Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 (Niacin). It has gained popularity as an ‘all-round’ ingredient in skincare for its versatility in terms of providing a wide range of benefits as well as suitability for all skin types.
Benefits of Using Niacinamide in Your Skincare Routine
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For Acne-prone/ Oily skin
Niacinamide regulates the skin’s oil production and also has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an ideal treatment for people who have oily skin or acne.
Studies say that nicotinamide is almost as good as clindamycin in treating acne. The best part? P.Acne, the bacteria causing acne, doesn’t ever grow resistant to niacinamide.
For Dry skin
Niacinamide increases the level of ceramide production, restoring the skin barrier and locking in moisture. This makes it a great choice for dry skin.
For hyperpigmentation/Dark spots
Niacinamide also helps to lighten dark spots and even out skin tone.
This is because it prevents pigment transfer to the outer layers of the skin.
[In specific, it inhibits the transfer of the skin pigment contained in melanosomes from melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin) to the keratinocytes (the predominant cell type in the outer most layer of the skin) of the epidermis.]
It also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, due to its effect on collagen production as well as anti-oxidant properties.
Protects against oxidative stress
It’s a great anti-oxidant! Hence it neutralizes free radicals damage due to sunlight, pollution, and the environment.
Niacinamide is safe to use in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is a valuable alternative to retinol which cannot be prescribed during these times.
It’s a stable ingredient and won’t react to heat or light like vitamin C or retinol.
It is compatible with pretty much any skin type and most products in your routine.
Who can apply Niacinamide?
EVERYBODY! All skin types can use niacinamide, which is why it’s an all-round ingredient.
In normal concentrations, it is well-tolerated by any skin types. In fact, it is even suitable for those who have sensitive or rosacea-prone skin
In rosacea prone patients, applying a facial moisturizer with niacinamide has shown to improve skin barrier function and relieve symptoms.
Would it react with other products?
Niacinamide is compatible with most products in your routine. Because it plays well other skincare ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong with it. The likelihood of irritation or effects cancelling out is minimal.*
Hence, it may be used along with other skincare ingredients like vitamin C and retinol.
In fact, It has anti-inflammatory potential and boosts ceramide production, thus reducing the likelihood or irritation other stronger ingredients like retinol.
* Exceptions to this are frankly acidic ingredients like glycolic, salicylic or lactic acid. On mixing niacinamide with any of these or layering one straight on top of the other, the acids would become less potent (since acids typically have a pH between 3.0 and 4.0, while niacinamide is around 5.0 to 7.0).
In what form and what concentration should it be used?
Niacinamide could be present in serums or creams. However, a serum formulation would maximise its effects. This is because the vitamin is water soluble and would most effectively absorb into skin in a serum.
Most studies have shown that a concentration of 5-10% is more than enough to provide the benefits discussed above.
Where does it fit in my skincare routine?
If you are adding a niacinamide treatment into your routine, use it after cleansing, toning, and any exfoliants (so as to clear away any residual dirt or impurities) and before your moisturizer or sunscreen.
What are some good skin care products that contain Niacinamide?
(No conflicts of interest here!), but here are of my picks:
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (for oily skin)
Niacinamide is so gentle, everyone can use it safely – under most conditions. Just make sure that the concentration of Niacinamide is between 5-10%. Concentrations higher than that could cause irritation.
All in all, Niacinamide is great ingredient to incorporate in your basic skincare regime.