What does niacinamide do for your skin?
Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of Vitamin B3, and it has a whole host of skin benefits: it helps to build keratin (a protein key to skin health), strengthens your lipid barrier making it easier for your skin to retain moisture, and helps to regulate oil production.
Niacinamide also prevents stress to the skin from environmental stressors such as pollution and UV rays, and it effectively treats hyperpigmentation by boosting collagen production. It’s a gentle ingredient that effectively treats inflammation, redness, and blotchiness as well as improving skin texture, making it an ideal ingredient in many beauty products and acne treatments.
Niacinamide has even been shown to reduce inflammation caused by acne and rosacea. Many studies have also confirmed that niacinamide in a concentration of up to 5% can be as effective in treating acne as traditional topical antibiotic Clindamycin.
In short, niacinamide's benefits include:
- Keeping the skin moisturized
- Helping with fine lines and wrinkles
- Fading hyperpigmentation
- Regulating sebum production
- Reducing acne and inflammation
- Minimizing pores
Which skin type is niacinamide best for?
Niacinamide is a great ingredient for many different skin types. It strengthens the skin’s lipid barrier, helping it retain moisture, which is beneficial to anyone with mature skin or who struggles with dry skin. Niacinamide is also great for those with acne-prone or oily skin as it helps to manage excessive sebum production, and it can even help treat acne and improve skin texture.
Those out there with sensitive skin will be delighted to find that niacinamide is an ideal ingredient for them as it is very gentle and helps to combat irritation and redness. This is ideal for all sensitive souls out there who want the benefits of stronger products such as vitamin c and retinol but react negatively to them.
Can I use niacinamide every day?
In a nutshell - yes, you can absolutely use niacinamide every day. Even in relatively high concentrations of 4 or 5%, niacinamide is a very gentle ingredient and is often used as an alternative topical treatment for skin concerns for people with sensitive skin.
Though some of its more potent effects such as reducing hyperpigmentation become less noticeable over time, niacinamide continues to improve the condition and texture of your skin continuously and is tolerated well by all skin types. You can even use multiple products containing niacinamide as part of your daily routine.
Does niacinamide lighten skin?
Niacinamide does not lighten the skin tone overall, but split-face studies have shown it does help to treat spots of hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure or acne scarring in caucasian women. It was also shown to have fewer negative side effects in treating this skin issue than traditional ingredient hydroquinone.
A reduction in hyperpigmentation will become apparent after about a month of using niacinamide and will continue to be noticeable up until about two months.
Can niacinamide cause purging or acne?
Niacinamide will not cause purging or acne. Purging is an increased breakout in your usual problem areas caused by the introduction of a new product that increases cell turnover. Niacinamide increases collagen production and improves the strength of existing cells, but it does not boost cell turnover and therefore will not cause purging. If you experience a breakout after adding a niacinamide-containing product to your beauty regime, this will either be due to another ingredient or general irritation.
Using a product with too high a concentration of niacinamide can cause breakouts due to irritation, however. A concentration of around 4-5% niacinamide has been shown to have the most benefits but some serums include a concentration of up to 10%, which is simply too strong.
Purging breakouts will occur in the areas where you usually experience acne and will clear up quickly with continued use of the new product, while breakouts caused by irritation can occur anywhere and will not be improved by continued use of the product.
Can I use niacinamide with...
Yes, you can use niacinamide with retinol. These two products are frequently combined. Using niacinamide in combination with retinol will not reduce the effect of retinol and if applied underneath retinol it will actually protect you from the negative side effects of retinol such as dryness and irritation.
You can use niacinamide with Vitamin C, but you need to be careful. Both niacinamide and Vitamin C are skin brightening ingredients that help reduce the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It’s a common myth that they can’t be used together, but the research that the myth is based on is over 40 years old. Using them together doesn’t cancel them out, and you can reap the benefits of both ingredients!
However, the combination can cause flushing for those with more sensitive skin types. If this is something that concerns you, then you might be better off alternating your niacinamide and Vitamin C products from day to day.
AHA/Glycolic or Lactic Acid
You can use niacinamide with an AHA, however you need to wait 30 minutes between applications. Layering niacinamide with an AHA topical acid will raise the pH of the acid, making it harder for the skin to absorb and reducing its positive effects. Combining these ingredients can also result in flushing which, although harmless, can take a couple of hours to subside - not ideal when you need to leave for work in twenty minutes. You can solve this problem by leaving at least 30 minutes between applying niacinamide and your chosen acid product, or by applying them on alternating nights.
Yes, you can use niacinamide with BHA. Niacinamide and salicylic acid are great together as they both target similar issues. This combination can be a particularly effective treatment against enlarged pores, which are caused by poor skin elasticity, excess sebum production, and low collagen production - all of which are targeted by both salicylic acid and niacinamide.
The Best Niacinamide Products
Youth To The People
Yerba Mate Resurfacing + Exfoliating Energy Facial with Enzymes + Niacinamide
A double-action microdermabrasion treatment containing papaya pineapple smoiths skin with sustainable exfoliants bamboo and earth - it also leaves your skin refreshed and revitalised with yerba mate and quayusa, both strongly caffeinated plant extracts.
Combined with hyaluronic acid to soothe and hydrate your skin, this daily niacinamide serum from Inkey will improve the appearance of problem skin by helping to reduce redness and sebum production.
Formulated with at least 90% natural ingredients, Drunk Elephant products are already onto a winner - and this thirst-quenching night balm works wonders at plumping up your skin overnight with its blend of skin-barrier enhancing ingredients including niacinamide, omega fatty acids and antioxidants.
Founded by skincare fanatics with over two decades of experience, Glow Recipe demystifies the secrets of Korean beauty. This Dew Drops recipe provides the glow of makeup highlighter with the goodness of skin-loving ingredients to help your skin get a glow that comes from the inside, not just the surface.
This product is a little different, offering one of the most direct ways to apply a topical treatment; niacinamide powder allows you to use it as a spot treatment or all over, and also enables you to mix this treatment in with other products as niacinamide is water soluble and will dissolve in products like serums and creams. You can mix it with any water based product with a PH between 5.1 and 7.
A luxurious eye cream reducing the effects of stress on the delicate skin around your eyes, containing superfood extracts and niacinamide to brighten and smooth while preventing aging.
This sebum-balancing, congestion-reducing serum is rich in niacinamide and is the perfect love potion for problem skin, particularly oily, simultaneously decongesting pores and promoting skin immunity.