What Happens if You Use Too Much Niacinamide on Your Skin

Megan Dominion

Niacinamide can be an amazing ingredient to include in a skincare routine. It is often used as an ingredient in skin care products because of its myriad of benefits for the skin, including the ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, and even out skin tone. When used in proper amounts, niacinamide is generally safe and can be beneficial for the skin. However, using too much can be irritating, or if introduced too quickly can result in purging.

How much niacinamide is too much?

For the average skin, it is generally recommended to use a concentration of between 2 and 5% topical niacinamide to get the most benefits from this ingredient for skincare. Some products go up to 10%, however this levl of concentration is much more likely to cause skin irritation. We do not recommend exceeding 10% niacinamide for any over-the-counter skincare product. Higher concentrations may be available through prescription medications that you may have discussed with your dermatologist.

Skin Irritation from too much Niacinamide

It’s very likely to find niacinamide within many skincare products these days. Niacinamide can also be purchased in serums to give your skin an added boost of this powerful ingredient. Introducing a new product that contains a high amount of niacinamide should be done so slowly in case of any adverse reactions.

If your skin starts to feel a bit tight, or shows irritation or redness, this could be due to using too much niacinamide. It is important to use the recommended amount of topical niacinamide as indicated on the product packaging, as using more than what is recommended can cause adverse reactions. Additionally, introducing niacinamide too quickly can also cause irritation.

It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to niacinamide, especially if your skin is sensitive. Symptoms of a reaction may include itching, redness, swelling, and burning sensations.

If you experience any of these reactions, you should stop using the product immediately and consult your doctor about a different treatment option.

Girl covering face with hands

Skin Purging from too much Niacinamide

Skin purging is the result of an active ingredient, such as niacinamide, causing an increase in cell turnover, and resulting in gunk under your skin rising to the surface. It is when your skin reacts to the product by releasing the impacted layer of build-up faster than it takes for a new layer to form. The result is breakouts.

Using large amounts of niacinamide can indeed cause skin purging. This can result in the appearance of whiteheads, blackheads, and other blemishes. To minimize any skin purging effects, it is best to start with a low concentration of niacinamide and gradually increase usage until you reach the recommended amount.

How long does niacinamide purging last?

The length of time that skin purging will last depends on the person and the skin condition they are treating. Generally, skin purging due to niacinamide can last between 2-6 weeks. During this time, it is important to use additional skincare products to reduce redness and soothe your skin, such as gentle cleansers, serums, and moisturizers with soothing ingredients like aloe vera. Here are our top ingredients to pair with niacinamide.

What about the use of Niacinamide underneath Slugging?

Using niacinamide as part of a slugging routine could be absolutely fine if it’s quite a low dose of niacinamide, but higher doses is not gnereally recommended. While niacinamide can help to improve the overall health of your skin, it can also be irritating to those with sensitive skin, so you don’t want to be trapping an ingredient that can cause irritation underneath a layer of occlusive. In addition, niacinamide can increase the risk of inflammation and skin purging. To reduce this risk, consider using gentle cleansers and moisturizers that are designed for slugging.

Related: Can Face Slugging Make you Break Out?

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.