Trendy skincare ingredients are a dime a dozen these days, but it’s time we shine the spotlight on a tried-and-tested staple that simply works: niacinamide. Also known as nicotinamide, niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that is touted to brighten the skin, help fade hyperpigmentation, calm down flushed skin and even treat acne. Here’s what you need to know:
1. It strengthens skin barrier functions
According to studies, niacinamide helps strengthen your skin’s barrier function, which is essential in maintain a healthy, glowing visage. It does so by limiting transepidermal water loss (the amount of water your skin loses to the environment), and improves the moisture level of your skin. In addition, niacinamide also stimulates the production of ceramides, which in turn strengthens your skin, keeping wrinkles, fine lines and dullness at bay.
2. It calms down redness
Niacinamide, when applied topically or taken orally, has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it is capable of treating skin issues stemming from inflammation, such as acne. Inflammation associated with mild to moderate rosacea can also be treated in this way, instead of using steroids. Some studies suggest that niacinamide’s soothing properties may also come from its ability to repair the skin’s barrier function.
3. It helps fight oily skin and acne
Research has suggested that niacinamide inhibits the production of sebum when applied to the skin, which can be helpful for those suffering from acne. In addition, niacinamide is a relatively mild ingredient, which means that people with dry or sensitive skin can add it to their skincare repertoire.
4. It helps fade hyperpigmentation
A few studies have shown that niacinamide, when applied at 5 per cent concentration for 12 weeks, yielded signification improvements in dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles compared to the control group. One study pitted niacinamide against the gold standard in skin lightening: hydroquinone. Although niacinamide didn’t perform as well as hydroquinone, it does not come with as many side effects.
5. It has some slight side effects
Niacinamide is a relatively gentle ingredient, and most people tolerate it. However, some people may be sensitive to the ingredient. The only way to make sure is to patch test if you’re new to niacinamide. Apply a small amount of the product containing niacinamide to your jaw, and leave it overnight. If your skin does not react adversely, you’re good to go. Otherwise, stop using the product completely.
One prominent side effect of niacinamide is flushing. When applied in conjunction with L-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C, the two ingredients react and causes your skin to flush. To get around this, we suggest applying niacinamide products in the morning, and vitamin C at night.
Check out some of our favourite niacinamide products below: