What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a version of water-soluble vitamin B3 (aka niacin) with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just like the benefits of vitamin B3 in a diet, the benefits of topical niacinamide are extensive and varied.
If you’re a fan of featherweight textures, you’re in luck – it doesn’t dissolve in oil so you’re more likely to find it in water-based skincare products.
Unlike AHAs/BHAs, vitamin C and vitamin A, it’s non-irritating and non-acidic. It is gentle and typically well-tolerated even on sensitive skin. Niacinamide’s long list of benefits make it a good pick for plenty of different skin types and concerns.
Benefits of Niacinamide for Skin
Niacinamide can help lower your skin’s sebum levels while also helping your skin make more ceramides. Topical application of niacinamide has been shown to boost the hydrating ability of moisturizers so skin’s surface can better resist the moisture loss that leads to recurrent dry, flaky skin.
What about if you’re acne-prone? Yep, niacinamide is good for that, too. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective treatment for skin conditions marked by inflammation like acne and rosacea.
A study published in 2013 in the International Journal of Dermatology found that a topical preparation of 4 percent niacinamide treated moderate acne as effectively as 1 percent clindamycin (topical antibiotic) when applied twice daily for 8 weeks.
Have unwanted spots? “Niacinamide inhibits the transfer of pigment to cells, improving discoloration.
A study published in 2011 found that 4 percent niacinamide is comparable to 4 percent hydroquinone (a skin-lightening agent), and within 8 weeks niacinamide showed improvement of solar elastosis in melasma skin.
If you’re stuggling to find an active product that won’t cause purging or breakouts, niacinamide is a great choice. Any skin type and age can benefit from using this star ingredient in their skincare routine.
How to use Niacinamide
The key to reaping vitamin B3s benefits comes down to choosing your product selection wisely. Most major studies used topical preparations containing 2-10 percent pure niacinamide, so look for a product in that range if you can.
» If topical vitamin C or Vitamin A (retinol) is also a part of your skincare, then niacinamide should be applied at alternate times. Ideally vitamin C or retinol in the PM and niacinamide in the AM.
» Niacinamide works brilliantly with common moisturizing ingredients, hence it can be safely used with gylcerin, non-fragrant plant oils, and sodium hyaluronate/hyaluronic acid.
» If you’re using any AHAs/BHAs in your skin-care regimen, use them at a different time of day or wait at least 30 minutes in between application
Here are a few popular skincare products that feature niacinamide as a key ingredient.
Have you tried Niacinamide? What results have you noticed?