Is Niacinamide Effective in Rinse-Off Applications?

CamelCamel Member
edited March 28 in Formulating
I have not been able to find any evidence that supports this, but I have noticed many big brands like to use this ingredient in their face cleansers, especially CeraVe.

Looking at this product, for example: CeraVe - Acne Control Cleanser

Is there any actual benefit to including niacinamide in a cleanser that I am unaware of? Or is this simply used to make a claim? 


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I highly doubt that it is effective in a rinse-off product (especially a cleanser).

    In fact, I'm not even sure I believe it has much benefit in a leave on product.
    This summary of research suggests just how weak the data for positive benefits is. 

    "Although the existing data are not sufficient for a scientifically founded evaluation, it can be stated that the use of niacinamide in galenic preparations for epicutaneous application offers most interesting prospects.

    If they have a hard time demonstrating benefit with leave-on, you can be quite certain there is no noticeable benefit from rinse-off.
  • CamelCamel Member
    @Perry, thank you for confirming my suspicions. That was a very interesting and informative read.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Of course, the research paper does ignore the biggest benefit to using Niacinamide....having it in your formula and talking about it increases sales.
  • CamelCamel Member
    @Perry, very true! 😆 But in my case, I only make products for my own use, so I try to stay away from ingredients that don't offer any real functionality since I don't need the marketing benefits. 
  • edited April 1

    I'm new here, thank you so much for accepting me. I've been formulating a liquid surfactant intended to be used for face and hands wash, and it contains both Niacinamide and Panthenol. Adding Niacinamide to the wash improved its effectiveness in general in the since of apparent skin improvements like brightness and skin barrier repair. Niacinamide functioned well in pH 6. Otherwise, ubove and below 6 it turns into nicotinic acid and causes irritation. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Hanismaik - How would one measure an improvement in "skin barrier repair"?

  • Thanks Perry, that's a good question. I've been developing this formula for a couple of years now and testing it on my face and hands. I've seen improvements like firmer skin, reduction in age pigmentation, softness, less wrinkles. 
  • I'm sorry for the typos. I should mention that the effectiveness of the wash does not rely entirely on Niacinamide. However, Niacinamide improves it. I've developed it based on research and personal experiments and summarised the research on my blog. I'm happy to share all of the findings here. Neither the product nor the blog is commercial. I use the wash for myself and the blog to summarise, share, and discuss information. Thanks.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It is very difficult to demonstrate that a certain ingredient is actually having an effect. If you are also using a moisturizer or other products after cleansing, all of the effects you've described could be attributed solely to those products. 

    In my view, it's highly unlikely that a water soluble ingredient like niacinamide & panthenol are having any impact at all when delivered from a cleansing formula.

    Why don't the detergents and water in the cleanser simply wash these ingredients down the drain?
  • Yes Perry, you're absolutely correct. It's hard to believe that a few seconds of contacting a wash can impart such effectiveness. 
  • edited April 1
    Perry, and the reader, please take your time to test the theories that I followed to produce this formula. First of all, I'm not here to stress or promote any of my point of views (unless they are practically tested). What I'm here for really is that I believe that I have found the right place to discuss and learn. I've been making soap for more than 25 years. Working with so many experiments, I think that I've reached to some solid facts in regards to cleansing products, but that's just me.. If you're happy with this, I'm also happy to share the theories one by one, but this will take some time. I don't want to flood the forum with my posts all of the sudden, and I would also like to give time for anyone who wishes to try making a similar product. Moreover, I'd like that you understand that I get stuck in many corners ( chemically speaking). And I would like to get your help and the reader's to solve out some of the problems that I'm encoutering with the wash. Thanks again. I wanted to come clean from the beginning. Please let me know if that's okay. 
  • ketchitoketchito Member
    @Hanismaik I believe one common issue even amongst formulators, is that we're usually highly biased. The only way to prove some benefit from a particular ingredients is either conducting technical analysis (using equipment that most of us don't have access to) using solid protocols, or through placebo based double blinded clinical trials (which are expensive and require a good number of participants). Our experience or even the feedback from a small group of people is mainly anecdotal evidence. 
  • edited April 1
    Ketchito, please look at clinical trials on Niacinamide skin improvement effectiveness. To obtain an effect from Niacinamide, you have to have a very efficient delivery system (skin penetration - peptide carriers - other vitamins for synergy effect, etc.).  
  • edited April 2
    In addition: particle size, micelles count, bilayer type, pH, etc.).  
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