Niacinamide – how to use, and what are the best products?

Even if you are not a skin care fanatic, chances are, you’ve still heard of Niacinamide before. Also known as vitamin B3, Niacinamide is not only one of the best well-studied ingredients, but it’s also regarded as one of the safest active ingredients for treating acne, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation. Keep reading to find out why Niacinamide is good for your skin and what are some of our top recommendations for you to use.

Here’s why you should be wearing your vitamin B!

What makes niacinamide an all-rounder in cosmeceuticals, is that, it can tackle almost any skin care concern for all skin types!

Put simply – different skin types will benefit from different features of niacinamide. So if you skin is combination or oily, niacinamide will help regulate the oil production. For those with acne-prone skin, it will help protect and heal your skin barrier. If you have sensitive skin, it’ll help soothe inflammation and reduce skin redness and irritation. On the other hand, if your skin is more on the dry side, it’ll still benefit from the ceramides and the hydrating aspect of niacinamide.

And the BEST part is that the benefits of its topical application are extensive and varied. Studies have shown that although niacinamide readily penetrates the stratum corneum, it tends to be gentler on the skin and does not cause any irritation. You might have also heard of it being used as an add-on in many of your face serums and moisturizers. How niacinamide works, is by helping provide your cells the energy to carry out their daily functions. For more information on that, you can scroll directly to “the benefits of niacinamide” section.

Without delving into all the biochemical details, it should suffice to know that niacinamide is also a known precursor to the cofactors NADH and NADPH, which are important for a variety of biochemical reactions. These co-enzymes help maintain your skin health and physiology via regulating the inflammatory responses, cellular metabolism, as well as the cell differentiation and turnover. For most clinical needs, a topical formulation of niacinamide when used at concentration of up to 5% have shown optimal results.

If you ask me, although I do not think it’s a miracle in a jar, I do think it’s one of the ingredients that should be seriously considering in your preventative, anti-aging skincare routine.

What are the benefits of niacinamide?

+Anti-aging: Research has found that niacinamide 5% can be helpful in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It is believed that this occurs by increasing the production of proteins such as keratin, involucrin and collagen that are essential in the formation and maintenance of the stratum corneum. NADPH is also a known cofactor for the synthesis of fatty acids and lipids such as ceramides, which explains why the topical administration of niacinamide can enhance your skin barrier and improve barrier function.

+Lipid barrier/Hydration: Research has shown that niacinamide can increase the production of ceramides and free fatty acids in the stratum corneum, and decrease the transepidermal water loss, which in turn, helps retain moisture. This is beneficial for all skin types, but especially for those who have eczema prone, or dry skin.

+Photoprotective: Niacinamide can help with DNA repair in UV damaged cells (after sun exposure). Research has also shown that it possesses unique immune-protective qualities that can help prevent UV-induced cell damage, but as far as the question of how we can complement this effect with the use of a sunscreen requires further exploration.

+Anti-hyperpigmentation: Studies have demonstrated that niacinamide 4% can be used in treating hyperpigmentation and hormonal pigmentation (melasma). It works by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes.

+Acne: Studies have demonstrated how niacinamide can protect the skin barrier against the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria, as well as it’s direct role in reducing sebum production. Additionally, it also known to have potent anti-inflammatory properties that make it a useful consideration in long term treatments.

How do I use niacinamide?

This really depends on you and your routine. Some people might find that their mornings are generally rushed, so they would prefer to use it in the evening. But generally speaking, its suitable for both morning and evening use. For best results, cleanse your skin, then apply the niacinamide serum and then follow it up with a moisturizer and sunscreen (if you’re using it in the morning). 

What works well with niacinamide?

Being touted as an excellent team player, niacinamide is compatible with most other actives in your skincare routine, including those containing retinol and AHAs. However, just as a word of caution for those with sensitive skin or who have rosacea, you might avoid combining niacinamide with vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Having said that, you can still use them in your skincare routine, just consider using vitamin C in the morning and the niacinamide at night. Or, better still, you could use [them] on alternate days.

How long before I see results with niacinamide?

I usually recommend using any new skincare product for a minimum of 4 weeks for optimum results. But in the case of niacinamide, give it at least 8–12 weeks of consistent use before writing it off.

What’s the best niacinamide serum?

Here are six popular skincare products that feature niacinamide as a key ingredient. So make sure you get yourself one of the serums listed below and you’re good to go!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience that we feel will be beneficial to our readers. If you purchase something from our links, we will receive a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to you.

The Ordinary
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Why we love it?

We all love affordable skincare, and this serum is no exception! Featuring 10 percent niacinamide, this has been one of The Ordinary’s best sellers for years. The serum itself is super lightweight, dries almost instantly, might feel a bit sticky, but overall, is comfortable to use. Also, initially, as you start spreading the product with your finger tips – there seems to be slight foaming which disappears in a few seconds once the product gets absorbed.

On consistent use, it has brightened my skin, reduced inflammation, and increased hydration. This is an absolutely brilliant product that I have since re-purchased numerous times. Also, one bottle lasts me four months of twice a day usage, and I’m using 3-4 drops each time.

Buy here from Amazon for AED 35 (as of 02/06/2021 16:23 EST)

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Why we love it?

Here’s another 10 per cent niacinamide formula from Paula’s Choice. This booster serum is meant to be added to your serum or moisturizer. The texture feels lighter, more watery in comparison to The Ordinary’s serum. Although both include 10% niacinamide, its just a matter of preference. With PC’s booster, I find that since the formula is more lighter and runnier, much of the product runs and is wasted. So you have to extra careful not to lose any serum during the application process.

Buy here from Amazon for AED 246 (as of 02/06/2021 16:29 EST)

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum

Why we love it?

If you like to combine your active ingredients, specifically, retinol with niacinamide – then this one could be for you. LRP Retinol B3 Serum combines 2% niacinamide with 0.3% retinol. You can start with slowly introducing this to your PM routine, twice weekly at first and then titrate it upwards based on how you skin is tolerating it. Needless to say, make sure to apply a healthy dose of SPF the following morning.

Buy here from Amazon for AED 139 (as of 02/06/2021 16:39 EST)

The INKEY List Niacinamide 

Why we love it?

This serum combines 10 percent niacinamide with hydrating ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid and squalene. Texture-wise, it feels slightly heavier and richer in comparison to The Ordinary serum, and leaves your skin feeling moisturized without feeling tacky. This is a good option if you’re looking to maximize the hydrating and soothing benefits of niacinamide. Another difference to be noted, is that this serum doesn’t contain Zinc PCA, so although it is more suited for dry skin, for combination and oily skin types, I would still recommend a niacinamide formula with zinc in it.

Buy here from Amazon for AED 50 (as of 02/06/2021 16:45 EST)

Glossier Super Pure

Why we like it?

This is a good option if redness or skin inflammation are your main concerns, or if you’ve experienced irritation with other niacinamide serums. Unlike the other serums, this one contains 5% niacinamide and zinc. It’s reasonably priced and is more suited for dry skin.

Olay ProX Spot Fading Serum

Why we love it?

The new ProX essence by Olay is part of their premium range, designed to target and treat skin issues related to hyperpigmentation. The brightening essence contains potent anti-aging ingredients which includes niacinamide, sepiwhite and laminaria saccharina extract which helps to fade the look of skin discoloration such as sun spots and dark patches. I have used this product for a week now – its a lightweight serum/essence which gets easily absorbed and keeps my skin hydrated. The best part is that it’s both color and fragrance free. Within a week of using it, I have already have noticed a difference in skin tone!

Does your routine include any products from this list? What are your favourite niacinamide serums?

** Disclaimer**
For best advice, always consult your dermatologist. They will gather your medical history to determine whether you’re genetically predisposed to acne, or identify if there’s an underlying condition, such as PCOS, or if you are overweight, allergic, etc.

Sahar x

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