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Questions about niacinamide

edited March 2014 in Ask the Beauty Brains
It looks like every brand in Korea includes niacinamide in their creams. I even found it listed in a cream that is not specifically marketed for anti-aging (Missha). It is interesting that Missha also offers anti-aging creams with niacinamide that are twice as expensive. Is there any real difference between different creams containing niacinamide or do they all offer the same benefits? How can I know which product is better? Does price matter? Is 20 000 won (20 dollars) for 50 ml too cheap or too expensive? Are eye creams different and is it necessary to buy a separate cream just to use around my eyes or I can just use any niacinamide cream there? I am also worried because I am already very pale so will niacinamide make my skin even whiter?
Some of the creams contain ethanol, isn't that a problem? Also, my skin is acne prone, is it safe to use niacinamide? What other ingredients should I be watching for? I wanted to buy a retinol cream because you said in your podcast that it was originally developed as an acne treatment but I could find only one such cream and it was sold out, haha.


  • No answer?
  • They all offer pretty much the same benefit.  There is some evidence that niacinamide has anti aging effects but it's unlikely you would notice them between different formulas.

    $20 for 50ml sounds pretty expensive to me.

    No, you don't need separate eye creams.  They are not significantly different.

    No ethanol is not a problem as long as your skin isn't sensitive to it.

    Yes, you can use niacinamide if you have acne prone skin.

    Hope that helps.
  • Thank you! I thought that as a working anti-aging ingredient it should be expensive but obviously that's not always true.
  • Since it is not a regulated drug manufacturers can put in as little or as much as they want.  So, they could use 1% or 0.0001% and still put it on the label.
  • I tried a sample of a niacinamide containing moisturiser last night and it feels great but my eyes are so irritated and teary now, is it better to try a special eye cream? Thank you!
  • If the product irritates your eyes you should certainly use something else.
  • Perhaps I can add some information. Concerning the stinging, products with very high concentrations Niacniamide may cause some flushing in very sensitive individuals, try introducing the product slowly. Although I have to say, flushing does not happen very often, so there might be a chance there are other ingredients causing the eye irritation. Separate eye creams are not necessary, because often there is no difference in day, night or eye creams, but also there is no scientific evidence your skin under your eyes needs something else than the rest of your face. 

    Ethanol can be a problem when it's listed among the first five to six ingredients (let's say 5%), especially people with dry/sensitive skin should choose other products. Niacinamide is very helpful for people with acne. It has anti-inflammatory properties and it slows down the production of histamine. It also slows down sebum production and reduces pigmentation. Try looking for products with 4-5% Niacinamide, the ingredient is not expensive and stable.
  • Thanks! I used it again and this time no irritation. I wonder when I will see my fine lines (from smiling) disappear. Also, is it possible that it first makes acne worse? I've heard that about retinol.
    Today I bought a product that looked promising. It is Missha super aqua anti-trouble formula after spot balm (they don't like to use the word acne, they call it trouble). The ingredients are: niacinamide, titanium dioxide, tocopherol, salicylic acid, tocopheryl acetate, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin. If my training at the beauty brains is good enough already, this must be a working product, right? Do you think it's OK to use around the eyes (the salicylic acid worries me)? And will it have skin whitening effects?
    Btw, I am acne prone and my skin is very sensitive (I also blush easily, had sun allergy as a kid, certain clothes irritate my skin, you get what I mean) but it is not oily, it can even be dry in winter, so is slowing down sebum production good for me? Do I need extra moisturising?
  • Oh, I just read on the Internet that vitamin E, promotes hair growth. Does that mean that it can cause problems with facial hair?
  • I've never seen any data (or even any anecdotal references for that matter) that suggest this is a problem. 
  • Thanks! What do you think of the anti trouble formula? Is that a good product?
  • Is it OK to use around the eyes?
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