Vitamins are important for our overall health. They help our bodies resist infections, protect our nervous system, give us energy and aid blood flow. The question is: Can they also help our skin look healthy and glowing in the long run?
One of the most beneficial vitamins for the skin is niacinamide. In this article, we’ll explore all the niacinamide uses, how to incorporate it in your skincare routine, the many niacinamide benefits and how to choose the best product that contains niacinamide. But first, let’s learn what niacinamide is exactly.
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is an active form of vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid). It’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it can’t dissolve in oil. This is one of the reasons why niacinamide is commonly found in serums which are water-based. Niacinamide has been used for its brightening and skin-enhancing benefits for a long time. Since it’s a stable ingredient which is not affected by environmental properties such as light and oxidation, it’s easy to use and highly practical.
What makes it an amazing ingredient for other skincare products is its neutral pH. A neutral pH denotes that the ingredient is non-acidic, meaning it’s less likely to irritate the skin and cause certain reactions.
Niacinamide is naturally formed in our bodies when we eat certain foods which are high in niacin. When niacin enters the body, it’s converted into active niacinamide.
But don’t worry! You don’t have to purchase any food supplements or eat excessive amounts of mushrooms to notice the benefits that come from using niacinamide. When applied topically, niacinamide penetrates deeply into the skin, which allows us to experience all the wonders of this vitamin without having to pay for additional supplements.
Now that we’ve covered the actual process behind the application of niacinamide, let’s explore all the benefits this ingredient has to offer and all the ways it can be of help for your skin.
Many of us have experienced hyperpigmentation, in one form or another, in our skincare journey. And what we can all agree on is the fact that it’s a skin condition which is definitely not easy to deal with. There is enough scientific data to conclude that niacinamide can help treat pigmentation and skin spots.
All of us get wrinkles and fine lines at one point in their life. But what if you can delay this natural process, or even treat its symptoms?
Significant improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles has been noted with regular use of niacinamide - even after as little as four weeks of usage. This makes us question what exactly niacinamide does that provide such astounding results?
Apparently, niacinamide increases collagen production. Collagen is a naturally-occurring protein in our skin, but the amount of collagen we produce decreases as we age. We should do as much as we can to preserve our collagen levels so that we can help our skin. An easy way to accomplish that is by adding a product that contains niacinamide in our skincare routine. Using at least 5 percent of niacinamide concentration should easily provide amazing results.
The benefit of using niacinamide for its anti-aging properties as opposed to another product like retinol is that by using niacinamide you’re going to use a product that contains a myriad of other benefits as well. So, by treating fine lines and wrinkles, you’ll also be treating any hyperpigmentation you may have since collagen works on that condition as well.
Sebum is the oily substance created by the sebaceous glands which keep our skin and hair moisturized at all times. If you have acne and oily skin, then you will certainly benefit from niacinamide, because using niacinamide on a regular basis can have a positive effect on your sebum levels. In that regard, we can say that niacinamide works similarly to retinols and even oral medication like Accutane, only without the added risk of drying out your skin or negative side-effects.
Many things can cause your skin to become red, like an allergic reaction or a sunburn. Rosacea could also be the underlying cause behind the redness you’re experiencing. Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder that has similar symptoms to adult acne, which is one of the reasons why it’s so often misdiagnosed. The symptoms of rosacea include:
So, how can niacinamide help in this particular case? It’s been proven that niacinamide reduces the amount of redness which patients experience. It improves red and patchy skin, which is why it’s so commonly prescribed as a treatment for rosacea. You might be wondering why niacinamide is so effective. One of the reasons why it’s assumed to help to this extent is because it can improve the function of the skin barrier, which leads us onto the next benefit from regular niacinamide application.
Many things can weaken our skin barrier: improper treatment, using harsh products for a prolonged period of time or skin conditions which remain untreated. How can you know that your skin barrier has been damaged? Here are the most common signs of a damaged skin barrier:
If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, chances are your skin barrier has taken a hit. One of the many ways you can improve the effectiveness of the skin barrier is by using less harsh products and trying out a natural skincare line.
Another option is to simply introduce niacinamide in your regular skincare regime. Not only is this product effective, but it won’t take a toll on your bank account as a skin treatment would. Niacinamide will help with symptoms of dehydration – it will reduce the water loss in your skin. In addition, it increases the moisture in the outermost layer of the skin, which can thicken the barrier and make it less sensitive.
Acne is extremely hard to deal with. It takes a toll on the person suffering from this annoying skin condition, both physically and mentally. In some cases, it’s not something we can control, since genetics play a large part in the appearance of acne. However, we certainly can do something about the way our skin responds to acne and help this process.
How does niacinamide come to the picture? Due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can both treat the skin and prevent acne from forming, especially if you combine it with other acne-fighting ingredients like zinc or sulfur. You get the best of both worlds – a product that will help with moderate acne but isn’t as harsh on the skin like many other skin treatments are. Niacinamide helps acne to a certain extent, but for more persistent acne, it’s always a good idea to visit a dermatologist.
We touched on this benefit when we were talking about the benefits of niacinamide regarding the skin barrier. Studies show that using as little as two percent niacinamide can decrease water loss in the skin and improve hydration levels. If you have dry skin, you know how difficult it can be at times. You may layer many skincare products on top of each other, but your skin still feels tight and dry after you’re done with the final step of your skincare routine.
Dry skin is tricky to deal with, but not impossible. This is when niacinamide comes to the rescue. Applying it regularly can result in improved function of the skin barrier and higher levels of hydration within the outermost layer of skin.
Shrinking your pores is not an easy task. And there are so many products out there that are supposed to help with it, but rarely do they achieve the desired effect. But don’t worry, niacinamide has come to the rescue. At this point, you’re probably wondering: Is there something niacinamide can’t do?
It’s been proven by multiple studies that niacinamide helps with reducing pore size and improving skin texture. This, in turn, will allow for better application of makeup, so you could also make the claim that niacinamide works as a makeup primer. The list of benefits from this product seems to be endless.
How does niacinamide help with pore size? As we’ve mentioned, it helps reduce sebum production. One of the many benefits of this process is the reduction in pore size – pores look bigger when they’re filled with excessive sebum and dead skin. This means that the less oil we have, the smaller our pores will look. For this particular reason, people with oily skin tend to have bigger pores.
We all know how important applying sun protection is. One of the many benefits of doing so is protection against harmful UV rays. Not using sunscreen on a regular basis can lead to many nasty side-effects, like rapid aging and sunspots.
You could also avoid these side-effects by using niacinamide on a regular basis. Apparently, it aids the repair of our DNA that’s suffered some UV damage. What’s even more surprising is that because of its ability to prevent photocarcinogenesis, it’s also a promising tool in the protection against skin cancer.
If you want to enjoy all these benefits from niacinamide, it’s important to learn how to properly implement it in your skincare routine.
One of the most efficient ways is by using it in conjunction with other amazing ingredients for the skin. Many products that contain niacinamide already come with a cocktail mix of helpful ingredients, so it’s going to be relatively easy for you to find your optimal match.
If you want to achieve the best results you possibly can use it alongside other products that can help with any issues you’re facing. Apply it twice a day on a cleansed face and follow it up with a good moisturizer or serum.
Remember, niacinamide can only do so much. The extent to which it’s going to help you also depends on other lifestyle factors, like a proper, balanced diet full of healthy fats rich in omega-3, vegetables and fruits, regular exercise, healthy sleeping patterns and minimized stress levels.
You can also purchase an under-eye cream that contains niacinamide. It will have the same benefits as it would if applied on the face, except the formula is different for the under-eye area since the skin is much gentler and more fragile. Using it regularly can improve texture, wrinkles and dark circles.
Getting plenty of vitamin B-3 in your diet is not difficult, provided that you eat a balanced and healthy diet. If you want to take oral supplements, you can, but you must be diagnosed with a deficiency first.
If you want to increase the amount of B-3 you’re taking in, eat a diet rich in B-3. It can be found in the following food:
However, the best way to make sure your skin is getting the proper benefits from niacinamide is to apply it topically.
There isn’t one correct answer to this question. If you’re using pure solutions, you can apply them twice a day. If, however, you’re using niacinamide in a serum, then it’s best to follow instructions. Some serums shouldn’t be applied in the morning, so you’ll want to stick to applying it at night time.
One of the most confusing aspects of niacinamide is choosing the right concentration for your particular skin type. Certain products contain 10% niacinamide, which is widely regarded as the most effective one. However, in some studies we’ve mentioned, the participants used only 4% niacinamide and they still had outstanding results. How much you’ll need also depends on what your end goal is, so the amount you should use varies individually.
In terms of products that have many ingredients, how can you pick one that contains a high amount of niacinamide if it’s not acknowledged? The answer is simple: just look at how far up in the ingredients list it appears. If you want higher concentrations, it should be close to the top of the list.
We’ve enumerated so many benefits that come from incorporating niacinamide in your skincare routine. But are there any possible side-effects from applying niacinamide topically?
It might sound like it’s too good to be true, but, according to experts on the subject, niacinamide has basically no side-effects. Experts claim that it can be used in high doses without needing to worry about suffering from any potential side-effects. Topical application seems to be pretty much harmless. Supplementing is another issue, and it’s best to follow the instructions carefully if you choose to supplement.
It’s a safe ingredient to use on your skin, that’s a fact. But, just in case, if you have sensitive skin, you should do a patch test before applying it all over your face. Simply add a small amount of the ingredient on one area on your face for a couple of days and notice if there are any adverse reactions. If there aren’t, proceed to put it all over your face.
Higher concentrations of niacinamide are more likely to bring side-effects, so it’s best to stick to 10% or below.
If you do notice some irritation, redness or stinging sensations after you’ve applied niacinamide, stop using the product and switch to another that contains niacinamide but has a different formula.
One thing we can safely conclude is that there’s virtually no harm in giving this product a go. Niacinamide has many uses, it’s affordable, easy to find and even easier to incorporate in your everyday routine. No matter what skin issue you’re currently facing, niacinamide can be of help since it contains such an extensive list of potential benefits. Even if you don’t have any skin problems, you can still use it as a preventative measure or just to spice things up.
Will you be trying niacinamide for skin in the future?