Everything you need to know about niacinamide
During the winter months, our summer glow can seem nothing but a distant memory. We may feel that our skin is leaking moisture and vitality with each passing day. Thankfully, this is where niacinamide can come in.
Now is the time to buckle up our skin defences and fortify our routines with ingredients that support the skin’s most basic function – to act as a strong and impenetrable barrier.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is top of the list when it comes to barrier-boosting ingredients. It’s a one-size-fits-all friend to skin both young and old; oily, combination and dry; and even those prone to acne, rosacea, sensitivity or hyperpigmentation. While we can get this vital vitamin from our diet, we stand to reap additional benefits when we apply it directly to our skin.
What are the benefits of niacinamide?
Strengthen your skin
Niacinamide encourages the production of the essential fats (known as ceramides) that form our skin’s barrier. If these ceramides become depleted, we’re left vulnerable to chronic dehydration, persistent patches of dry, flaky skin, and even extreme sensitivity and redness.
Strengthening the skin’s barrier can significantly improve the texture and appearance of skin on its own, but it can also make us more resilient to transformative ingredients that are trickier to tolerate (such as youth-promoting retinoids and resurfacing AHAs).
If these supercharged serums have historically left your skin sore and stinging, committing to twice daily use of a 5% niacinamide serum will lay a solid and resilient foundation to build your skincare routine from.
Say goodbye to blemishes
This trusty ingredient has a host of benefits to offer those with blemish-prone skin. When a particularly sore red spot rears its ugly head, niacinamide has been shown to quickly reduce redness and inflammation. It also helps to regulate excessive oil production, reducing the likelihood of blemishes appearing in the first place.
Niacinamide can also help to clear the damage that spots leave behind. It effectively tackles patches of post-acne pigmentation or ‘dark spots’ and higher concentrations (>5%) even help to visibly tighten pores that can stretch when repeatedly clogged, creating the appearance of ‘orange-peel’ skin.
Research has shown that niacinamide helps to regenerate the energy supplies in skin cells, fighting against signs of premature ageing. The improvements in barrier function also help to defend against the daily assault of environmental damage which, if left unchecked, can make skin appear older, dull and less radiant.
Our favourite niacinamide products
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Particularly good for oily, blemish-prone skin or those looking to refine the appearance of their pores. Here, vitamin B3 is cleverly combined with zinc, which is known to tackle troublesome T-zones and congested complexions.
Garden of Wisdom Niacinamide Serum 5%
An affordable and accessible product for those looking to strengthen sensitive skin. A great beginner serum for teens as well as adults.
SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum
A high-potency treatment for stubborn patches of pigmentation or post-blemish dark spots. This supercharged serum combines 5% niacinamide with tranexamic acid.
Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Repair Mist
This alcohol-free spritz contains a restorative blend of niacinamide, probiotics and antioxidants. Spritz liberally over freshly cleansed skin and pack in your handbag for a hydrating pick-me-up throughout the day.
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask
Looking for a bit of TLC? This luxurious-feeling mask combines niacinamide with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and naturally exfoliating chestnut extract. For best results, leave on overnight.