Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3, nicotinamide or nicotinic acid amide) is a vitamin that’s used in skincare for a whole host of different benefits. It’s a super-versatile skincare ingredient that’s generally suitable for all skin types – including sensitive skin – and works well with other ingredients like peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHAs and antioxidants.
A few years ago, niacinamide wasn’t really on anyone’s skincare radar, but it’s quickly becoming a must-have ingredient in skincare routines around the world. Everyone from skincare experts, influencers and beauty brands are raving about this amazing skincare ingredient and how effective it is, so let’s take a deeper dive to learn more about niacinamide.
What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a version of vitamin B3 that dissolves in water that’s extremely versatile when used in skincare. It works to help with signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, enlarged pores and sagging skin. It also helps with hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone and a damaged or compromised skin barrier.
It’s being used to prevent acne, deal with rosacea and stop other inflammatory skin conditions too. Plus, it helps with the after-effects of congested skin like large pores. It’s a total skincare all-rounder that can be used with all skin types, all year round. As skincare ingredients go, it’s pretty inexpensive too (especially for the amount of benefits that it offers) so you won’t break the bank by adding it into your routine.
It comes in a range of different concentrations and different products, so it’s worth finding out which option will be best for your skin concerns. For example, if you have dry skin you may want to try niacinamide in a moisturizer for an extra hydration boost. Niacinamide is considered to be an active skincare ingredient.
You’ll usually see results from using niacinamide in 2-4 weeks if you use it twice a day. This does depend on how you’re using it, the concentration of niacinamide you’re using, the type of product and how severe your skin concerns are.
How Does Niacinamide Help?
Niacinamide works in a number of different ways to help the skin. It shouldn’t cause breakouts or irritation, and if it does, it may be that you’re using the wrong concentration for your skin concern.
In general, most formulations have a concentration of 5% or less but if you have sensitive skin, it’s always best to start with a lower concentration first to see how well your skin works with the product.
More seasoned skincare users will know that there are products with a concentration of 10% but the jury’s still out if these products have higher rates of efficacy.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses for niacinamide, and how it works with these particular skincare concerns.
Rebalances Skin Barrier
Niacinamide contains ceramides, which help to nourish and support the skin naturally. It works with lots of different types of skin cells to encourage ceramide and keratin production. This also boosts collagen and elastin in the skin, meaning hydration and younger looking skin.
Supports With Pigmentation Issues
Niacinamide helps to brighten dark spots (also known as hyperpigmentation) on the skin and reduces melanin production. This is why it’s used to treat sun damage, melasma, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and sun sensitivity.
Acne, Inflammation and Blemishes
Niacinamide treats blemishes and suppresses the skin’s natural inflammatory response to calm the skin and dampen down and redness. It also deals with enlarged pores, which can be caused by congestion, oily skin and acne, and works with oil production.
As well as supporting collagen and elastin production, and encouraging ceramides production, it also protects the skin from both internal and external stressors that cause damage and premature aging. Niacinamide not only protects the skin, it works to improve the appearance of signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles too. It’s been proven to help with dull or sagging skin (both of which can be caused by aging) and enlarged pores, which are more common as you get older.
Applying niacinamide has been shown to boost the hydrating ability of moisturizer, so it can help stop moisture loss. It works well with lots of different moisturizers. As it helps with collagen production, this can help skin to look plumper and more hydrated.
Textured Skin and Stretched Pores
We don’t fully understand how niacinamide works to reduce pore size, but it seems to work on the pore lining and stop clogged pores. This stops skin texture and stretched pores in their tracks, whilst higher concentrations of niacinamide can actually tighten up stretched pores.
What Types Of Products Contain Niacinamide?
Niacinamide can be found in lots of different types of products from serums, creams and moisturizers through to face masks, toners and cleansers. The best results come from using products that are left on the skin (like moisturizers, serums or eye creams) rather than in products that you wash off.
It’s more easily absorbed into the serum when it’s applied as a water-soluble serum. This allows it to be used alongside other ingredients more easily and stops any congestion that might occur from oil-based niacinamide products.
Niacinamide is also safe to use on the body if you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation or dull skin.
You can buy niacinamide on its own in some brands (without it being added to another product), though you need to be careful with what strength you use – always do a patch test if you haven’t used niacinamide before. If it’s too strong, you may experience irritation. The percentage should be clearly listed on the label and it should be clearly listed as niacinamide.
Is Niacinamide Synthetic or Naturally Derived?
Niacinamide can be synthetic or naturally derived. It’s a water-soluble version of vitamin B3 that occurs naturally.
Conclusion: Will Niacinamide Help You To Glow Up?
Although research is still ongoing into this exciting skincare ingredient, there’s no doubt that niacinamide offers serious skin-boosting benefits. Whatever your skin concern, niacinamide can help you glow up (without too much effort) when it’s used in your skincare routine. It can be used daily, morning and evening as needed.
It can make your skin more radiant, banishes acne, reduces pore size and helps with signs of aging. It’s also suitable for all ages, skin types (even sensitive skin) and is safe to use when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you want a product that’s easy to use, gentle on the skin and gives serious results, then you need niacinamide.