Niacinamide: what is it and why should you be incorporating it into your skincare routine?

Every year or so, new skincare ingredients and products begin to make the rounds, claiming to be the latest revolutionary ware for your skin. Lately, it’s niacinamide, which seems to be having its moment, although the benefits of this water-soluble form of vitamin B3 have been known for years. 

With the help of popular skincare companies, like The Ordinary and Paula’s Choice, the skincare staple has been catapulted to the top of skin care specialists’ must-haves, with the importance of the products further broadcasted through skincare channels and accounts on the likes of YouTube and TikTok. So what does it actually do?

Niacinamide is one of two forms of vitamin B3, the other form being niacin. It can be taken by mouth for conditions like diabetes, oral cancer or osteoarthritis, or more recently, used in skin care to combat skin issues like acne or eczema. The benefits of applying niacinamide to the skin are plentiful, with the main positive effects being brightness, acne prevention, and reducing signs of ageing, and what’s more, it’s even recommended for both oily and dry skin types.

When applied topically, niacinamide decreases transepidermal water loss, in turn helping to replenish moisture to your skin barrier, while also helping to slowly boost collagen production, evening out the appearance of fine lines, pores and wrinkles. Tying in with antiaging, the restorative powers of niacinamide are second to none – with a “fountain of youth” likeness, it helps fight both internal and external stressors which can often lead to the deterioration of our skin, in turn helping to combat premature signs of aging like discolouration and wrinkles.

And because niacinamide also reduces inflammation in the skin, it can hugely help those who suffer from skin irritation in the form of redness or common skin condition Rosacea, which causes redness or small bumps on the skin. 

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Niacinamide also contains oil-balancing properties, helping to reduce overly oily skin and in turn indirectly helping to minimise acne breakouts, which generally result from the clogging of oil in our pores. Speaking of pores, another benefit of niacinamide is that it has been proven to visibly reduce the appearance of pores by means of decongestion – the less oil trapped in your pores, the smaller they appear.

So, it’s clear that niacinamide is more than just a long-sounding name – the beneficial properties for skin are endless. It’s recommended to use leave-on niacinamide products such as serums and toners, as the benefits are seen a lot more with these types of products. Products recommended to use with niacinamide include salicylic acid, also a holy grail for acne sufferers, or retinol, as niacinamide can help ease irritation to the skin caused by retinol.

We know skin care is different for everyone, and it can be frustrating splashing out on a product that costs a bomb which ends up breaking you out incessantly, so here are some of our favourite niacinamide products you can purchase without breaking the bank:

Photo by Miska Sage on Unsplash

The Ordinary – Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, €5.90 (30ml)

The Ordinary advises you to apply this to skin morning and night before any heavier creams and describes the product as a “high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula”, with the combination of niacinamide and zinc helping to balance visible aspects of sebum activity. This product – and The Ordinary in general – is an absolute holy grail for any skincare buff, and with The Ordinary’s extraordinary (ahem) low prices, it’s hard to say no.

The Inkey List – Niacinamide, €7.99 (30ml)

The Inkey List combines both niacinamide and hyaluronic acid solution in this product, to simultaneously control excess oil and target blemishes, while also hydrating and plumping skin with the help of the hyaluronic acid. A little sticky upon first application, it dries within minutes, and is recommended again to be followed up with your usual serums or creams.

Revolution – Extra 15% Niacinamide Serum, €10.99 (30ml)

Revolution Skincare has been knocking it out of the park with serums lately, but with a bit of a higher niacinamide concentration in this product, it might be wise to use it a little more conservatively as your skin gets used to it, to combat any potential skin irritation. Similar in consistency to The Ordinary’s serum, this product has received stellar reviews for the supposed immediate results after using.

Rachel McLoughlin
Rachel McLoughlin

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