How to Get Niacin Into Your Skin-Care Routine

by Lindsey Robinson Sanchez ; Updated July 18, 2017

A woman shopping for moisturizer in a drug store.

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All B vitamins, including niacin -- or B3 -- are known to promote healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver function. Niacin is included in creams and lotions to make skin look younger. Adding niacin to your skin-care routine, either in topical treatments or vitamin supplements, may help reverse sun damage and discoloration that naturally occurs with aging. Others use niacin as an irritation-free alternative to tretinoin, an anti-aging derivative of vitamin A.

Purchase an over-the-counter lotion or cream that lists niacin, niacinamide or B3 as an active ingredient. Pat the lotion onto the skin daily after washing with a mild cleanser. Use for six to 10 weeks, then check for signs of improvement in skin texture and discoloration.

Add niacin-rich foods to your diet daily. Include beets, beef, salmon, tuna, swordfish, nuts and seeds, which are all good sources. Buy breads and cereals that are fortified with niacin.

Consult a healthcare professional about whether ingesting a daily niacin or vitamin B complex supplement would be an appropriate addition to your skin-care regimen. These can be purchased over the counter, but talk to a healthcare professional first, as niacin can interact with other drugs and produce side effects.


  • Very few people in the United States have a vitamin B3 deficiency, which can result in fatigue, digestive problems, canker sores and depression. Severe deficiencies can result in pellagra, a condition that causes scaly skin and dementia. Consult a physician for a diagnosis.

    If tretinoin is part of your skin-care routine, you may want to stop using it while you're using niacin cream. One claimed benefit of niacin is that it provides the same anti-aging benefits of tretinoin without the associated irritation. If you stop using tretinoin while you use niacin, you can then compare the two anti-aging products to determine which is more effective for you.

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About the Author

Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.