Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

NIA24 and how it got Michelle Williams to fall for its sunscreen

June 10, 2011 Reviewed by Marta 4 Comments
Actress Michelle Williams was recently reported as saying that NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 ($45) is “the best I’ve ever tried.” Given what a dull product NIA24’s sunscreen is, I was surprised at the accolade and wondered if I could smell a rat. It turns out my nose was more reliable – and literal – than I realized.

NIA24 is best known for its use of niacin, a form of vitamin B, which it couples with myristyl nicotinate as the delivery system for slow release. Although the delivery system is in NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, the niacin doesn’t appear to be. When I started to look at what is here, I found that there is a lot of fragrance. But rather than coming up smelling of roses, there is a whiff of sex.

But before we get to the sex part (I know, I’m a tease), I should mention that there are a few mysterious ingredients here – and the one thing I don’t like about something I put on my face is not knowing what it is. And, as you’d expect, I feel some level of responsibility for Michelle Williams’ face as well.

I spent ages trying to track down a UV absorber called benzotriazolyl dodecyl p-cresol, about which very little information seems to exist. And there’s another NIA24 product that I can’t get to the bottom of: 1,5,5,9-Tetramethyl-13-Oxatricyclotridecane. The only thing I can tell you about it with any certainty is that it turns up in a lot of NIA24 products. My best guess is that it is a chemical fragrance and this isn’t the first time that a NIA24 product has had me chasing around for something that turned out to be a perfume (see my review of NIA24 Physical Cleansing Scrub).

Now the thing about about NIA24 is that fragrance seems to play a big role. There are several chemical fragrances here and whatever smell they impart are being boosted by maltol, a flavor enhancer that may increase aluminum absorption by the body. Which is not a welcome attribute since there is Aluminum Hydroxide here.

The most interesting thing about NIA24’s sunscreen is that it has nutmeg extract. Studies on male rats have demonstrated its aphrodisiac effects. More usefully (although that might depend on your take on aphrodisiacs), it is an antioxidant. And, I have just discovered, nutmeg is an anti-depressant.

Perhaps that’s why Michelle Williams feels so good about a sunscreen that is mostly a bunch of different silicones and mediocre emollients. Now on the subject of aphrodisiacs, I couldn’t help but notice that pentadecalactone is in NIA24’s sunscreen. This is one of the key phermones produced by the apocrine glands of the male armpit, and is credited with attracting females.

So that’s how a very non-descript sunscreen became a celebrity pick. Sex, as they say, sells.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide – 9.45%, Zinc Oxide – 3.6%.

Inactive Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Water (Aqua, Eau), Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Myristyl Nicotinate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Stearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Kernel Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Methicone, Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl p-Cresol, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Bisabolol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, 1,5,5,9-Tetramethyl-13-Oxatricyclotridecane, Maltol, Pentadecalactone, Dimethiconol, Polysilicone-11, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool
  • August 6, 2011

    by Shani

    I'm a couple of months late to this post but I want to add a belated Thank You to Marta for this fascinating information. I used Nia24 products a couple of years ago (before I found TIA)and their mineral sunscreen was the least whitening/greasy physical sunscreen I had found. I noticed that I had to keep Nia24 products far away from my eyes, because their highly potent perfumes are extremely irritating. I had purchased Nia24 after reading their claim (from "Many customers feel that fragrance, color and dye additives are unnecessary ingredients and can irritate the skin. Thus, the NIA24® products do not contain added colors, fragrances or dyes." What bothers me particularly about the jasminey scent in the Nia24 products is that it can't even claim to be used just for "masking" the odor of the actives. All the scent chemicals in Nia24 are some of the most widely used in the fragrance industry. The Mineral Sunscreen alone contains the following: Citronellol (rose/geranium), Eugenol (nutmeg), Geraniol(lemon grass), Isoeugenol(ylang ylang), Limonene(orange), and Linalool(basil, rosewood,cinnamon etc.). Pentadecalactone is a synthetic agent used in perfumery for a "musk" scent,but I have not found any data supporting why it would be helpful to skin in sunscreen. I haven't learned of uses for these agents other than fragrance (and bug repellant), which definitely does not mean that no uses exist, but I would like to know what they are if I'm going to use a product on my skin. I wrote to Nia24 several times asking about the function of these ingredients (since they're not supposed to be "unnecessary" or "added"), but I've never received a reply from them. It puzzles me that they intentionally mention their lack of using fragrances, etc. but won't explain why they certainly do use fragrances...

  • June 12, 2011

    by Steph Callum

    The link works just fine when I click on it.

    Here's the text though:

    myristyl nicotinate

    A derivative of nicotinic acid, a component of vitamin B3 (niacin) that isn’t the same ingredient as niacinamide, yet functions in nearly the same manner (Source: There is research concerning myristyl nicotinate’s ability to improve skin barrier function, mitigate signs of sun damage, and reduce the incidence of atopic dermatitis, commonly known as dry skin. What’s more, it is compatible with several prescription drugs used to treat various skin conditions and is believed to enhance their efficacy and/or minimize side effects. Myristyl nicotinate is stabilized to prevent the release of (or quick conversion to) nicotinic acid, which can cause facial flushing, particularly in those dealing with rosacea. (Sources: Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, February 2007, pages 893-899; Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, November 2007, pages 1,176-1182; Experimental Dermatology, November 2007, pages 927-935; and June 2007, pages 490-499). The benefits attributed to myristyl nicotinate are the same as those for niacinamide, which makes sense given their close relation.

  • June 11, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Steph, unfortunately your link goes to a page that "no longer exists". However, here is a reference in pubmed saying "myristyl nicotinate is an ester prodrug under development for delivery of nicotinic acid to skin", but perhaps I am not correctly understanding the term "delivery" and, if so, I stand corrected .

  • June 10, 2011

    by Steph Callum

    myristyl nicotinate is not a "delivery system", it is a component of of niacin with similar functions. Source:

    How you can call this a "dull product" is beyond me other than it shows you truly don't understand what you're looking at.

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More