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Niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid. It is an effective skin-repairing ingredient that can increase skin hydration, brighten skin tone and improve skin texture, as well as making it less irritable.
Niacinamide works by strengthening the outer layer of our skin. Vitamin B3 provides a fuel which enhances cellular bonds and tightens skin. The stabilization of the skin’s outer layer has an anti-inflammatory effect, and can prevent acne breakouts and rosacea lesions.
"In ageing skin, topical application of niacinamide improves the surface structure, smoothes out wrinkles and inhibits photocarcinogenesis. It is possible to demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects in acne, rosacea and nitrogen mustard-induced irritation." according to the British Journal of Dermatology in 2004.
Applying niacinamide topically can have many benefits when it comes to skin care. It is often referred to as a cell-communicating ingredient, meaning that it tells cells to behave more like younger, healthier ones.
Niacinamide is being studied for its effective use against acne, aging and rosacea, and it is showing promising results.
Niacinamide Skin Benefits
- Increases skin hydration
- Brightens skin tone
- Improve skin texture
- Strengthens the skin's protective barrier
- Reduces acne and rosacea lesions
- May reduce sebum production
- Smooths out wrinkles
- Stimulates collagen production
- Reduces hyper-pigmentation
Niacinamide for Acne
An 8 week study was done in which subjects with moderate acne were treated with a 4% niacinamide gel. 82% showed a reduction in acne lesions and acne severity. The results were comparable to a 1% clindamycin gel.
Niacinamide may potentially reduce facial sebum. Clinical trials were conducted in both the US and Japan to study the effects of topical application of a 2% niacinamide moisturizer. The Japanese subjects showed a significant reduction in their sebum excretion rate, and the caucasian subjects showed a decrease in casual sebum levels.
Niacinamide for Anti-Aging
In multiple clinical studies, topical application of niacinamide improved fine lines and wrinkles, skin sallowness (yellowing), hyperpigmentation, and red blotchiness, as well as elasticity.
According to the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, “niacinamide has a stabilizing effect on epidermal barrier function” and “topical application of niacinamide improves the surface structure, smoothes out wrinkles and inhibits photocarcinogenesis”
It has been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production, as well as even out skin tone by slowing down the transfer of melanin to your skin’s epidermis.
Recent studies have suggested that niacinamide may increase the effectiveness of sunscreens in protecting the skin from UV damage.
Niacinamide for Rosacea
Niacinamide has been cited in two different studies as being useful in the treatment of rosacea.
Wake Forest University scientists tested 50 people with rosacea. The study found that applying a niacinamide-based moisturizer twice daily for 4 weeks eased symptoms of this condition.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Nicomide Improvement in Clinical Outcomes Study (NICOS) showed promising results. Most subjects reported an improvement halfway through the 8 week study. 79 percent said their appearance was either moderately or much better and 55 percent reported a moderate to substantial reduction in rosacea lesions.
How to use Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is usually applied topically to skin — either in the form of a serum or by incorporating niacinamide-enriched products into an existing skincare routine. Although both options work great for giving your skincare routine a boost, how you choose to add niacinamide to your routine largely depends on your individual skin concerns.
Serums are most ideal for delivering a concentrated dose of its active ingredients to your skin. However, niacinamide-containing products will contain other active ingredients which makes it easier for you to enjoy a wealth of benefits — without adding additional steps to your routine.
Niacinamide is best known for its versatility, because it has a wide range of benefits that are useful for treating problems that occur in most skin types. Even if you don’t have any specific skin problems to address, niacinamide can help improve the overall condition (and appearance) of your skin. It’s suggested a concentration of 5% can be rather effective for improving hyperpigmentation and repairing sun damage.
But of course, not all skincare products are made the same and different products/formulations will contain different concentrations of niacinamide. Most niacinamide-containing products are formulated with 5% or less and it’s recommended to stay within the 2%–5% range. That said, higher concentrations may cause some people to experience some sort of allergic reaction, redness, or irritation. Keep in mind, it’s a good idea to start at a lower percentage if you have sensitive skin.
Niacinamide should not be used:
- by people with liver disease
- by people with active ulcers or a history of ulcers
- anyone with gout
If you drink excessive amounts of alcohol, you should not use niacinamide cream as it can react with increased levels of alcohol in your body.
If you are wanting to use niacinamide cream for the treatment of your acne, start out slow, with small amounts to make sure there are no negative reactions. If you notice redness or peeling, discontinue use.
What NOT to use with Niacinamide?
Niacinamide can strengthen the skin’s barrier to protect it from the damage brought on by environmental stressors. This skin-strengthening quality may also be beneficial for reducing any sort of irritation you may experience from other products.
But here’s a popular question: Can you use niacinamide and vitamin C at the same time? Well, this one’s a little tricky and there’s a lot of contradicting information out there.
Here’s the situation:
On its own, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that has an extensive list of skin benefits, such as brightening skin, improving uneven skin tone, boosting collagen production, lightening dark spots, and diminishing visible signs of aging.
But several online sources have claimed that niacinamide and vitamin C (ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid) should never be used at the same time. It has also been suggested that combining the two ingredients may reduce both ingredients’ effectiveness, or even cause flushing/redness and irritation in skin. However, others have stated that this is simply a myth based on outdated research.
Because the jury is still out on this one, we’ll let you decide!
How to Incorporate Niacinamide into an Existing Skincare Routine?
You can use niacinamide in the morning, at night — or both. But if you’re using more than one niacinamide-containing product in your routine, you may want to switch it up a bit by alternating the days you use them or by using one in the morning and the other at night.
As mentioned, niacinamide is an active ingredient that can be found in plenty of skincare products, including cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens. Before use, always check the packaging for specific instructions on how to use a product properly.
Ultimately, the key to ensuring you achieve the best results with niacinamide is to make sure you’re layering your skincare products correctly. That said, how you use your niacinamide-containing products will depend on the type of product it is. For example, a toner that contains niacinamide should be applied to skin after cleansing and before using serum or moisturizer.
When to Apply Niacinamide Serum?
Niacinamide serums have a watery consistency and they absorb fairly quickly into skin. If you’re using a niacinamide serum, you should always apply it before you go in with your heavier creams and oils.
Applying moisturizer after serum will facilitate better absorption by allowing the serum’s active ingredients to penetrate more deeply into skin. Also, moisturizing your skin after will form a barrier to lock in all the good stuff (and moisture), which enhances the overall effectiveness of your skincare routine.
The Best Natural Niacinamide Products
We know you are wondering what products we like 😉 So we have included them below:
A budget-friendly serum available on Amazon. It offers 5% Niacinamide, along with hyaluronic acid, avocado oil, and vitamin E.
You will love how this serum (which actually has a texture more like a light lotion) will help even out your skin tone and fight dryness and flakiness, all without breaking you out.
--> Go to Amazon to learn more.
Large pores? Oily skin? Uneven skin tone? 100% Pure’s Niacinamide Boost is one of our top favorites for improving the overall texture and tone of skin. Designed for nightly use, you only need to mix a pea-sized amount of this powder with a few drops of warm water to create a potent dose of this deeply hydrating serum.
Because it’s also formulated with hyaluronic acid, you can count on 100% Pure’s Niacinamide Boost to deliver a powerful fusion of skin-enhancing ingredients to rejuvenate skin, boost hydration, control excess oil production, and minimize pores.
Benefits of 100% Pure’s Niacinamide Boost
- DIY experience making your own serum
- Only need a pea-sized amount of product to achieve a serum-like consistency
- Reduces oil production
- Minimizes large pores
- Deeply hydrating (formulated with hyaluronic acid)
- Restores skin (environmental damage)
--> Find it at 100% Pure.
We love that this serum is for all skin types, as well as the fact that it contains 10% Niacinamide, a hefty amount. It is also packed with high-quality, natural ingredients.
You will enjoy the gel-like consistency of Marie Veronique's Soothing B3 Serum, it is no-fuss and great for layering with other products or makeup.
--> Available at Credo Beauty.
Mahalo says it best when it comes to describing this product:
Finally a salvation, a “fairy godmother” for troubled, prematurely aging, compromised skins that are sensitive to oil-based products, and yearn for much-needed protection, hydric-moisture, nourishment, regeneration and soothing.
You will love how this serum sinks onto your skin, leaving no tacky feeling. The superior ingredients and wooden packaging are something you can feel good purchasing.
--> Shop Mahalo.
As you can see, Niacinamide is showing promising results for acne, aging, and rosacea. It has a wide range of topical effects and is one of the few scientifically proven anti-aging ingredients.
I have read hundreds of stories of people who have had successful results with topical niacinamide, maybe you can add yours too 🙂
Have you tried a niacinamide cream or serum? Did you see results?
Leave any questions and comments below. And if you liked this article, please share!