Is B5 Niacinamide? See The Differences and Uses of the Skincare Vitamins

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Is B5 niacinamide? No, it isn’t. The first difference you should know is that B5 is pantothenic acid and niacinamide is vitamin B3.

If vitamin B serums are the next big thing on your skincare list, you should know the differences between each of them. Also, you should know the peculiarities that make one distinct from the other.

They probably seem alike to you because they are two of the most common vitamin B used in topical skincare. They should not be mistaken and misplaced. All your skincare efforts will go to waste if you use your products inappropriately.

Follow me closely and you’ll see more differences between vitamin B5 and niacinamide.

Is B5 the Same as Niacinamide?

Both vitamins share the general antioxidant properties of vitamin B. However, niacinamide is an antibacterial vitamin while B5 is a hydrating vitamin. And they both work to improve the appearance of your skin.

“Vitamin B3 reduces inflammation, signs of aging like fine wrinkles and blemishes, and improves the function of the skin’s barrier. Vitamin B5 is a humectant that keeps skin moisturized”, says Dr. Gerard Ee.

The similarity between them is that they are common ingredients of anti-aging skin care products like anti-aging serums.  

What is B5?

Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, is a type of vitamin B. So, this makes it a water-soluble vitamin. It is an essential vitamin that the human body cannot synthesize. So, it is sourced in foods and skincare products.

Your body needs vitamin B5 to synthesize other nutrients your body depends on for overall health and development. These nutrients include fatty acids, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Dietary sources of vitamin B5 include legumes, pork, meat, veggies, cereals, and eggs among many others. These foods are vital if you’ll maintain plump, hydrated, and youthful skin.  

What is Niacinamide?

Vitamin B3, niacin, is also a type of vitamin B that is essential for a healthy life. Niacinamide is the already converted niacin. It is the preferred form of vitamin B3 because it is milder.

This is why serums rather incorporate niacinamide. Niacin’s toxicity can lead to skin reactions like redness and itching. Dietary sources of niacin are dairy foods, eggs, seeds, nuts, avocados, and liver.

Your skin needs B3 to protect you from the oxidative stress of environmental stressors. This oxidation can lead to the formation of free radicals in your skin.  

B5 vs Niacinamide

1. The skin type compatibility

Both vitamins work perfectly for every skin type. Vitamin B5 is especially targeted at dry skin which relishes its hydrating benefits. On the other hand, niacinamide is best for people with sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin.

B5 plumps dry skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles restoring youthfulness and elasticity. B3 soothes irritated skin and minimizes pores’ appearance, regulating sebum production. Consequently, you can have less frequent acne breakouts.

2. Functions

While they both function as antioxidants and reverse the symptoms of premature aging, each vitamin has its specific line of action.

B5 is a humectant that traps moisture in your skin and keeps it moist, softened, and supple. It works to fill up the gaps between dry cells and restore skin elasticity.

Niacinamide (B3) is good for treating skin conditions like rosacea, acne, skin inflammations, and hyperpigmentation.

Furthermore, B5 stimulates hormones that are necessary for the wound-healing process. The antibacterial property of niacinamide is essential for protecting and strengthening your skin’s natural lipid barrier and its functions.

With B3 in your skincare products, you’ll benefit from a rebuild of healthy skin cells and a protective barrier against environmental damage from aggressors like UV rays.

While B3 blocks out these aggressors, it locks water and oil in, keeping your skin moisturized against skin breakouts. Vitamin B5 fortifies your skin cells with nutrients that rejuvenate and revive skin cells, stopping aging even before it starts.

3. How to use

B5 and niacinamide (B3) are best used in serums. However, there are specifics with how and with what you combine them for your skincare routine.

If you have retinol in your skincare routine, you surely need B3. On first contact with your skin, retinol causes your skin to flare up. During these days of acclimatization, you can use niacinamide to soothe the flares and avoid worse cases.

On the other hand, B5 usually combines with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid to deliver maximum hydration. And both vitamins are key players with vitamin C. They are antioxidants that work together to protect and improve the appearance of your skin.

Can You Use B5 and Niacinamide Together?

Yes, you can. Niacinamide and B5 combine with hyaluronic acid to make a great treatment for dull, sensitive skin. They are soothing vitamins that also work together to tackle the aging process.  

Moreover, B5 and B3 are not light-sensitive vitamins. So, you can use them every day in both your morning and night skincare routines.

They are mostly found together in serums. When you use these serums, they should come after cleansing or toning but before a moisturizer, face oils, and sunscreen.

Downsides of Using B5 and Niacinamide

Vitamin B is a very stable class of vitamins. You can safely use B5 and niacinamide every day without fear of interaction with the elements.

Additionally, every skin type can benefit from using any of these two vitamins. If you experience skin irritations with any of them, you need to look at the supporting ingredients in the formula.


Is niacinamide better than B5?

As two different vitamins, it does not suggest superiority. These vitamins are both potent forms of vitamin B. Moreover, they are active ingredients found in skincare products.

Their efficiency depends on the additives in the skincare products. Each vitamin has its benefits and uses. When used accordingly, you will get gratifying results.

Can you apply B5 and niacinamide topically to your skin?

Yes, you can. Skin experts advise that you use these vitamins topically to address skin concerns. Use them twice a day and consistently to treat skin issues.

They work well with every skin type. That is to say, you are least likely to experience any skin irritations as you use them.

What does B5 serum do for your skin?

B5 serum hydrates your skin and protects against water loss that can lead to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Also, it provides extra moisture promoting skin elasticity.

It combines with hyaluronic acid in anti-aging serums to keep your skin soft and smooth with an improved texture.

Should you use niacinamide serum?

Yes, you should. Niacinamide serum is good for sensitive and acne-prone skin. It helps to lighten acne scars and discolorations from hyperpigmentation.

In addition, it works well for your anti-aging routine and helps to soothe sensitive skin and its irritations.


There are eight types of vitamin B. Of these eight, only about four have found topical use in skincare. Among them are B5, and niacin (B3) which commonly occurs as niacinamide. And these two are commonly mistaken.

Although they have similarities, there are differences. B5 is a major skin hydrator while B3 is known for its antibacterial and protective properties. However, they are key players in your anti-aging skincare routine.

Additionally, the best approach to a correct skincare routine begins with identifying each compound or product.

In the same vein, you’ll only get the best of B5 and niacinamide when you can tell them apart and use them appropriately.

Finally, daily topical use of these vitamins will result in great skin results. It may take several weeks before you see significant changes. But if you are patient, you’ll be saying hello to better skin days.

Thanks for reading.

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