Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, has gained popularity in skincare due to its numerous benefits for the skin. It is often used in various skincare products, such as creams, serums, and toners, to address common skin concerns like acne, hyperpigmentation, and aging. While niacinamide is generally safe and well-tolerated, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects that may occur, especially when used on the face.

Possible Side Effects of Niacinamide

1. Skin Irritation: In some cases, niacinamide may cause skin irritation, including redness, itching, or a burning sensation. This can happen if you have sensitive skin or if the concentration of niacinamide in the product is too high for your skin’s tolerance level. It is advisable to perform a patch test before using any new product containing niacinamide to check for any adverse reactions.

2. Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some individuals may be allergic to niacinamide. Signs of an allergic reaction may include hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after using a product containing niacinamide, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention.

3. Breakouts: While niacinamide is known for its acne-fighting properties, it can occasionally cause breakouts in some individuals. This is more likely to occur if the product contains other ingredients that are comedogenic or pore-clogging. If you notice an increase in acne or clogged pores after using a niacinamide product, it is advisable to discontinue use and consult with a dermatologist.

4. Dryness or Peeling: Niacinamide can have a drying effect on the skin, especially if used in high concentrations or combined with other drying ingredients. If you experience excessive dryness, flakiness, or peeling after using a niacinamide product, consider reducing the frequency of use or switching to a lower concentration formula.

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5. Skin Sensitivity to Sunlight: Some individuals may experience increased sensitivity to sunlight when using niacinamide. This can result in a higher risk of sunburn or skin damage. It is crucial to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF when using niacinamide during the day and to limit sun exposure as much as possible.

Tips for Safe Use of Niacinamide

1. Start with a lower concentration: If you are new to niacinamide, it is advisable to start with a lower concentration product and gradually increase it over time to assess your skin’s tolerance.

2. Perform a patch test: Before applying niacinamide to your entire face, perform a patch test on a small area of skin to check for any adverse reactions or allergies.

3. Follow product instructions: Always read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the specific niacinamide product you are using. This includes the recommended frequency of use and any precautions or warnings.

4. Avoid combining with irritating or drying ingredients: To minimize the risk of side effects, avoid using niacinamide products alongside other skincare products that contain ingredients known to be irritating or drying, such as retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids.

5. Consult a dermatologist: If you have any concerns or experience persistent side effects from using niacinamide on your face, it is best to consult a dermatologist. They can provide personalized advice and recommend suitable products or alternatives based on your skin type and specific needs.


Niacinamide is generally safe and well-tolerated when used on the face. However, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions to minimize the risk. By following the tips mentioned above and listening to your skin’s response, you can enjoy the benefits of niacinamide while minimizing any potential adverse effects.