Remember those awards your class used to vote on in senior year for the yearbook? Best Sense of Humor, Most Athletic, etc? Well, if skin care high school had awards, niacinamide would win Best All-Around. Not only does niacinamide have many benefits, it is also suitable for every skin type.
What exactly is niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a vitamin. A form of Vitamin B3, to be exact. It is an ingredient that has gained a lot of popularity in skin care thanks to its wide range of benefits from treating acne to helping to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Frequently Asked Questions about Niacinamide
Is niacinamide the same thing as niacin?
The simple answer is no. Niacin and niacinamide are both forms of Vitamin B3, but are not the same things.
Are there side effects of using niacinamide?
Generally speaking you should not experience any negative side effects. If you have sensitivities or concerns, I recommend you try doing a patch test first.
Who can use niacinamide?
All skin types can use niacinamide, which is why it’s Best All-Around! Not only is niacinamide compatible with any other product in your routine, it’s suitable for use even for those who have sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.
Can I use niacinamide with Vitamin C?
There have been confusion over the use of Vitamin C formulas conflicting with niacinamide. The concern was that combining these two formulas may cancel out effectiveness or worse, cause skin irritation. However, recent studies have shown this not to be the case.
Can I use niacinamide with retinol?
Yes! Niacinamide has two important features that make it bff-material with retinol:
1) It boosts ceramide production which helps boost your skin’s tolerance of stronger ingredients like retinol
2) It has anti-inflammatory benefits which also helps minimize the likelihood of potential irritation caused by retinol
Top 5 niacinamide benefits
We’ve established niacinamide as an all-around crowd pleaser skin care ingredient that plays nice with other ingredients.
Now let’s dive deeper into specific niacinamide benefits you can expect by adding it to your skin care routine.
Strengthens skin’s barrier
Niacinamide helps to renew and restore the surface of the skin which protects against moisture loss and dehydration, making it a great choice for people who suffer from dry skin. This feature is the reason behind many of its other benefits described below.
Regulates oil production
Niacinamide can help regulate the amount of oil your skin produces which is why it can be added to your routine to prevent your glands from going into oil production overdrive.
The combination of oil production regulation and anti-inflammation makes niacinamide an ideal treatment for people who have acne concerns.
Related: I explain what causes oily skin in this post, I recommend giving it a read if you have oily skin or acne concerns.
Treats hyper-pigmentation (dark spots)
Some research has shown that 5% niacinamide concentration products can help lighten dark spots. This may be related to its ability to encourage collagen production and cell turnover.
Related: This post goes into a lot of detail specifically about hyper-pigmentation caused by sun exposure and acne scarring, as well products to treat it.
Reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles
Similarly, when skin cells turnover at a healthy rate it can improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles caused by dehydration, sun damage, and your environment.
Protects against oxidative stress
Research has also shown niacinamide to be able to help protect skin from environmental damage and oxidative stress such as: sunlight, pollution, and toxins. Again, this goes back to its ability to strengthen the skin barrier.
Recommended niacinamide products
Niacinamide, due to the may benefits we went over above, is a popular ingredient that is added to a lot of my recommended/favorite products.
Here are some for you to consider if you are thinking of adding niacinamide into your skin care routine.
Treatments and serums are my personal favorite and what I recommend if you want to add niacinamide to your routine. It’s more concentrated so you’ll start to see the effects and benefits sooner.
My pick: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is an excellent, wallet-friendly choice for people looking to balance their oily skin. The good news is it’s now also offered at a larger 60ml size. Great value for a great product.
This post goes into great depth about The Ordinary treatments and how to incorporate niacinamide into a routine for oily skin.
Runner Up’s: Revolution Skincare offers two niacinamide treatments in their portfolio also at a very good price point:
Extra 15% Niacinamide Serum is a higher concentration formula compared to their 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc formula. These direct competitors of The Ordinary in terms of formulation, benefits, and price point.
Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster is another good choice, albeit at a higher price point.
Sheet masks are another favorite of mine: it delivers intense hydration and are easy to use. It’s a must-have during long trips or plane rides.
Too Cool For School Egg Cream Hydration Mask is my favorite sheet mask. I usually get it from Amazon or Ulta. It’s drenched in serum formulated with egg extracts, coconut water, and the star ingredient of this post: niacinamide. It’s a very good mask that has never irritated my skin or caused any reactions of breakouts. Also smells so good!!
My absolute favorite sunscreen that I mentioned in this post contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and lactic acid. It’s an invisible mineral-based sunscreen that is suitable for all skin types and skin concerns such as: acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation.
Toners & Essences
For Oily Skin: The Inkey List PHA Toner contains 3% Niacinamide helps to reduce excess oil and improve uneven tone.
For Dry/Combination Skin: Revolution Skincare offers a toner as well as an essence spray for easy, fuss-free hydration.
For Large Pore Concerns: Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner with Niacinamide helps to balance skin with hydrating ceramides and control oil production.
For All Skin Types, Even Sensitive: Elta MD doesn’t just make great sunscreens, they make great day time moisturizers and night creams, too. This one is oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic.
For Oily Skin: Revolution Skincare’s Mattify Boost is a vegan, cruelty free, and fragrance free cream formula.
For Anti-Aging Concerns: Paula’s Choice Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator with Niacinamide and Vitamin C is a lightweight gel-lotion formula that refines pores at the same time.
How to incorporate niacinamide into your routine
Because niacinamide is suitable for all skin types and plays nicely with other ingredients, it’s easy to add any of the above mentioned products into your existing routine.
Below is a diagram of the steps to follow in a simple skincare routine.
After removing makeup and washing your face, toners and essences should be applied first to clear away any residual dirt or impurities and prep your skin for the next step.
If you are adding a niacinamide treatment into your routine, use it after cleansing, toning, and any exfoliants and before your moisturizer or sunscreen.
Lastly, I usually use sheet masks 2-3 times a week as the first step after cleansing and toning and before treatments and moisturizers. I switch it up – sometimes I use sheet masks during the day, sometimes I use it at night.
Related posts you may like:
If you want to learn how to shop for anti-aging products from The Ordinary, be sure to check out this post.
Sunscreens are vital to every skincare routine, no matter your age or skin type. I rounded up my favorite options in this post – I specifically look for sunscreens without any white cast!