a telescopic view of niacinamide

Hero Ingredient: Niacinamide

Discover everything you need to know about niacinamide, from its manufacturing process to its benefits in Pure Culture products.

Active Ingredient: Niacinamide
Derived from: Nicotinamide, which is a form of vitamin B3.
Pronunciation: “nye-uh-sin-uh-mide”
Type: Niacinamide is a natural, water-soluble vitamin.
Other names: Nicotinamide, vitamin B3 amide

The Science Behind Niacinamide and How it is Made

chemical structure of niacinamide

Chemically, niacinamide is an amide form of vitamin B3 (niacin or nicotinic acid), with the molecular formula C6H6N2O. Its structure comprises a pyridine ring with an amide functional group attached at the meta position. This chemical composition gives this ingredient its unique properties and makes it a valuable ingredient in various skincare products and pharmaceuticals.

The synthesis of this skincare ingredient involves several methods, including enzymatic processes and chemical reactions. One notable enzymatic process is catalyzed by the enzyme nitrile hydratase, derived from microorganisms like Rhodococcus rhodochrous J1. This enzyme facilitates the hydrolysis of nicotinonitrile, yielding niacinamide. This method offers high selectivity, avoiding further hydrolysis to nicotinic acid and ensuring efficient production.

Additionally, it can be synthesized from nicotinic acid through various chemical processes. One common method involves the amidation of nicotinic acid with ammonia or amines, resulting in the formation of niacinamide. Chemical transformations of other precursors, such as 3-aminopyridine, can also yield it through appropriate reactions.

The Power of Niacinamide in the Skin

Best for: Oily, acne-prone skin

Niacinamide is a powerhouse ingredient in skincare renowned for its numerous benefits. From addressing common skin concerns to promoting overall skin health, it is a versatile compound that has earned its place as a skincare essential.

This active ingredient regulates facial sebum production, rendering it valuable for individuals seeking skin rejuvenation while grappling with acne concerns. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prove advantageous for acne-prone skin, particularly in individuals presenting with papules and pustules. Clinically, it has been shown to reduce pore size and enhance skin texture, further solidifying its role in skincare formulations aimed at addressing a myriad of concerns associated with photoaging, or sun damage.

Concerns on Niacinamide

Skin Sensitivity

Patch-test products containing niacinamide before applying them to larger areas of the face and to start with lower concentrations to assess tolerance.

Interaction with Other Ingredients

Research suggests that when used together in appropriate formulations, this active ingredient and vitamin C can actually complement each other's effects.

Sun Sensitivity

Studies have shown that it actually has photoprotective properties and can help protect the skin from UV damage. Nonetheless, it's important to continue using sunscreen as part of your skincare routine, especially when using products containing such.

Product Stability

To ensure maximum efficacy, it's best to store niacinamide-containing products in opaque or airtight packaging and to avoid products that have expired or show signs of degradation.

Further Research on Niacinamide

As collagen production booster

Prolonged use of topical niacinamide has been shown to diminish fine lines and wrinkles. In a 12-week clinical study utilizing a 5% emulsion, a notable 21% enhancement in fine lines, accompanied by a 14% improvement in skin tone clarity and a 15% increase in radiance, was observed. Though the exact mechanisms are not fully elucidated, in vitro studies suggest niacinamide's role in boosting dermal collagen production while simultaneously curbing excess dermal glycosaminoglycan production. 

Against melasma

Research also indicates that this ingredient possesses skin-lightening properties, demonstrating efficacy in adult women by reducing melanin hyperpigmentation associated with conditions like melasma. Nevertheless, there is a scarcity of recent literature examining the direct effects of pure niacinamide on increasing pigmentation in melasma within the past decade.


For skin-lightening against hyperpigmentation

In a randomized, split-face, double-blind, paired clinical study involving eighteen Japanese women with various types of brown hyperpigmentation, its efficacy as an active ingredient in skin-lightening was investigated. Subjects applied a test moisturizer containing 5% nicotinamide and a control moisturizer without nicotinamide to each side of the face twice daily for 8 weeks. The results of the study revealed significant improvements in the side of the face treated with the test moisturizer compared to the side treated with the control moisturizer. Specifically, there was a notable decrease in the total hyperpigmented area measured by image analysis, as well as a reduction in the visually assessed degree of hyperpigmentation after both 4 and 8 weeks of treatment.

Pure Culture and Niacinamide

Pure Culture sees this holy grail as one of the G.O.A.T. when it comes to active ingredients. Nure Our products enriched with niacinamide offer a valuable addition to your skincare regimen, delivering a comprehensive, efficient, and tailored solution to various skin concerns.


Boo, Y. C. (2021). Mechanistic basis and clinical evidence for the applications of nicotinamide (Niacinamide) to control skin aging and pigmentation. Antioxidants, 10(8), 1315. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10081315

Bryn Mawr Communications. (n.d.). Niacinamide: a multi-functional cosmeceutical ingredient - Practical Dermatology. Practical Dermatology. https://practicaldermatology.com/articles/2022-may/niacinamide-a-multi-functional-cosmeceutical-ingredient

Pedroso, A. G., Furtado, G. R. D., & Barbosa, K. L. (2022). Niacinamide for the treatment of melasma: an integrative review of randomized clinical trials. Research, Society and Development, 11(11), e198111133581. https://doi.org/10.33448/rsd-v11i11.33581

The anti-aging effects of niacinamide. (2020, November 13). Dermatology Times. https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/anti-aging-effects-niacinamide