Niacinamide for Skin: Benefits, Usage, and More
While ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, and hyaluronic acid get a lot of attention from skincare brands and enthusiasts, there’s another ingredient on the block that deserves just as much love: Niacinamide.
Niacinamide, a stable and well-studied form of vitamin B3, is a popular cosmetic ingredient with many wonderful skin benefits. It also happens to be in a ton of skincare products (check the label of your favorite moisturizer and see if you spot it). But what exactly does it do for your skin, and why do you want it in your routine? Below, we’re covering everything you want to know about the benefits and usage of niacinamide.
The Skin Benefits of Niacinamide
Niacinamide is a multi-tasking skincare powerhouse, which means your skin reaps multiple benefits from its use. Here are some of the leading skin benefits niacinamide boasts:
Niacinamide is naturally anti-inflammatory, so it’s an excellent ingredient for calming redness, blotchiness, and irritation. Because it is anti-inflammatory, niacinamide can also help with the inflammation and redness associated with acne, as well as the irritating effects caused by stronger topicals like retinol. This makes niacinamide an ideal ingredient for those with sensitive skin.
Brightens and evens skin tone
Brightening the skin is one of niacinamide’s key benefits. It helps restore a bright, healthy complexion by combating and preventing dullness. It can also assist in fading hyperpigmentation, especially alongside other brightening ingredients, likely by inhibiting the transfer of melanosomes (where melanin is stored and produced). One study found niacinamide to decrease the appearance of hyperpigmentation and increase skin brightness over the course of 4 weeks.
Want to kiss dark spots goodbye? Pair brightening ingredients like vitamin C, kojic acid, or AHAs with niacinamide to reduce pigmentation and achieve even, glowing skin.
Strengthens the skin barrier
You can expect a stronger skin barrier when using niacinamide in your skincare routine. Niacinamide strengthens your skin’s natural defense by helping grow a ceramide (or lipid) barrier that keeps hydration in and skin irritants out. The result? Moisturized, healthy skin.
Improves skin texture
By supporting skin hydration and an intact moisture barrier, niacinamide helps boost collagen and elastin production, so skin is bouncier and more youthful. Niacinamide has also been shown to help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. By helping unclog and tighten the pores, the skin’s texture becomes softer and smoother.
When applied topically, niacinamide provides antioxidant defense against oxidative stress, protecting skin from damage caused by UV rays, pollutants, and toxins. This antioxidant defense is key to keeping skin healthy and preventing premature signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration. In addition to providing external support, niacinamide works within the cells to reduce oxidative damage.
Regulates oil production
Likely due to its calming and skin barrier strengthening properties, niacinamide has shown great promise in helping reduce oil production, so your skin is less oily at the end of the day. By stabilizing oil production, niacinamide is a great ingredient for those with oily, acne-prone skin that want to combat clogged pores and control excess sebum.
How to Use Niacinamide in Your Skincare Routine
The good news is you don’t have to go buy a separate niacinamide serum to add to your routine—you might already have products with niacinamide in it. Niacinamide is commonly used in cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and face masks, so it can easily become part of a well-rounded skincare routine. Bonus? You can use it morning and night, and it’s safe for all skin types.
If you want to add a niacinamide product into your routine for the first time, we recommend starting with a wash-off treatment such as a cleanser or face mask to see how your skin reacts. For a first introduction, try a hydrating face mask, like Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Night Spa Face Mask, or a mild cleanser, such as the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser.
For experienced niacinamide users, add it to your routine in a sunscreen or anti-aging moisturizer like this one from Replenix.
Can I use niacinamide with other active ingredients?
Niacinamide’s versatility as a skincare ingredient is one of its main benefits. Niacinamide is compatible with most other skincare ingredients, which is why you’ll see it in many skincare formulas. It also can increase the effectiveness of other ingredients by working harmoniously alongside them to boost their effects.
These ingredients work incredibly well with niacinamide:
- Vitamin C
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Ceramides and Peptides
- AHAs and BHAs
- Alpha Arbutin
- Azelaic Acid
- Kojic Acid
Can niacinamide be used on the face and body?
Niacinamide doesn’t just benefit the skin on your face—it has the same amazing benefits for the skin on your body, too. You can find niacinamide in body care products such as lotion (try Bioderma’s Atoderm Intensive Gel Cream) or body wash. Even when shopping for body care, we recommend looking for niacinamide products formulated for your skin types and goals to see the best results.
Does niacinamide have any side effects?
Niacinamide is generally well-tolerated by most skin types. Even those with sensitive or acne-prone skin can tolerate it, especially in low concentrations. While it is a soothing ingredient for most skin types, niacinamide doesn’t work for everyone. If you experience side effects such as skin irritation or an allergic reaction, stop use of the product immediately.
Ready to add this skincare powerhouse to your routine? Shop our curated selection of professionally endorsed niacinamide products. There’s something here for everyone.