Niacinamide in skin care is so popular because it can address so many of your skin concerns, whether it be pigmentation or fine lines. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of adding it to your routine.
In the past we’ve discussed vitamin B as a skin care ingredient, but we get so many questions from our readers about vitamin B3 – that’d be niacinamide – specifically, that we thought it’d be helpful to give you a full rundown of the ingredient. From what niacinamide’s primary skin benefits are to which ingredients you can mix with it to how often you can apply it, we’re covering it all.
What Niacinamide Is and How it Benefits Your Skin
“Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that’s also referred to as nicotinamide. It is an essential nutrient not only for digestive and nervous systems, but also for skin — our body’s largest organ,” says Inna Knyazevych, the lead esthetician and co-owner of IN-GLO Med Spa in New York City. “Niacinamide stands out as one of the most popular skin care ingredients because of its versatility. It helps to improve uneven skin tone, minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores, and can even help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.”
The benefits don’t stop there. Niacinamide is an anti-inflammatory that can help fight cellular damage caused by free radicals and sun damage. As a result, the skin’s barrier is improved for a healthier, brighter complexion.
“Additionally, niacinamide can stimulate ceramide production, which helps our skin stay moisturized,” says Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, a dually board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Mudgil Dermatology in New York City. Talk about a powerful ingredient!
Skin Types That Benefit Most from Niacinamide
All skin types can benefit from incorporating niacinamide into their skin care regimen, but some may find it especially helpful. For example, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, niacinamide is an excellent ingredient for those with acne and rosacea, says Dr. Mudgil. When used regularly, it can help reduce inflammation and redness, and also helps soothe, protect, and bolster the skin’s barrier to prevent future flare-ups.
As for skin types it doesn’t work well with, Mudgil adds, “It’s possible one may be allergic or get irritated from niacinamide, though this is rare. Like all products, it’s best to introduce it by applying it to a small test area before more widespread use.”
Does Niacinamide Play Well With Others?
You may have heard that niacinamide becomes ineffective when combined with vitamin C, however, this isn’t so (for a deep dive on the topic, click here). You can also feel free to mix niacinamide with acids like AHAs and BHAs.
And of course, both Dr. Mudgil and Knyazevych recommend combining niacinamide with moisturizing and nourishing ingredients such as ceramides, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and plant-based oils.
How to Use Niacinamide Products
Niacinamide is most effective when used in a leave-on formulation, which is why you’ll often see it in serums, toners, essences, and moisturizers versus wash-off cleansers or masks (though you can find it in the Mediheal W.H.P Brightening & Hydrating Charcoal Sheet Mask).
There are also booster serums containing higher percentages of niacinamide that you can mix with your favorite products. Knyazevych says that many booster serums contain 10% niacinamide, which is a good number to shoot for. If percentage is not indicated then look to make sure the product has it listed close to the top of the ingredients list, she advises.
It’s OK to layer multiple niacinamide-containing products on top of each other. And most importantly, be consistent in your application.
Niacinamide Products to Try
The Neogen H2 Dermadeca Serum Spray ($19) puts the ingredient front and center. This brightening serum mist hybrid is also formulated with vitamin C, centella asiatica, and collagen to soothe inflammation and smooth fine lines.
The Benton Snail Bee Ultimate Serum ($27) is another great choice, especially if you’re seeking a product that will soothe your skin and target hyperpigmentation and acne scars.
Its brightening powers make for a great eye cream ingredient. Look for it in the Nacific Fresh Herb Origin Eye Cream ($30).
For a niacinamide booster, we recommend Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster ($44). Just add a drop or two to any of your existing products and you’re good to go.
The Bottom Line
Niacinamide is an essential ingredient that all skin types can incorporate in their skin care regimen — especially if you’re battling acne or rosacea. It boasts anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties and can even give you a ceramide boost. Use it every day and you’ll see improvement in the tone, texture, and firmness of your skin.