Unless you’re the anti-social media type (not to say there’s anything wrong with that), you’ve probably seen or heard skincare enthusiasts rave about the wonders of niacinamide. Your skincare-obsessed BFF has perhaps been going on about it for weeks. And that’s for a reason. The skincare superstar is the queen she thinks she is!
A derivative of vitamin B3, the go-to ingredient is the very definition of a multitasker – it soothes and calms inflammation, regulates sebum production, lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, evens the complexion, and boosts collagen synthesis – phew! It’s the ingredient every skin type needs.
But how do you incorporate it into your routine? Can you use it alongside vitamin C or retinol? And what are some of the expert-approved niacinamide-infused products on the market?
If you’re only vaguely aware of what niacinamide is and how it can amp up your routine, allow us to give a complete lowdown on the wonders of B3.
Properties Featured: Brightening compounds.
Primary Benefits: Battles hyperpigmentation, brightens the skin, manages inflammation, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Perfect For: Individuals looking to brighten their money maker or fight signs of aging and acne.
Not Suitable For: Anyone with underlying skin conditions should consult a dermatologist first.
How Often Can You Use It: In your morning and evening routines.
Works Well With: When using niacinamide, combining it with other stable and potent antioxidants such as green tea, quercetin or tocopherol is best. It also works perfectly with hyaluronic acid and retinol (it helps ease retinoid-related irritation). It also works magic when paired with salicylic acid.
Shouldn’t Be Used With: The skincare elixir works well with practically everything. However, the one ingredient where the jury is still sipping Margaritas is vitamin C. Some experts suggest vitamin C can inactivate niacinamide, but no published studies have confirmed this.
What Is Niacinamide?
This is about to sound like an episode of Dexter’s laboratory. But, when talking about skin-loving niacinamide, we’re referring to a specific form of vitamin B3 (an amide) known as nicotinamide (also referred to as niacinamide).
Nicotinamide is basically an essential water-soluble vitamin that’s not synthesized in the body, meaning you have to consume foods such as anchovies and tuna to reap its benefits. Additionally, the vitamin is incorporated into skincare products like cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and toners.
Therefore, if you want to enjoy the skin-brightening benefits of nicotinamide, you should invest in a niacinamide-infused product. These formulas will help calm, even skin tone, lock in moisture, and protect against environmental damage. More on that below.
Perks Of Using Niacinamide
Buckle up because this is a loaded (product-wise) list:
Acts As A Skin-Soothing Powerhouse: The skincare elixir contains anti-inflammatory agents that enhance the skin’s barrier function and soothe the skin, making it excellent at calming rosacea, eczema, or keratosis pilaris (sensitive skin types). It also acts as an antioxidant, meaning it protects your skin from environmental stressors that can trigger irritation.
Tackles Acne Like A Bawse: Wait, an ingredient that’s gentle enough for sensitive skin yet strong enough to nix acne and dark spots? Yap. Studies show that vitamin B3 contains compounds that are effective at treating breakouts when applied thrice a week for eight weeks.
Plus, it’s also thought to reduce sebum production, which, in turn, can help prevent blackheads and diminish shine.
Brightens The Skin: Vitamin B3 evens out skin tone and combats hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the transfer of pigments from pigment-producing melanocytes to the skin cells on the surface where dark spots are visible.
Works As A Skin-Plumping Elixir: Quick bio lesson – ceramides are fatty molecules that work harmoniously to strengthen the skin barrier and restore cellular energy, keeping it plump, smooth, and moisturized. Niacinamide (cue in Marvel’s opening theme) works tirelessly to help your skin produce more ceramides, leading to healthy-looking and radiant skin.
How To Use Niacinamide In Your Skincare Routine
The best way to try a new ingredient depends on the type of products you’re currently using in your routine. Since vitamin B3 is a mild-active element, swapping your go-to day/nighttime serum or moisturizer for one formulated with niacinamide is an excellent place to start.
And to avoid irritation, be sure to do a patch test and start slow (at least twice a week), then increase usage over time. Also, when incorporated into your morning routine, be sure to layer on SPF for proper UVA and UVB protection.
What Are The Side Effects Of Using Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a potent ingredient that hydrates and brightens dull, dark spot-riddled skin. However, when used in high concentrations, the elements can trigger skin irritation. So, derms recommend using low concentrations (1-2%) of vitamin B3 in a cleanser, moisturizer, or serum.
What Is Better? Vitamin C Or Niacinamide?
Vitamin C and niacinamide work similarly, but they have tiny differences in benefits. When used mildly, vitamin C is better for brightening and evening out skin tone than niacinamide. On the other hand, niacinamide keeps your skin deeply hydrated.
FYI: some experts claim vitamin C can inactivate vitamin B3, but there is no hard evidence yet. But, to be safe, when using two different serums with niacinamide and vitamin C, wait 15 minutes between applications or save one for your nighttime routine and the other for the AM.
Products that contain both ingredients are likely specially formulated to work together, so don’t get alarmed.
Can You Use Retinol And Niacinamide Together?
Yes! In fact, estheticians recommend using both ingredients to achieve quicker results. Vitamin B3 calms the skin and helps combat the adverse effects and irritation triggered by retinol wrinkle-fighting magic.
Expert-Approved Niacinamide-Infused Product Recommendations
Now let’s explore some of the best niacinamide products on the market:
When you find pimples and dark spots lurking around every corner, breathe and then pick up this Versed serum. Thanks to the potent combination of exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids and niacinamide, the product helps eradicate troubling worry lines and soothe stressed skin.
And with a parabens-free, sulfates-free, and vegan-friendly formula, what else would you want?
When you’re hungover, sleep-ridden, or just filled with anxiety and your skin is paying the price, grab this dark spots-nixing serum. It is loaded with vitamin C, salicylic acid, and niacinamide to brighten, hydrate, and de-puff your tired skin.
A silky-smooth anti-stress serum that corrects and reduces visible signs of dullness, flare-ups, and worry lines? We’re sold.
The celeb-approved (Chrissy Teigen loves it) product contains superfoods that strengthen your natural barrier to give you pollution-, blue light-, and debris-resistant skin.
It doesn’t matter your age. Hormones always have a part to play; pesky spots and blemishes keep creeping up. Luckily, just a few pumps of this miracle-working serum instantly hydrates and plumps the skin for that glassy glow that rivals any highlighter.
FYI, it’ll even reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with continued use.
Looking to achieve pillow-soft skin? This serum is all you need. Rich but lightweight, the formula is loaded with a cocktail of skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin B5, and C, plus green tea extract that allows for a dewy, brighter, and super-hydrated complexion.
Battling breakouts? Reach for this skin treatment. It contains the power of zinc and niacinamide to target sebum production and textural irregularities, plus minimize the appearance of fine lines and pores. It’s also a non-comedogenic option that works perfectly for acne-prone and combination skin types. And at only $12, the formula is tough to beat.
To Use: Dab a pea-sized amount all over your face morning and evening before slathering heavy creams and moisturizers.
This PM powerhouse has been lauded for calming and protecting sensitive skin types prone to breakouts and discoloration associated with acne. It also comes with zinc oxide for ample sun protection, and both niacinamide and antioxidants allow for a very lightweight and silky layer of hydration.
Yes, it’s expensive, but it tackles those age and dark spots like a champ. The vitamin B3 works synergistically with Tranexamic acid (a world-class skin brightening element) and marine extract blend to enhance skin texture, improve hydration, and promote even-looking skin.
To Use: Apply one pump twice every morning and evening after cleansing and toning your skin.
If you’ve been struggling with hyperpigmentation triggered by UV rays, residue from injuries such as inflammatory acne, and age, you need to reach out for this corrector.
It gives your face that glowy, refreshed, and well-rested look thanks to (duh) niacinamide, plus antioxidant-packed golden kiwifruit and skin-tone-brightening licorice root.
The face serum is perfect for nipping fine lines and wrinkles in the bud. It combines the power of retinaldehyde (the most potent retinoid) and niacinamide to boost cell turnover and stimulate collagen synthesis to plump lines and smooth complexion.