Niacinamide is, by far, my favourite skincare ingredient. It’s the one that makes the biggest difference to my skin, by minimising pores and making my skin texture look even and smooth. The first Niacinamide product I used was the Verso Hydration Serum and I was blown away by what a difference it made. That’s an excellent product too, in addition to the ones i’ve featured in this post. If you suffer with breakouts, with uneven tone and texture, with dullness, with a compromised skin barrier, or with lines you aren’t happy with, please try Niacinamide as it could make an incredible difference. It’s easy to include in your routine too, as you can layer it with anything.
I had a chat with cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobbs, to get you the lowdown on what Niacinamide is and what it can do for your skin; but if you are looking for even more information, check out the Paula’s Choice guide to Niacinamide.
What actually is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3. There are several B vitamins, known together as the “B complex.” They may have very different molecular structures and but have loose similarities in their properties and their physiological functions.
How does Niacinamide benefit the skin?
Niacinamide has a bevy of skin benefits including increased hydration, strengthening the skin barrier, boosting the innate antioxidant activities and reducing hyperpigmentation.
Are there any side effects from using Niacinamide skincare?
Niacinamide has very low potential for skin irritation, unlike some other anti-ageing ingredients like retinoids. However, Niacinamide can contain small amounts of its precursor chemical, Nicotinic Acid. Nicotinic Acid can cause a slight warming sensation on the skin which may be unpleasant for some. There are grades of Niacinamide for cosmetics that are specially processed to remove as much residual Nicotinic Acid as possible.
What are the different ways you can incorporate Niacinamide into your skincare routine? How is best to apply it?
Because Niacinamide is readily water soluble, you’ll find it in creams, lotions and water-based serums that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
Is there anything you shouldn’t layer or mix with your Niacinamide product?
Niacinamide has the distinct advantage of being very stable in cosmetic formulations. The exception is high pH, a condition which is pretty rare in skin care products.
Synergies can be achieved in combinations with Vitamin C, in the same product or by layering products, because each ingredient targets different aspects of the chemical pathways in hyperpigmentation. When it comes to skin brightening, Niacinamide inhibits the transfer of pigment between cells. Vitamin C works by inhibiting an enzyme known as tyrosinase, necessary for the production of pigment. Layering is most preferrable as Vitamin C is notoriously hard to stabilize and may be delivered in anhydrous systems to protect integrity.
After how long will you start to see results from Niacinamide?
As with most skin care products, results can take 2 to 4 weeks, so it’s important to keep up consistent application.
I wanted to share with you three Niacinamide products that i’ve been enjoying over the last few months. All are really effective and there’s something to suit all budgets.Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 20% Treatment* – £45 from Paula’s Choice
I’d recommend this serum for someone who is already used to using Niacinamide in their routine and who understands how it benefits them. This is a highly concentrated 20% treatment. This serum is best for those who want to experience the non-blemish / non-acne benefits of Niacinamide – the pore minismising, texture improving, line softening benefits – as it also contains other texture, pigmentation and anti-ageing ingredients. Vitamin C helps with skin brightening and tone evening, as well as helping to diminish signs of ageing. Acetyl Glucosamine has skin brightening benefits when combined with Niacinamide, and it also hydrates and minimises the appearance of wrinkles. Those who suffer with acne will get all the acne and breakout benefits of Niacinamide, as well as a wound healing benefit that comes from the Acetyl Glucosamine.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% & Zinc 1%* – £5 from The Ordinary
This is a 10% Niacinamide, so it’s not as strong as the Paula’s Choice option above. You also get 1% Zinc in this serum, which acts as an anti-inflammatory that’s so beneficial for acne sufferers; as is it’s ability to treat skin lesions. Similary, Zinc also helps control oil, which can improve breakouts. It’s a light serum and it’s absorbed well by the skin. I haven’t experienced any pilling when layering other products with it and it’s a great affordable choice if you are just starting on your Niacinamide journey and want to see how it benefits you.ZitSticka PRESS REFRESH Face Masks* – £30 for 5 from ZitSticka
As the brand name might suggest, these masks have been designed especially for people who suffer with acne and breakouts; however, they are definitely still worth the purchase for those who don’t – who simply want an exceptionally hydrating mask that also has the other texture benefits of Niacinamide. These are one of my favourite masks and I use them purely for the hydrating aspect and the pore minimising benefits of Niacinamide. They are hydrogel and come in two sections, giving a perfect fit to all facial contours.
In addition to breakout & redness calming Niacinamide and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, the serum these masks are infused with also contains Salicylic Acid to clear out dirt from your pores; surface exfoliant Glycolic Acid; brightening and gentle exfoliant Lactic Acid; and emolliant Allantoin (which alsoremoves impurities from the skin and supports elasticity). The hydrogel of the mask itself also contains Graphene powder, which cleverly helps the ingredients to be absorbed better by your skin.
This post contains press samples, but all opinions are my own.
You can see more of what i’m loving, and what i’m doing, over on my Instagram.