In our never-ending pursuit of the smoothest, tautest, brightest and clearest skin, there’s always room for a little niacinamide. It’s one of those much-buzzed-about super ingredients (like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid) that transforms your skincare regimen into a proactive defense against signs of aging. Think of it like the age-old adage: if the best defense is a good offense, niacinamide is your power forward.
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3. When applied topically, it can produce noticeable results that range from more resilient skin to a reduction in dark spots, as well as tempered oil production. Read on to learn the benefits of niacinamide, how to use it most effectively, and the best niacinamide products for experiencing these anti-aging perks.
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The Benefits of Using Niacinamide
1. Boosts barrier functions: Niacinamide improves skin’s core barrier function, which is to lock moisture inside, according to a study published in 2005. This effect also helps to prevent outside irritants from wreaking havoc on your skin.
2. Decreases the appearance of pores: Niacinamide can make the pores appear smaller, thus improving the surface texture and clarity of the skin.
3. Increases skin resilience: Niacinamide makes skin more buoyant and durable by boosting keratin production, which improves your skin’s firmness and ability to heal.
4. Controls oil production: Niacinamide can help regulate overproductive sebum glands and tone one’s overall complexion.
5. Reduces inflammation: Niacinamide has been proven to calm extreme cases of inflammation, as with severe acne or eczema.
6. Brighten complexion: Niacinamide can help reduce dark spots. High concentrations of niacinamide can also reduce stubborn sunspots and hyperpigmentation. (You’ll typically find these results in formulas that include over 5 percent of the ingredient.)
7. Universal application: Niacinamide works on all skin types. It also works alongside almost all other active skincare ingredients, too (even the volatile vitamin C), making it an easy addition to your regimen.
How to Use Niacinamide
Most often, you’ll find niacinamide in serums designed to be applied to the skin before a moisturizer. You will likely see it listed in other products, like moisturizers, peels, or even cleansers, but its impact will be less felt if it is not a key ingredient or is washed away after application. In general, serums are the best way to use niacinamide in skincare, followed by moisturizers and moisture masks.
You can use niacinamide in the morning or evening, but if you experience any sensitivities to it, you should either consider lowering the concentration of niacinamide or using it in the evening. (Light redness should clear up quickly but is generally of less concern in the evening before bed, since you can sleep it away.) And because niacinamide works well with pretty much all other skincare ingredients, you can easily incorporate it into your regimen without worrying that it will throw off your existing balance.
The Best Niacinamide Skincare Products
The INKEY List Niacinamide Serum
Not sure where to start? Think of this simple serum as the least disruptive way to add a niacinamide booster to your regimen. You can blend it in your palm with another serum, or apply it on its own. It won’t deliver the same results as a higher-end serum, but you will benefit from utilizing the ingredient on a daily basis, for the long term.
PCA Skin Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum
If you want a high-powered defense against dark spots and hyperpigmentation, all routes run through PCA Skin. This serum gives its high-potency B3 an assist with algae extract, peptides and green tea extract, which help promote clear, youthful radiance and the smoothing of rough, dull skin.
La Roche-Posay Oil-Free Niacinamide Moisturizer with SPF 30
This moisturizer really packs on the barrier-boosting benefits, with ceramides giving niacinamide a run for their money. It adds SPF 30 in the mix to shield against skin-aging UV rays. It’s a terrific option for people with oily skin—doubly so because the niacinamide helps to mitigate excess sebum production.
Nécessaire The Body Lotion
If you want to bring the benefits of niacinamide to the skin on your body, try this all-over moisturizer from Nécessaire. Among the many vitamins and omega fatty acids in this body-smoother, vitamin B3 plays a pivotal role. Use it from your neck to your toes, in the mornings and evenings after you scrub down—or every time you wash your hands.
Cardon Cactus Soothing Sheet Masks
These sheet masks give you a nutrient-dense dose of soothing cactus extract as well as smoothing niacinamide. Wear them once a week and let the serum soak into your skin as you catch up on your latest TV binge. Massage the excess into the skin for a restorative, routine boost. They’re also terrific after a stressful week, tedious shave, or restless night, helping calm and fortify skin for quick recovery.