Skincare is a balancing act.
Striking an appropriate equilibrium is a matter of incorporating high-quality ingredients according to your skin type in the right sequence and at the right time of day.
While streamlining your daily skin care routine can seem like a daunting task, the modern-day skin care and cosmeceuticals industry is rife with products that will help you enhance your skin's health. One of the most powerful tools in your skincare arsenal? Niacinamide.
What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is also referred to as Vitamin B3. This ingredient is known to have a water-soluble tendency. In simpler words, it can work up with the natural elements of the skin to help repair various skin woes.
With its commendable anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, niacinamide is known as a healing ingredient. It promotes the improvement of broken/ damaged skin barrier- practically the first line of defence of the skin. Adding more to it, this healing component visibly reduces fine line and wrinkles, tightens enlarged pores and evens out the skin tone by boosting skin cell turnover.
Keep reading to understand each of the benefits in detail followed by how to find the perfect niacinamide product for your skin! (Look for an important ‘note’ below.)
5 Powerful Benefits of Niacinamide
When it comes to your skin's health, niacinamide is anything but a one-note concert. The benefits of topical niacinamide use are numerous. They include:
1. Reduces hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation- the dark, uneven patches on the skin appear due to excessive melanin production. This can be because of multiple factors such as prolonged unprotected sun exposure or hormonal imbalance or in some cases, both.
Chill! With Niacinamide it is not going to last forever!
Research exhibits that Niacinamide helps to reduce the production of melanin by inhibiting its creation at the cellular level. Niacinamide works to stop melanocytes from interacting with keratinocytes, thus spreading melanin through the skin's surface.
2. Boosts Skin Radiance
Our body has its own natural way of keeping the skin healthy and smooth; skin cell turnover. But as we age, the turnover rate declines, resulting in the accumulation of dead cells and excessive sebum. This eventually leads to dull skin.
To boost this up, topical Niacinamide is the best tool!
Clinical studies have proven the effectiveness of niacinamide in brightening skin by improving skin cell turnover rate. Therefore, not only does niacinamide reduce the sallow, sunken look of unhealthy skin promoting a healthy glow, it actively helps rebuild the body's natural defences.
3. Counteracts Premature Skin Aging
Noticing fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, saggy skin and enlarged pores in your 20s?
Well, free radicals from the polluted environment, hyped stress levels, affected skin cell turnover as discussed above and unprotected sun exposure can be the possible culprits.
Don’t worry, Niacinamide contains antioxidants!
This means when applied to the skin's surface in the form of serum, niacinamide changes into a compound called NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) which helps to eliminate free radicals, all while blocking harmful exposure to the sun's UV rays. It also helps rejuvenate skin’s barrier and replenish hydration levels by boosting elastin and ceramides production in the skin. This helps in fading away the prominent signs of premature aging.
4. Enhances Barrier Functions
Broken skin barrier is apparent with dry, rough and dehydrated skin. It is prone to TransEpidermal Water Loss (TEWL)- difficulty retaining skin’s moisture.
Relax, Niacinamide is a popular healer!
Regular use of niacinamide helps the body create two key components that protect your skin's outer layer: ceramides and elastin. Topical niacinamide spurs the body to produce these crucial compounds, which in turn help tighten and strengthen the skin, sealing in precious hydration while blocking out harmful UV rays, environmental pollution, and other factors that cause oxidative stress on your skin.
5. Calms irritated and inflamed Skin
As discussed before, sebum is the oil that your skin naturally produces. It helps to regulate your skin’s texture. Too little sebum, and your skin's texture becomes dry and scaly. Too much, and you set the stage for an acne breakout.
Niacinamide serves to balance sebum production.
The anti-inflammatory properties of niacinamide help to counteract these breakouts. Topical products like serums work to keep inflammation from happening at the cellular level, reducing reddened, aggravated skin, psoriasis, and acne breakouts right at the source.
Now a major concern arises- how to find niacinamide according to your skin type. Get ready, all your queries are answered below.
Choosing the Right Niacinamide Concentration for Your Skin
In terms of your skin's health, topical niacinamide is an incredible source of vitamin B3 which is crucial to the skin's outer layer and overall moisture retention. When it comes to niacinamide, however, not all products are created equal. Finding the ideal product is a matter of finding the right niacinamide concentration, then working it into your existing skin care regimen effectively. Here are some things that you should keep in mind when you are choosing a product that's right for your needs.
Niacinamide should not be confused with niacin. Niacin is a more commonly found version of vitamin B3. While the two are different items at heart, it should be noted that your body is able to take niacin from food intake and synthesize it into niacinamide if large enough quantities are present.
Overusing Does Not Provide Additional Benefits
There's an old saying: too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. Although topical products containing niacinamide may seem like a silver bullet in terms of skin care, they require careful use in order to retain their effectiveness.
Instead of adding benefits, overuse can actually trigger additional side effects, including:
- Skin irritation
- Allergic reactions
- Stinging sensations
If you experience any of these side effects, consider reducing your frequency of use, the concentration of the product that you use, or even discontinuing use altogether.
Concentrations Between 3-5% are ideal
Unsure of what concentration is right for you? Never fear, most of the products on the market fall between the 3-5% range —and with good reason.
Use anything above 5%, and you run the risk of experiencing skin irritations and other reactions. Below 3% and the product loses its effectiveness; it is too diluted to do any good. Look for products that fall within the sweet spot, 3-5%.
How to combine Niacinamide with other active ingredients
Niacinamide topicals are extremely effective when it comes to locking in moisture and promoting your natural glow, but sometimes they don't interact well with other ingredients. Take caution when pairing niacinamide topicals with the following:
- Ethyl ascorbic acid
- Azelaic acid
For example, ethyl ascorbic acid (vitamin C) does not combine well with niacinamide. Together, the two cause increased irritation, flushing, and can even worsen skin issues such as rosacea. This is primarily due to the fact that both compounds have a different pH value, causing them to work against one another rather than improving the health of your skin.
Compounds such as BHA and AHA aren't strictly a no-go when mixed with niacinamide, but you have to pay careful attention to the timing of their use. If used one right after the other, AHA, BHA, and niacinamide can cause minor skin irritations. Instead, try to stagger their use at least 30 minutes apart. Better still, use the topical niacinamide in the morning and your AHA/ BHA products at night.
The same goes for Vitamin C, or even azelaic acid, which should be staggered or administered at alternate points in the day in order to maximize their effectiveness while reducing irritation.
Incorporating Niacinamide Into Your Daily Routine
Niacinamide provides incredible benefits to your skin. It can help reduce and eliminate free radicals, easing wrinkles and age marks while simultaneously protecting you from the sun's harmful UV rays. It helps bring out your skin's natural glow by regulating the epidermis' sebum production while locking in that moisture with a protective barrier. In short, niacinamide should be a key part of everyone's daily skin care regimen.