Niacinamide is one of the best multitasking skin-care ingredients we have access to today, and numerous brands have launched serums in the last couple years using the ingredient as the star. From visibly brightening and soothing to controlling excess oil and pesky large pores, it’s praised by dermatologists and skin-care aficionados.
“For those with large pores and/or excessive oil production, seek out products that contain niacinamide,” says celebrity aesthetician René de la Garza, who works with Lizzo. “They help regulate sebum production and refine skin texture by supporting the skin’s natural exfoliation process. Niacinamide promotes the removal of dead skin cells and helps to smooth the skin’s surface, which ultimately gives the appearance of smaller pores.”
Here, we share 10 of the best niacinamide serums on the market that cost less than $50, so you can achieve healthy, beautiful skin without breaking the bank.
For those with oily skin, this 5-percent niacinamide serum (there are only nine other ingredients, and it’s fragrance-free) is a great pick. It works to visibly reduce excess shine, as well as any lingering redness, and can be used by all skin types, even sensitive.
Two to three drops is enough for the whole face, although the brand also recommends this hack: “Zone treat your face by applying this serum to areas prone to oiliness and breakouts. Follow with your favorite moisturizer where needed.”
Recommended by 90,000 dermatologists across the globe, La Roche-Posay is known for its efficacious formulas highlighting key ingredients. Niacinamide is the star in this serum, but it’s mixed with brightening phe-resorcinol, hydrating hyaluronic acid and the brand’s own soothing Thermal Spring Water from France.
It’s a great option for those with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which can be caused by marks behind by acne blemishes. In an 11-week clinical study with 101 participants, a 35-percent visible reduction of skin discoloration was seen after eight weeks of use.
You’ve probably seen this lightweight serum all over TikTok, as it’s a favorite of beauty gurus and influencers alike. This is a great option for someone who wants a dewy glow because it essentially acts like highlighter and skin care in one step. However, it’s not greasy, so you can use it even if you have oily skin.
And, if you can’t get enough of it and want to try something new, dab a little on your cheekbones on top of your blush instead of highlighter for an even more natural sheen.
Anyone with large pores looking for a refining serum that won’t break the bank, this one’s for you. The 12-percent niacinamide combined with zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid can make pores look smaller, while also minimizing dark spots and fine lines over time. Plus, it’s vegan and fragrance-free.
This 10-percent niacinamide serum has more than 1,100 five-star reviews, with reviewers describing it as “life-saving” and “a miracle serum,” and having “the best texture on the market.” It’s vegan, fragrance-free and beloved by those who are either oily, acne-prone or dealing with post-acne marks and uneven skin texture. And at this price point, there’s really no reason not to give a go.
Oily and acne-prone? Try this non-comedogenic, 15-percent niacinamide serum that works to control sebum production as it simultaneously soothes inflammation from acne AND reduces the appearance of post-acne scars. In clinical trials, after four weeks, 50 percent of users saw an improvement in the number of whiteheads, and 48 percent saw an improvement in their skin’s oil synthesis.
Dermatologist-tested and fragrance-free, this 10-percent niacinamide serum is ideal for those with dehydrated skin looking for help in the discoloration department, thanks to the addition of hydrating hyaluronic acid and glycerin. (Don’t forget to top it with moisturizer if your skin is on the drier side.)
With continued use, it helps decrease the appearance of dark spots and large pores, while evening skin tone. In an eight-week consumer home-use study, participants said it evened the look of their skin tone in two weeks, applying the serum morning and night.
This water-based formula combines niacinamide and zinc as well, which is a home run for skin rejuvenation. Together, the pair improves the skin’s barrier function and radiance, and anti-inflammatory zinc is great at regulating oil production. In a clinical study, the serum proved the hydrate the skin by reinforcing the skin barrier in as little as seven days. After eight weeks, skin was smooth and more luminous.
Ferulic acid is a super potent antioxidant that helps prevent discoloration, so when paired with niacinamide, skin gets a double dose of brightening benefits. This is a great formula—it’s also a NewBeauty Award winner—for those who are regularly exposed to environmental aggressors, like UV rays and pollution, that lead to free-radical damage. Over time, it reduces hyperpigmentation and sunspots for improved radiance.
Specifically formulated to target stubborn dark spots (one of niacinamide’s best benefits), this fragrance-free, quick-to-absorb serum blends vitamin B3 with brightening licorice root and antioxidant-rich golden kiwifruit to promote a clearer, healthier-looking complexion. One reviewer even called it “a magic eraser” for her skin after using the product regularly.