Its name may seem confusing and intimidating, but niacinamide is actually a very easy skincare ingredient to use and understand. It has a whole host of benefits too — which is why it has earned its reputation as a genuine skincare powerhouse. In fact, everyone can benefit from adding this vitamin B derivative into their regimen.
What is niacinamide? What forms does it come in?
Niacinamide is the biologically active form of vitamin B3 — which is also called niacin or nicotinic acid — and it’s the safest, most universally-suitable form of vitamin B3 that’s used in skincare. And despite its name sounding a bit like a chemical, niacinamide is actually a water-soluble vitamin that’s naturally found in food. It’s used in a wide range of skincare products — from serums to sunscreen — and works best when applied in a leave-on product, versus a cleanser.
What makes niacinamide such a powerful ingredient?
Niacinamide is a great multi-tasker. Not only is it a powerful antiaging ingredient, it repairs and protects skin while also acting as an anti-inflammatory.
As an antiaging ingredient, niacinamide works to diminish fine lines by making our skin firmer and improving its elasticity. Our skin’s barrier function decreases as we get older, which means that our skin loses moisture more quickly. This is also our first line of defense against UV rays and environmental pollution. Niacinamide works on a cellular level to repair and strengthen our skin barrier by increasing the number of ceramides in the skin. The result is stronger skin that loses less moisture.
Niacinamide is also very effective at improving the texture and tone of our skin. It’s hydrating; it brightens dull skin; it helps with dark spots, aka hyperpigmentation; it works with the natural substances in our skin to reduce pore size; and it’s a soothing anti-inflammatory. For those with un-even skin, niacinamide could well be the answer.
And, as we mentioned, this vitamin derivative also has anti-inflammatory abilities, which makes it a great ingredient for those with acne or redness-prone skin, because it calms raw, red skin. Those who are acne prone or have oily skin can also benefit niacinamide: it helps to regulate sebum production too!
Who benefits from having niacinamide in their skincare regime?
Everyone! Niacinamide is suitable for, and will benefit, all ages and skin types. It can be used morning or night, is calming to the skin, and is stable to heat and light. Niacinamide is also completely safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you have sensitive skin, niacinamide can be a great first step before progressing onto retinoids, as it helps increase your skin’s tolerance to them.
There’s a popular myth that you can’t use niacinamide in conjunction with vitamin C as they cancel each other out but this has been scientifically disproven. The myth is based on an outdated study involving un-stabilized forms of the two vitamins, as well as unrealistic pH and heat levels. Niacinamide can, in fact, work well with vitamin C and the wonders of modern cosmetic chemistry has allowed them to be combined compatibly.