WHAT IS NIACINAMIDE?
Niacinamide is a derivative of niacin (vitamin B3). “Niacinamide is a vital part of your diet, required throughout life to maintain health. It’s found in foods such as grains, fish, meat, and beans in the form of niacin and is then converted into niacinamide,” explains Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice. “Not much of the niacinamide we consume from foods or supplements makes its way to our skin. Therefore, topical application is a great way to get its numerous skin benefits.”
BENEFITS OF NIACINAMIDE FOR SKIN
“When applied topically, niacinamide enhances moisture levels, improves texture and helps to strengthen and repair your skin barrier,” says Dr. Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare. It’s the latter that gives niacinamide serious kudos among dermatologists.
“The stress of modern living combined with the environmental aggressors around us can play havoc on our skin. This leads to premature ageing, pigmentation, irritation and breakouts,” explains Dr. Murad. Studies have shown that niacinamide helps to ease fine lines and wrinkles over time. “It also has the ability to soothe skin by strengthening the barrier,” adds Dr. Murad A strong, healthy barrier helps to lock-in moisture and keep bad bacteria out. It also helps to minimise inflammation, which is often an underlying cause of many skin issues. If you regularly battle with breakouts niacinamide’s anti-bacterial benefits will help to rebalance your oil production, ease congestion and refine your pores.
SIDE EFFECTS OF NIACINAMIDE
Niacinamide is one of the very few ingredients that has next-to-no side effects and really is a universal crowd-pleaser. “Everyone can achieve great results whether they have dry skin, oily skin, acne, signs of aging, skin discolorations, or clogged pores,” Paula confirms. “Personally, I use the water-light Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster, $57.00. It can be mixed in with other products without noticing you’ve added an extra step to your routine.”
HOW TO USE NIACINAMIDE IN YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
As we mentioned, niacinamide is likely to feature somewhere in your routine already. For example, Murad Nutrient-Charged Water Gel, N/A contains it to help boost moisture levels, but niacinamide isn’t mentioned in the product name. Check the ingredients list on the back of your products for niacinamide or vitamin B3.
There is a rumour that niacinamide and vitamin C shouldn’t be used together, but BeautyStat founder Ron Robinson dispelled this skincare myth for us and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Dark Spots Niacinamide Serum, $27.50 blends 4% niacinamide with 1% vitamin C to lift pigmentation. In terms of where niacinamide slots into your routine, we recommend using it after cleansing and toning before your usual treatments. Wait until the formula has fully absorbed before using your moisturiser or SPF.
Our Favourite Niacinamide Products
Not sure which niacinamide serum or cream to opt for? We asked the team to outline the three formulas that they recommend to their friends...
The Pro-Strength Formula: Allies of Skin Prebiotics & Niacinamide Pore Refining Booster, $84.50
You’ve heard about the benefits and now you want the maximum dose of niacinamide available? Don’t ponder this purchase for too long as Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 20% Treatment regularly sells out. It’s a fantastic option for anyone who is concerned about the appearance of pores, sun damage or sagging.
The Buyers’ Favourite: Allies of Skin Prebiotics & Niacinamide Pore Refining Booster, $84.50
Allies of Skin is a brand that rarely launches a new product, so when it does you know its going to be good. This prebiotic and niacinamide booster is brimming with nourishing and rebalancing ingredients that help to strengthen your skin barrier, refine pores and ease pigmentation. You can use it as part of your morning and evening routine.
The Budget-Friendly Option: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $6.50
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum was always going to be in our edit of the best niacinamide products. Blended with zinc salts, this serum is a very good at calming inflammation and rebalancing oily skin to squash impending breakouts. Our head of editorial, Liz Hambleton has tried plenty of products in her time at Space NK and previously when she worked as beauty director at Grazia and swears by this particular niacinamide serum.
Verdict On Niacinamide Skin Benefits
The chat around niacinamide skin benefits is largely focused on curbing oily skin and refining pores, but we would recommend almost everyone incorporates it into their routine. A strong skin barrier is essential for a healthy, radiant complexion and using a niacinamide serum regularly can help strengthen yours. For us, it’s up there with hyaluronic acid and we all remember the first time with used a HA serum and were blown away with the smooth, soft results.
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