Vitamin C and alpha-hydroxy acids are always top of mind when it comes to all things brightening. The former protects and reverses sun damage (usually in the form of dark spots), while the latter reveals a healthier, more even layer of your skin through exfoliation. Both are heavy lifters when added to your routine for sure, but there exists a less intimidating ingredient in that same brightening family tree: Niacinamide.
Niacinamide, or vitamin B3 if that's a mouthful for you, is peppered in many skincare products in the market for its long list of benefits. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas says that it can reduce inflammation and redness, minimize the appearance of pores, and for its most lauded effect, it can brighten pigmentation and the complexion in general with regular use. Niacinamide is also gentler in comparison to retinols, AHAs, and vitamin C—to the point where you can actually safely combine it with those three to boost your regimen.
It's therefore no surprise that niacinamide is one of our favorite ingredients. And if it isn't already yours as well, here are some products that might convince you:
Skincare Products with Niacinamide
1. AHC Natural Essential Mask Aqua Brightening
Sheet masks are your one way ticket to an instant glow, but what makes this one from AHC stand out is its hydrating and brightening combo of ceramide, berry extracts, and niacinamide. It makes all the difference in 20 minutes or less!
Natural Essential Mask Aqua Brightening, P135, AHC, Watsons
2. Luxe Organix Miracle Repair Serum Niacinamide 2%
This 2% niacinamide serum is perfect for those who are still dipping their toes into the tone-evening ingredient. Boosted with licorice extract and vitamin E, it also helps soothe irritation and protect the skin from sun damage.
Miracle Repair Serum Niacinamide 2%, P499, LUXE ORGANIX, Watsons
3. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Not a niacinamide newbie? Upgrade your skincare routine to this potent formula from The Ordinary. It'll help you with those active breakouts and everything leftover, plus a sebum-balancing perk thanks to the 1% zinc.
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, P629, THE ORDINARY, Beautymnl
4. The Inkey List PHA Toner
We've already sung our praises over the moisture-locking and gently exfoliating benefits of poly-hydroxy acids. You'll get all that and more in this toner, which contains 3% niacinamide to brighten and a dash of aloe juice to cool down redness.
Polyhydroxy Acid Toner, P825, THE INKEY LIST, Beauty Bar
5. COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
The 95 in this essence's name stands for its whopping 95% concentration of galactomyces ferment filtrate—a K-beauty favorite for maintaining smooth and supple skin at any age. Right next to it on the ingredients list is, you guessed it, niacinamide, to further battle dullness and discoloration.
Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence, P1000, COSRX, Beautymnl
6. Olay White Radiance Whip
Here's a hint: Olay's facial skincare is hardly ever without vitamin B3. But if you're looking for a convenient radiance booster, the Luminous Whip is the lightweight, brightening moisturizer you need on your vanity.
White Radiance Whip, P1999, OLAY, Watsons
7. Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Age-Defying Intense Serum
This light, lotion-like serum boasts of a powerful type of hyaluronic acid and skin-revitalizing technology pulled from the longoza flower that helps "restore the full power of the skin's mother cells". As if that isn't impressive enough, it has niacinamide high up on its ingredients list, so you know you'll also be getting those spot-fading benefits.
Capture Totale Super Potent Age-Defying Intense Serum, P4950, DIOR, SM Aura