Niacinamide is all the rage recently, and for good reason. Through a seemingly endless quest to find the ingredient that will reduce the look of pores, brighten, and protect the skin – niacinamide emerges.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through the link I may make a small commission. I am not a medical pro, just someone who loves skincare and has done the research. Everyone’s skin is different and any serious skin issues should be consulted with a dermatologist or your esthetician.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 known as nicotinamide. This water-soluble vitamin actually interacts with substances already in your skin to fight inflammation and several skin concerns.
Research continues to show the effectiveness in treating acne, rosacea, enlarged pores, and uneven tone – making this a must-have ingredient.
Nicotinamide is not naturally occurring in our bodies so we have to eat it or apply it topically to reap the benefits.
Niacinamide works in many concentrations in OTC products. It is shown to be effective in concentrations as little as 2% – 5%, though many products are formulated with 10% to provide the most targeted benefits.
Benefits of Niacinamide for your skin
Niacinamide carefully, yet powerfully, combats several skin concerns.
- Reduce the look of pores. Our pores can’t actually reduce in size, but they can be refined. Pores stretch over time through skin damage and build up of oil and other debris. Niacinamide can help normalize and tighten your pores by reducing build up, repairing sun damage, and enhancing your skin’s natural functions.
- Anti-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin B3 help treat conditions caused by inflammation like acne or rosacea. These same properties can also reduce redness caused by this inflammation or irritation.
- Boosts ceramide production. Ceramides are a core component of your skin barrier and are key in preventing both dehydration and water loss. Niacinamide stimulates your skin’s ceramide production, keeping your skin protected.
- Brightens skin: Nicotinamide reduces hyperpigmentation and discoloration by preventing movement of pigment in your skin. This means reduced dark spots and skin that shines bright.
- Reduce signs of aging. Science shows that nicotinamide can actually help our skin restore cellular energy. This can reduce the impact of and protect us from the environmental stresses we are exposed to on a daily basis like pollution, light, smoke, and other factors that arise from our lifestyle. These stressors can cause increased production of dreaded fine lines and wrinkles as well as discoloration of the skin. No, thank you!
Reduced look of pores, bright skin, and protection from lines and damage…what is this magic?
Who should use Niacinamide?
Everyone! This ingredient is considered safe for all skin types – even the most sensitive ones.
Niacinamide is shown to stimulate ceramide production. These ceramides will help keep the driest skin hydrated, but also help oily or combination skin regulate sebum and reduce risk of dehydration.
Niacinamide is not seen as irritating and is actually shown to reduce irritation from other harsh ingredients when used in the same routine.
Essential tip: if you do experience irritation, try cutting down to a few days a week until your skin adjusts. Also, pay attention to the concentration – niacinamide is still effective in as little as 2 – 5%. Opt for a lower concentration if you experience irritation.
How to use Niacinamide in your Skincare Routine
Niacinamide is applied at any step in your routine, depending upon the product. Many toners are enhanced with niacinamide, which come in at step 2 of your routine.
In serum or booster form, it should be applied during the treatment step of your routine.
I like to apply this at least nightly as part of my serum set. Niacinamide is gentle enough to be used both morning and night, so make the decision that is best for your skin type and concerns.
Essential tip: when using serums, remember to apply in order from thinnest to thickest. Since niacinamide is water-soluble, your serum will likely be water based and applied earlier on in your routine for best absorption.
How to layer Niacinamide with other ingredients
Niacinamide is a great friend. She plays nice with almost all the ingredients you already use in your skincare routine. In fact, it is often enhanced through the use of several ingredients like retinol, exfoliating acids, and all antioxidants – even vitamin C.
It is a common myth that niacinamide and vitamin C should not be used in the same skincare routine.
Studies performed in the ’60s showed adverse interactions when applied to the skin in the same routine. However, the unstable forms of both ingredients used in these studies make the results less relevant.
Skincare chemists today use only stable forms of both ingredients in products on the market, so this combo is very safe.
Another misconception is that vitamin C and its acidic pH level will interact with the more neutral pH of niacinamide and create nicotinic acid. This only happens through exposure to high temperatures, so don’t expect this to be an issue in your normal skincare routine.
So how do I use these bad boys together? Apply vitamin C first, then follow with other serums, including your niacinamide.
Talk about a winning combination for your skin! Niacinamide and retinol are the perfect pair and work seamlessly together to fast track results in your skin.
Niacinamide boosts the performance of retinol and keeps your skin strong in the fight against aging.
I never skip a B3 boost on retinol nights!
Another great combo! Niacinamide and BHA (aka salicylic acid) work as a team to really keep those pores clean and keep acne at bay.
You will find that many products formulate these ingredients together. I like to use separate products when it comes to exfoliation, but that is just my preference.
Essential tip: it’s tempting to pack these combinations into one skincare routine, but it isn’t a good idea. Skip on using both BHA and retinol the same day to avoid irritation. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing!
Just about any product in the skincare market can contain niacinamide, so take your pick! Here are a few TFE faves to get this into your skincare routine.
Paula’s Choice Pore Reducing Toner. TFE loves some Paula’s Choice, especially her toners. Packed with niacinamide (duh), ceramides, and hyaluronic acid to restore hydration and tighten your pores. YUM!
The Ordinary 10% Niacinamide + Zinc 1%. This booster sold me on niacinamide and I am not lookin back. Affordable and effective, this serum gel texture has refined my pores and helps me smile when I look at my once bumpy and enlarged pore nose.
First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Niacinamide Brightening Cream. Brighten up that eye area with niacinamide. This eye cream helps the undereye area stay hydrated through humectants and reduces puffiness through caffeine and pumpkin seed extract.
Brighten and Tighten
Are you ready to bring this magic to your skin? She will thank you for it.
Let us know what your favorite products are and how this ingredient has transformed your skin!