too. In case you haven’t noticed, most niacinamide serums are usually super lightweight. Serums are supposed to be that way. However, this one is pretty unique in that it’s a tad bit goopy and super moisturizing for the skin.

In addition to niacinamide, it has hyaluronic acid, mineral-rich watermelon extract, and moisture-boosting moringa oil. That’s why it’s so replenishing for dry skin. But this particular serum layers well under makeup too. It leaves a dewy finish on the skin to give you what they call “glass skin”. So you can practically use this as a skin luminizer, illuminating primer, or a liquid highlighter. In that sense, it brightens your skin both instantly and in the long run.

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, moringa oil
Key Benefits: Boosts moisture, illuminates
Size: 1.35 oz/40 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, vegan

9. La Roche Posay Retinol Face Serum With Vitamin B3

Best Niacinamide Serum For Anti-Aging

Best Niacinamide Serum For Wrinkles: La Roche Posay Retinol B3 Pure Retinol Serum

Gentle anti-aging serum
Suitable for all skin types

Contains fragrance

Well, it doesn’t get any more anti-aging than retinol. It’s the ultimate ingredient to tackle wrinkles and fine lines head-on. The drugstore anti-aging serum utilizes encapsulated retinol to avoid irritating your skin. Retinol boosts skin turnover and stimulates collagen production while niacinamide ensures brighter skin and an intact skin barrier resistant to retinol’s drying effects.

So if your skin is familiar with retinol or if you have mature, aging skin and you’re looking for a niacinamide serum for wrinkles, you can try this multi-tasker. The oil-free, non-comedogenic formula also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate.

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, retinol, hyaluronic acid
Key Benefits: Encourages skin turnover, softens wrinkles, reduces hyperpigmentation
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Oil-free, paraben-free

So these are some of the best niacinamide serums out there. Niacinamide is usually a skin-friendly ingredient. If you want to try niacinamide but serums sound too much, try niacinamide creams or even niacinamide toners for an even gentler approach. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, here’s what to keep in mind when choosing a niacinamide serum.

How to Choose a Niacinamide Serum

Look for Other Ingredients

As a multi-tasker, niacinamide works for various skin issues. But to get the most out of your niacinamide serum, you need to keep your skin concerns in mind and choose based on that. For example, if you’re looking for a niacinamide serum to treat uneven skin tone and dark spots, look for other brightening ingredients like vitamin C and kojic acid. If you want to use niacinamide serum to minimize the appearance of pores or acne, look for other ingredients like retinol.

Choose the Right Concentration

Most niacinamide serums range between 2% and 5%. In general, look for products that disclose the concentration of niacinamide and go for low-concentration formulations if you have dry, sensitive skin.

Keep Your Skin Type in Mind

Your niacinamide serum needs to be suitable for your skin type. Go for oil-free, non-comedogenic niacinamide serums if you have oily, acne-prone skin. Go for more hydrating niacinamide serums if you have dry sensitive skin. Also, avoid highly fragrant niacinamide serums or the ones that contain alcohol if you have sensitive skin.


Read Next: Best Anti-Aging Skincare Sets

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