Niacinamide benefits: what does niacinamide do for skin?
Niacinamide is a skincare ingredient worthy of your attention and your skin will love you for using it. Among a handful of other amazing skincare ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C, niacinamide is a standout because of its versatility for almost any skincare concern and skin type.
As many of you know about us, but for those who don’t, the conclusions we make about any ingredient are always based on what the published research has shown to be true, and the research about niacinamide for skin unanimously demonstrates how special it is. New research keeps showing it’s one of the most exciting skincare ingredients around.
What is niacinamide?
Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide, niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly minimise enlarged pores, tighten lax pores, improve uneven skin tone, soften fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dullness, and strengthen a weakened surface.
Niacinamide also reduces the impact of environmental damage because of its ability to improve skin’s barrier (its first line of defense), plus it also plays a role in helping skin to repair signs of past damage. Left unchecked, this type of daily assault makes skin appear older, dull and less radiant.
Why you should use niacinamide
For those wondering, what is niacinamide good for? You might have gathered that we’re very impressed with all that niacinamide can do for skin when applied via skincare products like toners, serums, and highly concentrated leave-on treatments. Niacinamide is uniquely compatible with any of the products in your skincare routine, including those that contain retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHA, vitamin C, and all types of antioxidants.
You can use multiple niacinamide-containing products in your routine, and it will still be non-sensitising as this ingenious B vitamin is well tolerated by all skin types. It’s even suitable for use by those with sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.
What does niacinamide do for your skin?
Other helpful benefits of niacinamide or vitamin B3 for skin are that it helps renew and restore the surface of skin against moisture loss and dehydration by helping skin improve its natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides. When ceramides become depleted over time, skin is left vulnerable to all sorts of problems, from persistent patches of dry, flaky skin to increasingly becoming extra-sensitive.
If you struggle with dry skin, topical application of niacinamide has been shown to boost the hydrating ability of moisturisers so the skin's surface can better resist the moisture loss that leads to recurrent dry, tight, flaky skin. Niacinamide works brilliantly with common moisturising ingredients like glycerin, non-fragrant plant oils, cholesterol, sodium PCA, and sodium hyaluronate.
How does niacinamide help pores? Great question, although the answer here isn’t certain. Simply put, research hasn’t come to a full understanding about how this B vitamin works its pore-reducing magic, but it does! It seems that niacinamide has a normalising ability on the pore lining, and this influence plays a role in keeping debris from getting backed up, which leads to clogs and rough, bumpy skin. As the clog forms and worsens, the pores stretch to compensate, and what you’ll see is enlarged pores. By helping things get back to normal, niacinamide use helps pores return to their normal size. Sun damage can cause pores to become stretched, too, leading to what some describe as "orange peel skin". Higher concentrations of niacinamide can help visibly tighten pores by shoring up skin’s supportive elements.
For those wondering ‘what does niacinamide do for breakouts?’ We are pleased to tell you that research shows that a concentration of 2% (or more) is highly effective to help red blemishes fade more quickly (the redness left by spots). This means products containing niacinamide are a good choice for those with acne-prone skin.
How does niacinamide help discolourations and uneven skin tone? Both of these concerns stem from excess melanin (skin pigment) showing on skin’s surface. Niacinamide in concentrations of 5% and greater works via several pathways, to keep new discolourations from appearing. At the same time, it also helps break up existing discolouration so your skin tone looks more even. Niacinamide and discolouration-reducing ingredients work well together, such as all forms of vitamin C, licorice, retinol, and bakuchiol.
How to use niacinamide?
Using niacinamide is as easy as finding great skincare products that contains it along with other beneficial ingredients like antioxidants, skin-restoring agents, and other skin-replenishing ingredients.
This multi-ingredient approach to skincare is important because despite the niacinamide benefits being impressive, it’s not the only ingredient skin needs to look and feel its best. Think of it like your diet, as healthy as kale is, if kale was all you ate, you’d soon become malnourished because your body needs more than one healthy food to maintain itself. The same is true for skin, the body’s largest (and most exposed) organ!
For best results, use leave-on niacinamide products and apply them to cleansed skin twice daily. That might mean you apply a toner with niacinamide immediately after cleansing to rehydrate and replenish skin. Our 10% Niacinamide Booster can be used on its own (much like another vitamin B serum for the face) or mixed into your favourite moisturiser, based on personal preference. Experiment to see what works best for your skin!
Do you experience persistent skin concerns such as visibly stretched pores, pores that have become lax or a rough, bumpy skin texture? Try niacinamide in a unique concentration of no less than 20%. The Clinical Niacinamide 20% Treatment visibly reduces stretched and enlarged pores, smoothes rough (orange-peel) skin texture and minimises bumps caused by accumulated sebum. It reveals a smoother, more refined skin texture.
You can use niacinamide-containing products around your eyes, too. Some might find applying a moisturiser or eye cream with niacinamide helps improve the look of under eye circles, helps soften the appearance of crow’s feet, not to mention enables this delicate area to retain skin-smoothing moisture and resist loss of firmness.
How long does niacinamide take to work?
Generally speaking, you should start to see results after 2-4 weeks of twice daily usage (depending on the severity of your skin concerns and how concentrated your niacinamide product is). Ongoing use is required for continued improvement.
Results will continue to improve over time but do not expect your skin to be completely “poreless” – that isn’t possible for any skincare product (not to mention, your skin needs its pores for many vital functions). What you can expect is pores that look smaller, skin tone that looks more even, visibly reduced fine lines and wrinkles, and an overall healthier glow.
There’s no reason to wait to add niacinamide to your skincare routine. This wonderfully versatile B vitamin brings many topical benefits to improve skin’s appearance, so it appears more even, brighter, and younger. As with any great skincare ingredient, it’s important to be diligent about protecting skin daily with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. This allows you to get maximum benefit from niacinamide and other proven skin savers.
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References for this information:
Experimental Dermatology, February 2019, Supplement 1, pages 15-22; and October 2018, ePublication
Dermatologic Therapy, September 2017, ePublication
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 2017, page S116
International Journal of Pharmaceutics, March 2017, pages 158-162; and January 2013, Pages 192-201
Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America, May 2016 , pages 145-152
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, July 2015, pages 405-412
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2014, pages 311-315
International Journal of Pharmacy, January 2013, pages 192-201
Dermatoendrocrinology, July 2012, pages 308-319
Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 31, Part 2, 2005, Discussion 865
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, October 2004, pages 231-238
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2004, pages 88-93
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