• 10 Best Niacinamide Serums in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Niacinamide Serums in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Niacinamide Serums in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Niacinamide Serums in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Niacinamide Serums in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Niacinamide Serums in 2021 (Dermatologist-Reviewed)

If you're dealing with skin issues like acne, dry skin, dark spots, or wrinkles, or if you're trying to simplify your skincare routine, multi-tasking products like a niacinamide serum can help you. This do-it-all product can help prevent excess oil production, reduce water loss, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Adding niacinamide serum to your routine is an easy and effective way to address skin concerns that you might have.


Want to get that glowing and nourished skin with the suitable niacinamide serum for you? Start your search with our favorites list. Taking the first spot, we have The Ordinary's Niacinamide Serum. We love that it has zinc plus niacinamide, making it effective in controlling sebum production. We have more great products on our list, so read on and give them a look! We also have a buying guide for more tips and information on picking the best niacinamide serum.

Experts featured in this article

Dr. Lauren Levy
Nikki Lopez
  • Last updated: 10-22-2021
  • 535 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Lauren Levy

In Collaboration With Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Lauren Levy

Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients. You can follow her on Instagram!

What is Niacinamide?

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide or nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 usually found in whole grain foods and vegetables. It's not naturally produced in the body, so it needs to be ingested or topically applied to our skin like through serums.


Niacinamide serums offer a lot of benefits to the skin. They can help boost and support the skin barrier, reduce risks and signs of premature aging, reduce inflammation from acne and breakouts, lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and help to maintain skin moisture.


They can also be beneficial to all skin types. In conjunction with other ingredients, they can be used to target specific skin concerns. You can use your chosen niacinamide serum every day, ideally after toning and before moisturizing.

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

While it's not necessarily related to improving skin tone, a large clinical study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that taking an oral niacinamide supplement can reduce the frequency of pre-cancerous lesions on the skin. 


Although no clinical study has been done studying topical niacinamide, it is suspected to also have a protective effect on the skin. Oral niacinamide can also be used to treat acne, thus serums containing this versatile ingredient can easily be incorporated into acne treatment.

How We Chose Our Products

How We Chose Our Products

We considered several factors when researching our list of niacinamide serums. These included:

  • The right niacinamide percentage to start off with
  • Other active ingredients to look for in your serum
  • Possible irritants and allergens to avoid if you have sensitive skin

Check out the Buying Guide section below for more on these helpful tips to keep in mind as you shop for a niacinamide serum. 

Compare the 10 Best Niacinamide Serums

Image
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 1

The Ordinary

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops 1

Glow Recipe

Glossier Super Pure 1

Glossier

Paula's Choice CLINICAL Niacinamide 20% Treatment 1

Paula's Choice

Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2% 1

Naturium

InstaNatural Niacinamide Serum 1

InstaNatural

Eva Naturals Skin Clearing Serum  1

Eva Naturals

The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum 1

The Inkey List

Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum 1

Sunday Riley

Dr. Dennis Gross Stress Rescue Super Serum with Niacinamide 1

Dr. Dennis Gross

Name

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

Super Pure

CLINICAL Niacinamide 20% Treatment

Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%

Niacinamide Serum

Skin Clearing Serum

Niacinamide Oil Control Serum

5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum

Stress Rescue Super Serum with Niacinamide

Features

Best for Regulating Sebum Production of Oily Skin

Best Serum That Won't Interfere With Makeup

Best Lightweight Option for Blemish-Prone Skin

Best Potent Serum for Dark Spot Treatment

Best for Acne-Prone Skin With Enlarged Pores

Best for Dull and Dry Skin

Best for Combination Serum for Slowing Down Skin Aging

Best Niacinamide Serum for Skin Hydration

Best Niacinamide Serum for the Sensitive Eye Area

Best for Skin Stress Relief

Price$5.90$34.00$28.00$48.00$15.99$15.97$14.95$6.99$65.00$74.00
Amount1 oz.1.35 oz.1 oz. 0.67 oz.1 oz. 2 oz. 1 oz.1 oz.0.5 oz. 1 oz.
Niacinamide concentration10%Approx. 5%5%20%12%5%3.50%10%Not specifiedNot specified
Beneficial ingredientsZinc, tamarindus indica seed gum, pentylene glycolWatermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sodium hyaluronateZinc, glycerin, propanediol, honeysuckle flower extract, citric acidVitamin C, meadowsweet extract, pentylene glycol, butylene glycol, glycerin, purslane extractZinc, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, glycerinHyaluronic acid, vitamin E, avocado oilVitamin C, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, retinolHyaluronic acid, glycerin, butylene glycol, squaleneRetinol, ceramides, olive oilAshwagandha, goji, glycerin, sweet almond oil, squalene
Contains alcoholNoNo NoNoNoNot specifiedYesYesYesNot specified
Contains fragranceNoYesNoNoNoNoYesYesNot specifiedYes
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oilyNormal, dry, combination, oilyNormal, dry, combination, oilyNormal, dry, combination, oilyDry, combination, acne-prone, sensitiveNormal, dry, combination, oily, sensitiveNormal, dry, combination, oilyOilyNormal, dry, combination, oilyNormal, combination, oily
Skin concernsExcess sebum, enlarged poresDryness, dullnessUneven texture, blemish prone skinDark spots, enlarged pores, uneven textureExcess sebum, enlarged pores, uneven textureDryness, redness, irritated skinDark spots, fine lines, wrinklesAcne, enlarged pores, blemish prone skinDryness, fine lines, wrinklesDullness, redness, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven texture
Link

10 Best Niacinamide Serums

Here some of the best niacinamide serums that are highly recommended by reviewers with different skin types and concerns. We included ones with varying concentrations of niacinamide and ingredients, so scroll down to see which one will be the best for you!


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Dr. Lauren Levy.

The OrdinaryNiacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

$5.90

Amount1 oz.
Niacinamide concentration10%
Beneficial ingredientsZinc, tamarindus indica seed gum, pentylene glycol
Contains alcoholNo
Contains fragranceNo
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oily
Skin concernsExcess sebum, enlarged pores

Paula's ChoiceCLINICAL Niacinamide 20% Treatment

$48.00

Amount0.67 oz.
Niacinamide concentration20%
Beneficial ingredientsVitamin C, meadowsweet extract, pentylene glycol, butylene glycol, glycerin, purslane extract
Contains alcoholNo
Contains fragranceNo
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oily
Skin concernsDark spots, enlarged pores, uneven texture
Amount1 oz.
Niacinamide concentration5%
Beneficial ingredientsZinc, glycerin, propanediol, honeysuckle flower extract, citric acid
Contains alcoholNo
Contains fragranceNo
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oily
Skin concernsUneven texture, blemish prone skin

NaturiumNiacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%

$15.99

Amount1 oz.
Niacinamide concentration12%
Beneficial ingredientsZinc, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, glycerin
Contains alcoholNo
Contains fragranceNo
Skin typeDry, combination, acne-prone, sensitive
Skin concernsExcess sebum, enlarged pores, uneven texture

Glow RecipeWatermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

$34.00

Amount1.35 oz.
Niacinamide concentrationApprox. 5%
Beneficial ingredientsWatermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate
Contains alcoholNo
Contains fragranceYes
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oily
Skin concernsDryness, dullness

InstaNaturalNiacinamide Serum

$15.97

Amount2 oz.
Niacinamide concentration5%
Beneficial ingredientsHyaluronic acid, vitamin E, avocado oil
Contains alcoholNot specified
Contains fragranceNo
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oily, sensitive
Skin concernsDryness, redness, irritated skin

Eva NaturalsSkin Clearing Serum

$14.95

Amount1 oz.
Niacinamide concentration3.50%
Beneficial ingredientsVitamin C, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, retinol
Contains alcoholYes
Contains fragranceYes
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oily
Skin concernsDark spots, fine lines, wrinkles

The Inkey ListNiacinamide Oil Control Serum

$6.99

Amount1 oz.
Niacinamide concentration10%
Beneficial ingredientsHyaluronic acid, glycerin, butylene glycol, squalene
Contains alcoholYes
Contains fragranceYes
Skin typeOily
Skin concernsAcne, enlarged pores, blemish prone skin

Sunday Riley5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum

$65.00

Amount0.5 oz.
Niacinamide concentrationNot specified
Beneficial ingredientsRetinol, ceramides, olive oil
Contains alcoholYes
Contains fragranceNot specified
Skin typeNormal, dry, combination, oily
Skin concernsDryness, fine lines, wrinkles

Dr. Dennis GrossStress Rescue Super Serum with Niacinamide

$74.00

Amount1 oz.
Niacinamide concentrationNot specified
Beneficial ingredientsAshwagandha, goji, glycerin, sweet almond oil, squalene
Contains alcoholNot specified
Contains fragranceYes
Skin typeNormal, combination, oily
Skin concernsDullness, redness, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven texture

How to Choose a Niacinamide Serum - Buying Guide

When choosing a niacinamide serum for your skin, it's important to consider the niacinamide concentration and other ingredients it contains. Read on for some tips and tricks that will help you choose the best niacinamide serum.

Start Off With a Low-Percentage Niacinamide Serum

Start Off With a Low-Percentage Niacinamide Serum

Niacinamide comes with great benefits for the skin, but it can cause skin irritation, redness, and dermatitis when used in high concentrations. This is why it’s essential to check how much niacinamide your serum contains.


If you have sensitive skin or if you’re just starting to incorporate niacinamide in your routine, it's recommended to go for low concentrations of 1 to 5 percent. Some research has shown that you can notice an improvement in dark spots and fine lines with a concentration of 5 percent.


Once your skin gets used to it or you find yourself wanting more effects, you can go up to 10 to 15 percent. If you're unsure at what level to start, do a patch test beforehand or consult with your dermatologist. Generally, though, we recommend starting low and gradually increasing the percentages, as it takes time for your skin to recognize the benefits of a new product.

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

If your serum is drying you out too much - especially when using it with other anti-aging products like retinoids - you may want to cut back to using it a few times a week or alternating it with your other products. That way, you can get the benefits from both the niacinamide serum and a retinoid.

Look for Active Ingredients to Achieve Glowing, Even Skin

Most serums aren't straight-up niacinamide, so it's important to look at the other active ingredients in the formula to address specific skin concerns.

Moisturizers Like Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin for Dry Skin

Moisturizers Like Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin for Dry Skin

You can find niacinamide serums infused with other active ingredients that will give you optimal results. For example, hydrating and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe extract, and glycerin will be beneficial for people with dry skin, and their effects can be boosted even more with the presence of niacinamide.

Vitamins E and A for Dullness, Dark Spots, Fine Lines, and Wrinkles

Vitamins E and A for Dullness, Dark Spots, Fine Lines, and Wrinkles

If you want to address dullness and signs of aging, consider niacinamide serums with vitamins E and A to reduce inflammation and make your skin bright and smooth. They can also reduce pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. Vitamins in green tea - especially vitamin B-2 - are great for addressing inflammation and signs of aging as well.

Folic Acid and Zinc for Acne Treatment

Folic Acid and Zinc for Acne Treatment

Ingredients that can possibly benefit acne treatment when used in tandem with niacinamide are folic acid, zinc, and green tea. If you want to address blemishes with your niacinamide serum, consider the addition of one of these ingredients.

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

Depending on your skin concerns or skin type, you may choose a niacinamide serum that has other beneficial ingredients. If you have hyperpigmentation or skin aging, vitamin C can be useful along with the niacinamide.


For acne or rosacea, zinc added to the niacinamide can help reduce inflammation in the skin. For drier skin, look for a product that has added hyaluronic acid.

Avoid Irritating Ingredients if You Have Sensitive Skin or Allergies

Avoid Irritating Ingredients if You Have Sensitive Skin or Allergies

When looking at the ingredients of your niacinamide serum, you want to avoid potentially irritating ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin. Some ingredients you want to avoid are alcohol and fragrance in high concentrations.


Alcohols and fragrances might trigger irritation, redness, or breakouts for some people. If you want to be safe, pay attention to the ingredients list, or you can also do a patch test first to make sure the serum is safe for your skin.

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

For skin that is prone to irritation or contact dermatitis, I recommend trying out the serum behind the ear for a few days. This will test for a possible reaction without subjecting your face to a red and itchy rash. 


Look for a serum with the least amount of added ingredients if you have sensitive skin. This will reduce your chance of developing a reaction.


I really like to use a topical niacinamide serum as part of the skincare routine for people with rosacea. The anti-inflammatory effects can help with both redness and pimples that can occur with rosacea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Even after reading through this guide, you may have some lingering questions about niacinamide serums. We've researched the answers to some commonly asked questions, so hopefully, you'll find your answer here!

How do I use niacinamide serum?

Niacinamide serums can be incorporated into either or both your morning and nightly skincare routine. Since many niacinamide serums are water-based rather than oil-based, they will absorb into your skin better if they're applied before any oil-based steps of your routine. So, a good place to fit niacinamide serum into your routine is after cleansing and toning (if you need it).


If a vitamin C product is part of your skincare routine, you may want to consider avoiding it paired with niacinamide. Though there's no evidence showing the two can clash and result in irritation when applied topically, anecdotal evidence shows that flushing can occur in some.

Can niacinamide serum cause acne?

The short answer is: it's highly unlikely that it will! Some powerful skincare products like retinols are known to cause "purging", in which rapid cell turnover can cause irritated, acne-like bumps. When it comes to niacinamide, though, that doesn't seem to be the case. You can always stay on the safe side by starting off with a low-percentage niacinamide serum, though.

What's better: niacinamide or hyaluronic acid?

Neither is necessarily "better" than the other; it depends on your skincare goals and how your skin normally reacts to products. Niacinamide is often used to address inflammation and hyperpigmentation, while hyaluronic acid is more commonly used to tackle dryness and dehydration.


If you're looking for something to reduce redness, dark spots, and acne, then niacinamide is technically better than hyaluronic acid. If you want to moisturize, you're better off with hyaluronic acid. Or, you can even use them together! Like we talked about in the buying guide, niacinamide can possibly boost the hydrating effects of hyaluronic acid even more.

Complete Your Skin Care Routine!

Complete Your Skin Care Routine!

Although niacinamide serums are multi-tasking, they aren't the only thing you'll be putting on your face. Here are other products you can use to get your skin back in order.

Another Great Serum to Add to Your Routine

If you're just starting out with niacinamide or you don't want to use it every day, here's an alternative for you! Hyaluronic acid is an excellent addition to your skincare routine, and this one by The Ordinary is beloved by beauty blogger Nikki Lopez.

Expert's
pick

The OrdinaryHyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

1 oz.

$13.95

Author: Janina Maddatu


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    It’s a buzzword in Japan: translucence. It’s similar to Korea’s glass skin–skin so pure that it’s nearly transparent, resembling layers of frosted glass. In the Western world, think "glow" or "dewy finish." In order to respond to that aesthetic, cosmetic companies–both drugstore and high-end–here have been coming out with scores of whitening serums, essences, and ampoules.As always, it’s difficult to tell what kind of skincare is effective and what isn’t. That’s why, this time around, we ordered the 24 most popular whitening serums from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also invited a skincare specialist and had her compare the following:1. Hydration2. ApplicationThis is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese whitening serums, essences, and ampoules. See why we picked Chifure's Whitening Essence VC as our top choice and more!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    47,297 views
  • Top 10 Best Liquid Foundations for Dry Skin in 2021 (Dior, Maybelline, and More)
    Top 10 Best Liquid Foundations for Dry Skin in 2021 (Dior, Maybelline, and More)
    If you're struggling to apply foundation on your dry and flaky skin, it probably means you're using the wrong type of foundation! Finding the right liquid foundation for dry skin can be tricky because there are so many things to consider. Asides from shades, ingredients are another important factor that you should pay extra attention to.If you find yourself wondering which liquid foundation to choose, make sure you don't miss our buying guide, which is packed with useful tips and suggestions to help you make the right decision. We've also chosen 10 products that are wildly popular on the market. Start with our top ranking on the list, Dior's Forever Skin Glow. It's packed with skincare ingredients, offers sun protection, and comes in a wide range of shades. For more options, check out our other nine highly recommended products on the list.
    Cosmetics and skincare
    274 views
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