Niacinamide is one of the most widely used and beneficial ingredients for the skin due to its multiple benefits. It helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, even out skin tone, and improve overall complexion.
Korean skin care brands are known for their high-quality and innovative products, and niacinamide products are no exception. I tested several Korean niacinamide serums and narrowed it down to this list of the 10 best Korean niacinamide serums.
While these niacinamide serums are formulated with effective active ingredients, the best part is that they are SO affordable!
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10 Best Korean Niacinamide Serums
Whether you need help with acne, hyperpigmentation, or wrinkles, the following serums address multiple skin concerns, which makes them multi-taskers. My favorite type of skincare product!!
Here is a list of the 10 best Korean niacinamide serums that will help you to achieve your ideal complexion.
NOTE: If you have acne-prone skin, you can pair one of these serums with one of the Best Korean Moisturizers For Acne Prone Skin to address acne and breakouts.
This Korean serum is designed to take care of your skin at all stages of acne. It helps prevent acne, soothe existing acne and reduce the look of post-acne scars and dark spots.
A 15% concentration of niacinamide controls oil production, calms inflammation from acne, and reduces the look of acne scars and discoloration.
N-Acetylglucosamine(NAG) is not only a natural moisturizing factor but also combines with niacinamide to fade hyperpigmentation and brown spots.
Zinc PCA balances sebum production in your skin and also helps hydrate your skin. Allantoin soothes your skin and supports wound healing.
Ideal for oily and acne-prone skin, the serum is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or cause acne and breakouts.
2. Neogen Dermalogy Real Niacinamide Serum
Neogen Dermalogy Real Niacinamide Serum combines 15% niacinamide and multiple active ingredients to brighten skin and control excess sebum for a radiant and glowing complexion.
Niacinamide offers multiple benefits: it improves skin texture, brightens dull skin, reduces the look of enlarged pores, and supports a healthy skin barrier.
It also balances oil production in your skin and smoothes wrinkles and fine lines.
Zinc PCA pairs with niacinamide to balance sebum production.
Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that helps protect skin from environmental stressors, while arbutin is a natural skin brightener that fades dark spots and evens out skin tone.
Bisabolol, panthenol, and adenosine are anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients.
Ceramide NP and sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid) help keep skin moisturized and hydrated.
The lightweight and creamy serum is highly concentrated but gentle enough for everyday use.
It’s a little pricier than the other Korean niacinamide serums in this post, but the high niacinamide concentration and luxe texture make it worth the splurge!
This Korean serum is formulated without fragrance, parabens, sulfates, artificial colors, alcohol, mineral oil, and silicone.
3. AXIS-Y Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum
AXIS-Y Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum is part of their 611 line, which combines 6 base ingredients, 1 core goal-oriented ingredient, and 1 effective technology.
You can probably guess the core ingredient: yes, it’s niacinamide. The 5% niacinamide concentration helps improve a weakened skin barrier, uneven skin tone, and dullness.
The 6 base ingredients are the following:
- Squalane: A natural emollient and moisturizer with a lightweight oily texture. Squalane is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores.
- Sea Buckthorn: A brightening and antioxidant-rich ingredient that reduces dark spots.
- Allantoin: A soothing ingredient that supports wound healing. It also stimulates the shedding of dead skin cells for new tissue growth.
- Papaya: A natural exfoliant that helps speed up cell regeneration and brightens dull sun-damaged skin and dark under-eye circles.
- Rice Bran: A natural antioxidant that smoothes the skin.
- Calendula: An anti-inflammatory ingredient that soothes and heals irritated skin.
The technology in this serum combines niacinamide and rice bran in the optimal ratio to tone up and brighten your complexion.
The serum also contains hydrating sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, that moisturizes and plumps your skin.
All in all, AXIS-Y Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum has a comfortable texture that feels luxurious yet lightweight on your skin.
The serum is ideal for oily and acne-prone skin and is gentle enough for sensitive skin types.
4. Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence
Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence, although not technically a serum, has a thin serum consistency. The essence contains 92% galactomyces ferment filtrate and 5% niacinamide.
Niacinamide helps improve skin texture and tone while boosting collagen production.
Galactomyces ferment filtrate is a fermented yeast extract known as Pitera in SK-II products.
It is filled with vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids that help improve skin pigmentation and increase hydration and moisture in your skin for improved skin tone and texture.
Bifida ferment lysate is a probiotic in the serum that supports a healthy skin barrier. Lactobacillus ferment is another probiotic that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
The essence also contains arginine, an amino acid that promotes skin elasticity and increases hydration. Dipotassium glycyrrhizate and allantoin soothe your skin.
If you are using niacinamide to brighten and whiten dull skin, this essence could be a great addition to your skincare routine thanks to its pairing with galactomyces ferment filtrate.
5. Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum
Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum targets troubled skin dealing with enlarged pores and inflamed skin. The serum harnesses the power of 60% propolis and 2% niacinamide.
Propolis extract is an ingredient derived from a type of resin that bees collect from plants and trees.
It has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for treating acne, redness, and irritation.
This serum also contains 2% niacinamide to brighten skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, and improve texture. Niacinamide helps minimize the appearance of pores while simultaneously hydrating your skin.
In addition to these main ingredients, the Beauty of Joseon Glow serum contains soothing Centella asiatica extract, while sodium hyaluronate helps to keep skin hydrated.
Turmeric root extract is a potent antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and balance sebum (oil) production.
A 0.5% concentration of betaine salicylate combines the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) salicylic acid and moisturizing betaine. This active ingredient helps unclog pores while gently exfoliating your skin.
Beauty of Joseon Glow Serum is formulated especially for acne-prone skin and has a light consistency that absorbs quickly.
It leaves skin feeling smooth and hydrated without any greasy residue.
6. COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum
COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum targets acne, dark spots, and acne scars with 85% propolis extract, 4% niacinamide, and COSRX’s CentellAC-Rx Complex.
The highly concentrated serum uses propolis extract, a resin-like substance made by bees from the sap of certain trees and plants.
It contains antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and flavonoids that help repair skin.
It offers many skin benefits thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties.
The serum also contains oil-regulating and skin-brightening niacinamide at a 4% concentration.
Tea tree oil offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
CentellAC-Rx Complex combines madecassic acid, asiaticoside, and asiatic acid to treat acne and rejuvenate the skin.
While best for oily skin and those dealing with acne and breakouts, the serum is lightweight and non-irritating, making it also suitable for sensitive skin.
For more details on this serum, please see my COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum review post.
7. Cos De Baha Niacinamide 10% + Zinc PCA 1% Serum
Cos De Baha Niacinamide 10% + Zinc PCA 1% Serum is a lightweight water-based serum formulated with 10% niacinamide, 1% Zinc PCA and hyaluronic acid to fight blemishes, and reduce the look of pores and uneven skin texture.
The serum also calms redness and sensitivity and supports a healthy skin barrier. The serum is comprised of 78% organic ingredients.
A 10% concentration of niacinamide reduces the appearance of dark spots, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
The combination of niacinamide and zinc PCA helps reduce oil production and minimize the appearance of pores.
Hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate) helps skin retain moisture and stay hydrated.
Dipotassium glycyrrhizate from the licorice plant soothes your skin and regulates sebum (oil).
Witch hazel leaf extract has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making it ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.
If you prefer a very high concentration of niacinamide, Cos De Baha also has a Niacinamide 20% + Zinc PCA 4% Serum for double the potency.
8. Ma:nyo Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule
Ma:nyo Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule is formulated with a Bifida Biome Complex than contains probiotics to balance your skin’s microbiome.
Niacinamide (percentage not disclosed) complements the probiotics and helps protect your skin from environmental damage and keep it hydrated, which can help minimize dark spots.
A 72% concentration of bifida ferment lysate and bifida ferment filtrate work their probiotic magic to keep your skin balanced, healthy, and nourished.
Manyo Factory’s best-selling ampoule is chock full of several other skin-loving actives, including 10 types of hyaluronic acid (!) that penetrate deep into your skin to plump, hydrate, and nourish your complexion.
A copper peptide (copper tripeptide-1) offers antioxidant protection and helps improve your skin’s elasticity and firmness.
The ampoule also contains components of Centella asiatica to soothe the skin and promote wound healing, as well as adenosine, a yeast-derived extract that helps reduce wrinkles.
This Korean skincare product has such an impressive formula of niacinamide paired with skin-repairing ingredients!
9. TIA’M Vita B3 Source
TIA’M Vita B3 Source is a 10% niacinamide serum boosted by 2% arbutin to help brighten, fade discoloration, and even out skin tone. This niacinamide serum is ideal for dullness, hyperpigmentation, and dark spots.
We know by now that niacinamide is a brightening and anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps support a healthy skin barrier.
It’s also an effective sebum regulator that helps to keep oil levels balanced throughout the day, making it suitable for oily and combination skin types.
Arbutin is derived from the bearberry plant and helps to reduce melanin production in the skin, reducing signs of hyperpigmentation.
The serum also contains trehalose and panthenol, which help to protect your skin barrier while keeping it hydrated.
TIA’M Vita B3 Source also contains dipotassium glycyrrhizate and allantoin to calm and soothe your skin. Hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate) helps keep your skin hydrated.
This lightweight fragrance-free serum has a thin gel-like consistency that will melt into your skin effortlessly without leaving it greasy or sticky.
10. Anua Peach 70 Niacin Serum
Anua Peach 70 Niacin Serum is a brightening peach serum that contains 5% niacinamide to help reduce hyperpigmentation, minimize pores, and strengthen your skin barrier.
Alpha arbutin and turmeric boost niacinamide’s brightening effect. Sodium hyaluronate acts like a sponge and draws water to your skin.
Lactobacillus ferment is a probiotic-derived ingredient with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-acne benefits.
Peach flower extract and a blend of natural oils (safflower seed oil and chia seed oil) help nourish and hydrate your skin.
Centella asiatica extract helps reduce inflammation and calm irritation.
Per the brand, the pink color of Anua Niacinamide serum is derived from Vitamin B12, which has the original color of pink.
Please note there is an added light fresh fragrance in this niacinamide serum.
The Benefits of Niacinamide
You might be wondering why you should even consider a niacinamide serum since there are so many other actives that address skin concerns.
What makes niacinamide so special is that it has many skincare benefits, including:
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Improves uneven skin tone
- Minimizes the size of pores
- Improves the texture of the skin
- Strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier
- Brightens dull skin
- Minimizes redness, inflammation, and the weakened skin barrier associated with certain skin conditions such as acne and rosacea
Niacinamide is suitable for most skin types, but as you increase concentration percentages, you increase the risk of irritation.
It is best to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase it as your skin adjusts.
How To Use Niacinamide in Your Skincare Routine
If you’re new to niacinamide or have sensitive skin, always perform a patch test. This involves applying a small amount of the product on a small patch of skin, such as the inside of your wrist, to see if there’s any adverse reaction.
Apply After Cleansing and Toning
Before applying niacinamide or any serum, ensure that your skin is clean. Begin with a gentle cleanser to prepare your skin.
In skincare (including Korean skincare), the general rule is to apply products from the thinnest to thickest consistency. Niacinamide serums usually have a lightweight texture, so apply your niacinamide serum after cleansing and toning but before heavier creams or oils.
Layering Niacinamide With Other Actives
Niacinamide can be used in combination with many other skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants.
Some suggest exercising caution when using it alongside vitamin C (ascorbic acid), as combining them might reduce the effectiveness of the ingredients. You can read more about using niacinamide and vitamin C together in my post: Can You Use Niacinamide with Vitamin C?
After applying your niacinamide serum, apply a moisturizer to lock in its benefits and provide an additional hydration layer. This is particularly essential if you have dry or combination skin.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen (AM Skincare Routine)
While niacinamide can help protect the skin from environmental damage, it doesn’t substitute for sunscreen. Ensure you apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning, especially if you’re using skincare products that make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Many Korean sunscreens offer advanced formulas that provide high sun protection and are formulated with skin-loving ingredients.
Like all skincare ingredients, the benefits of niacinamide become most evident with consistent use. Keep it as a staple in your routine to see transformative results over time.
Incorporating niacinamide into your skincare routine can be a game-changer. By understanding its benefits and using it correctly, you’re on your way to brighter, more even-toned, and healthier skin.
The Bottom Line
The single best Korean niacinamide serum? It depends on your needs.
These niacinamide serums are excellent choices for combination, oily, acne prone skin since niacinamide targets acne, breakouts, and excessive oil production.
AXIS-Y Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum is another favorite, as it has a nourishing formula and hydrates my skin, especially when irritated.
Thanks for reading, and until next time, here’s to your good skin health!