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10 Things You Need to Know About Niacinamide in Skincare

Niacinamide has been known to be a powerhouse ingredient in the skincare industry and chances are, this ingredient is already listed in small amounts in your current skincare routine. Whether you are contemplating on including Niacinamide treatment in your skincare routine or learning to know about the benefits and best niacinamide combinations for your skin, we have the answers to some of the most important information that you’ll need to decide if Niacinamide is right for you. Let’s dive in!

 

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide, which is also known as Nicotinamide, is the active form of Niacin or Vitamin B3 that has a host of dermatological therapeutic benefits. Historically, Niacinamide has been used to treat and prevent the nutritional disease pellagra which symptoms include mental confusion, diarrhea and dermatitis. More recently, there has been much evidence that this water soluble vitamin has the physiological abilities to improve variable skin conditions and has shown distinct advantages for the skin over other skin ingredients with similar benefits.

 

What are the benefits of Niacinamide for the skin?

Niacinamide is one of those sweetheart ingredients that not only brings a host of benefits to the skin, but also an awesome side-kick ingredient in skincare formulations to boost the effects of other skincare ingredients. Here are some benefits of Niacinamide that are worth exploring.

 

Helps reduce hyperpigmentation and improve skin tone

Niacinamide is often found as a key ingredient in products that improve discoloration of the skin and fades skin pigmentation. This is because Niacinamide has the ability to inhibit the activity of Tyrosinase, an enzyme that is responsible for the production of skin pigmentation in the skin layer.

 

Strengthen and protect the skin barrier

Niacinamide stimulates the production of ceramide and elastin which are vital components to help strengthen the skin’s natural protective shield that keeps moisture in and irritants away from the skin. This results in a hydrated and healthy skin complexion.

 

Regulate oil production in the skin

Clinical studies have shown that Niacinamide at a concentration as low as 2% can significantly reduce the production of sebum in those with oily skin. As a result of less oil production, the appearance of pores is minimized and sagging of pores are less likely to occur.

 

Protects the skin from free radical damage

Niacinamide is an attractive topical agent of choice to fight signs of aging caused by free radicals from UV radiation and pollutants in the environment. When applied topically, Niacinamide converts into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a potent antioxidant that helps reduce the oxidative damage on the DNA and cells.

 

How to use Niacinamide in your skincare routine?

Niacinamide is a common ingredient found in almost any type of skincare products from serums to moisturizers and cleansers. When applying Niacinamide serum to the skin, allow at least a few minutes for the serum to absorb. If you find that the niacinamide serum is piling, chances are that the product is not absorbing into your skin and you are less likely to see any results from the treatment. Niacinamide can be used in your day or night routine and up to twice a day.

 

What concentration of Niacinamide should I use in my skincare routine? 

Figuring out the concentration in skincare products can be tricky and most of us tend to fall into the trap of more is best. When it comes to Niacinamide, the most effective range is between 2% to 10%. Depending on what issues you are trying to target, the percentage of Niacinamide varies. For sensitive skin, we recommend that you start at 2% and build your skin’s tolerance from there. For oily skin and combination skin aiming to control acne and oil production, a concentration between 2% and 3% is a good target range.  The 3% to 6% range works best for those looking to reduce hyperpigmentation, improve skin tone and overall skin barrier.

 

Does Niacinamide help with acne?

Yes! Niacinamide is a great ingredient to help soothe inflamed skin caused by breakouts in oily and acne-prone skin. A concentration between 2% to 3% of Niacinamide is best to control sebum production and acne. 

 

 

10 Things you need to know about niacinamide in skincare routine

 

Does Niacinamide cause purging?

The short answer is no. Niacinamide is not an agent that increases cell turnover, thus, is unlikely to cause purging. However, there are cases where breakouts can occur when introducing a new niacinamide serum to a skincare routine. Under circumstances like these, it is likely that the skin is irritated or is having a sensitive reaction towards the ingredient.

 

What are some of the best Niacinamide combos?

In the world of beauty, Niacinamide is like the hype man that supports other skin ingredients to perform optimally. Here are some of our favourite niacinamide combinations:

 

Niacinamide + Zinc: The Acne Fighting Duo

Studies have shown that a combination therapy of 10% Niacinamide plus 1% Zinc has proven to reduce acne and excess sebum from oily or blemish prone skin and significantly strengthen the skin barrier with improved radiance over time. 

 

Niacinamide + Vitamin C: The Radiance Enhancing Duo

Both of these ingredients make a great addition to your daily regimen. Vitamin C and Niacinamide are both antioxidants that can help combat your skin from oxidative stress caused by environmental pollutants like UV radiation and smoking, all which are causes that accelerate skin aging. Vitamin C is a mild acid that provides an exfoliating and brightening effect while Niacinamide focuses on hydration of the skin. If you are concerned that mixing Vitamin C (the less stable L-ascorbic form) and Niacinamide is going to create Niacin, which can result in skin flushing, this myth has been debunked! This is because the temperature required to create this effect has to be high and unless you are placing your products in direct sunlight or heat (which you shouldn’t), it is unlikely that layering these two ingredients together can cause niacin flush (botchy and inflamed skin).

 

Niacinamide + Salicylic Acid: The Pore Correcting Duo

These two ingredients create an ideal partnership. Salicylic Acid paves the way for Niacinamide to hydrate the skin by exfoliating and unclogging the pores. Niacinamide on the other hand, works on repairing the protective barrier and decreasing skin inflammation, resulting in a smoother skin surface.

 

Niacinamide  + Hyaluronic Acid: The Hydration Duo

Hyaluronic Acid is one of the most effective ingredients to help hydrate and lock in moisture in the skin. When paired with Niacinamide, which stabilizes the skin barrier, this hydration duo is the most effective combination to repair and strengthen the skin barrier, giving your skin a balanced, hydrated complexion.

 

How long does Niacinamide take to work?

While you may see some initial results from 5% Niacinamide within two weeks of daily use, generally, it will take about 8 to 12 weeks to see the full beneficial effects of Niaciniamide on the skin, such as improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, skin elasticity and skin tone. It is basically consistent with the time it requires for our new skin cells to regenerate.

 

What are the side effects of Niacinamide?

When applied on the skin, Niacinamide readily penetrates the top layer of the skin and is generally well tolerated by most skin types. That being said, there are some people who are sensitive to Niacinamide and may encounter symptoms of skin irritation such as mild redness, itching or a burning sensation.

 

Is Niacinamide safe during pregnancy?

Niacinamide is considered a pregnancy-safe skincare ingredient. The amount of Niacinamide found in skincare products is generally very low and when applied topically, only a minimal amount is absorbed into the bloodstream. There has not been any substantial evidence against the topical use of Niacinamide during pregnancy at this time. In fact, Niacinamide is a recommended alternative by dermatologists to the use of retinol during pregnancy to target pregnancy-related melasma. However, if you are considering to use a high concentration of Niacinamide, it is always advisable to consult your physician or dermatologist before starting the treatment. 

 

 

Disclaimer: The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition.

  

 

Reference:

Matts, P., Obong, J., Bissett, DL. A Review of the Range of Effects of Niacinamide in Human Skin. IFSCC Magazine: Vol.5, No.4: 2022. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286270242_A_Review_of_the_range_of_effects_of_niacinamide_in_human_skin 

 

Santaella-Lam, M. Can You Use Niacinamide with Vitamin C? Retrieved from https://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skincare-advice/skin-care-myths/can-niacinamide-and-vitamin-c-be-used-together.html

 

Yong, CB. Mechanistic Basis and Clinical Evidence for the Applications of Nicotinamide (Niacinamide) to Control Skin Aging and Pigmentation. Antioxidants 2021, 10(8),1315. doi:10.3390/antiox10081315

 

Park, HJ., Kyung, AB., Oh, S., Hyoung, MK., Moon, SC., Kuk, HS., Byun, K. The Combination of Niacinamide, Vitamin C, and PDRN Mitigates Melanogenesis by Modulating Nicotinamide Nucleotide Transhydrogenase. Molecules 2022, 27(15), 4923. doi:10.3390/molecules27154923

 

Draelos, ZD., Matsubara, A., Smiles, K. The Effect of 2% Niacinamide on Facial Sebum Production. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 8(2):96-101. doi:10.1080/14764170600717704

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