Every so often, the skincare industry comes across an ingredient that is truly worthy of the buzz surrounding it. Many of them start out as fads, but they eventually become a routine regular for people all over the world.
Just like vitamin C and retinol, niacinamide is now known as a skincare ingredient with a long list of benefits to marvel at. If you haven’t tried it out for yourself, consider this your introduction. And if you’re not exactly sure what this ingredient is or does, we’ve got your back. Read on to learn why we love niacinamide so much -- and why you will too.
So… What Exactly is Niacinamide?
Also called niacin or nicotinamide on skincare ingredient lists, niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that offers a whole host of benefits for your body. In addition to the ones it brings to your skin -- which we’ll cover in a bit -- vitamin B3 changes the food you eat into energy for your body to use, and helps carry out internal chemical reactions as well.
As a skincare ingredient, niacinamide is a force to be reckoned with.
Its chemical makeup makes it a very stable ingredient, which means it won’t react to heat or light like your vitamin C or retinol products might. Combine that with the fact that niacinamide maintains a neutral pH, and you have a superstar ingredient that’s compatible with pretty much any skin type and any product in your routine.
Niacinamide is also water-soluble, so you’ll usually find it in water-based products. If you have oily skin, you won’t have to worry about adding any more oil into your routine.
And if that’s not enough, its skin-rejuvenating benefits put it on par with retinol. In fact, because it’s such a safe active ingredient, dermatologists will recommend niacinamide to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as a replacement for their usual retinol products.
Did we get your attention yet? If so, keep reading -- you’ll want to hear more about the benefits this special ingredient can bring to you.
Benefits of Using Niacinamide in Your Skincare Routine
It maintains skin health.
To start, niacinamide enhances the production of the proteins that are invaluable to the health of your skin: keratin, collagen, and elastin. This helps to slow down the onset of skin aging.
Additionally, this ingredient helps to maintain your skin’s moisture barrier. How? By boosting the production of ceramides and lipids, which are crucial to keeping moisture locked in. Regular application of niacinamide also boosts the effects of moisturizers, further increasing your skin’s water content.
Products containing niacinamide help reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots as well. Filling in fine lines can be partly attributed to this ingredient’s effective moisturizing qualities, but this anti-aging benefit can also be linked to increased collagen production.
Keeping your skin adequately hydrated and moisturized lays the foundation for optimal skin health. However, that only scratches the surface of what niacinamide can do.
It repairs damage from UV rays and pollution.
Niacinamide is also a potent antioxidant, so it offers major anti-aging benefits for anyone who adds it into their routine.
Niacinamide molecules neutralize free radicals with ease, and they also work to repair the damage done to the proteins in your skin. But it doesn’t stop there. This ingredient adds another layer of protection to the skin barrier it helps to improve -- a healthy moisture barrier helps keep out the external toxins that barrage your epidermis, and niacinamide works behind the scenes to repair any residual damage left behind by sunlight, pollution, and the environment.
It reduces skin inflammation and the appearance of acne.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, think of niacinamide as a trusted partner in your skincare journey.
For one, it reduces the amount of oil your sebaceous glands produce. This, in turn, reduces the size of your pores as there is now less oil and sebum lining your pore walls.
After continued use, you’ll also see an improvement in your skin texture and the amount of acne present. Additionally, because niacinamide fights free radical and pollutant damage, the irritation that these factors cause will also go down.
Now before you go ahead and start shopping for the best niacinamide product you can find, here’s how to properly add this heavy-hitter ingredient into your daily routine.
How to Add Niacinamide into Your Regimen
Because niacinamide plays well with every other skincare ingredient, it’s hard to go wrong with it. However, for best results, use it in concert with your favorite hydrating and moisturizing ingredients. This will boost its effects on your skin’s moisture barrier. Anything with hyaluronic acid, another trendy yet effective superstar ingredient, would be ideal in this situation.
To maximize this ingredient’s effects, you’ll want to choose a serum formula containing at least 5% niacinamide. Most studies have shown that a 5% concentration is more than enough to provide the benefits we mentioned earlier.
But if you have sensitive skin, make sure to choose a formulation that doesn’t go above 10% niacinamide. Beginner users may experience irritation at first, but this goes away as your skin builds a tolerance to the ingredient.
Because serums are heavily concentrated products, they’re used to treat individual skin concerns -- and they’re usually more effective than their other skincare counterparts. However, don’t doubt the power of a cleanser, moisturizer, or face mask containing niacinamide either. It’ll still lend its power to your skincare efforts, although in a more gradual, gentle way.
Although you’ll want to check with a product’s label for best usage, you can usually add your niacinamide product to a clean face after the hydrating step in your routine and before finishing up with a moisturizer.
And as usual, make sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Going without it would be the skincare equivalent of taking one step forward and five steps back. After all, it doesn’t make sense to use a product that repairs sun damage only for you to damage your skin the next time you’re out during the day.
The fact that many dermatologists have likened niacinamide’s benefits to retinol means that this ingredient is one to take seriously.
However, keep in mind that this molecule is not the cure-all to your skincare problems. Practicing consistency and keeping a well-rounded routine will make the biggest impact in your skincare journey. This, plus a general knowledge of skincare, will ensure that you see the results you want sooner than later.
Looking for a niacinamide serum that packs a punch? Our Needle-less Serum highlights niacinamide as one of its leading actors, but a look at its ingredient list reveals much more at play.
With hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and methyl glucoside phosphate proline lysine copper complex (try saying that five times fast!) to back up niacinamide, you’re looking at a powerful serum with huge hydrating and moisturizing benefits.
If you have any questions on how best to incorporate the Needle-less Serum or any other niacinamide product into your routine, ask our team of skincare experts today!
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2004, Volume 3, Issue 2, pages 88-93
International Journal of Dermatology, August 2013, Volume 52, Issue 8, pages 999-1004The New England Journal of Medicine, October 2015, Volume 373, pages 1618-1626