Niacinamide (also referred nicotinamide) is the water-soluble form of vitamin B3. In acne it works by reducing the sebum production from the ‘sebaceous glands’ of the skin1. Sebum is the oily, waxy substance which clogs the pores and among other mechanisms leads to formation of spots. Niacinamide also has anti-inflammatory properties beneficial for people with the inflammatory skin disease acne2.
Studies show that niacinamide can be beneficial in people with acne. A study showed that 5% niacinamide was comparable to topically prescribed antibiotic (2% clindamycin), which is a standard treatment for mild to moderate acne. At the same time, the 5% gel containing nicotinamide was not associated with any side effects3. Another study showed that 4% niacinamide gel was significantly more effective in oily skin types than non-oily, whereas 1% clindamycin gel (prescription acne treatment) showed the opposite pattern4.
The concentration of an ingredient is important for its efficacy, and therefore products containing the same ingredient may not necessarily have the same effect as in the studies mentioned above.
Updated: July 2017