Skin care is like a vast ocean; the deeper you dive into it, the more treasures (ingredients) you discover. However, with umpteen formulations that target different skin concerns, you can easily get confused in understanding and choosing the best ones for yourself, especially if you’re a beginner who wants to start with just a few ingredients. But one such skincare ingredient that can be a miracle for all skin types (even sensitive) is niacinamide. And, this guide will help you know the hows and whys in a simplified way.
What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3 that has proved beneficial for our health, especially our skin. It’s an essential nutrient, the deficiency of which can affect the overall health adversely, too. However, we can reap multiple health benefits of vitamin B3 through foods like nuts, seeds, legumes and bananas. Additionally, the best way to enrich our skin with this vitamin is by incorporating niacinamide into our skin care routines.
Benefits of niacinamide for skin
With a lot of proven advantages, niacinamide has plenty of benefits for the skin. It maintains the overall health of our skin by fighting various skin conditions and has a hydrating and soothing effect. Its other benefits are as follows.
1. Niacinamide works amazingly for all kinds of pore issues. It unclogs pores, helping the skin absorb much-needed nutrients and moisture from skincare products. It also diminishes their size and prevents enlarged pores.
2. It also helps in controlling oil secretion and sebum production by regulating the work of our sebaceous glands. This leads to a clean, naturally radiant and healthy-looking skin.
3. Niacinamide is known to reduce inflammation and redness, which makes it a great skin care product for people suffering from acne, eczema and rosacea among other such skin conditions.
4. It also helps in reducing hyperpigmentation. Be it spots, blemishes or discolouration, niacinamide lightens them and evens out skin tone when used consistently over a few weeks.
5. Niacinamide also diminishes the appearance of signs of ageing like age spots, dullness, fine lines and wrinkles. It further promotes elasticity in the skin and boosts collagen production, which leads to a firmer and younger-looking skin texture.
6. Protecting our skin against oxidative stress, niacinamide also fights free radicals caused due to environmental stressors like pollution, toxins and sun damage.
Side effects of niacinamide
Topical use of niacinamide is generally considered safe without any side effects. However, you can always do a patch test by applying a pea-sized amount of the product on the inside of your forearm and wait for 24 hours to see your skin’s reaction.
If you have any pre-existing allergies, consult your dermatologist before buying any skincare product.
Mixing niacinamide with other ingredients
Niacinamide can be mixed easily with most active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, zinc, peptides, ceramides, retinol and alpha arbutin. Kojic acid, licorice, rice water, avocado oil and golden kiwi fruit are some other natural ingredients that niacinamide works well with. When used alongside such components, it has proven to give optimal results.
For instance, when paired with hyaluronic acid, which is known for locking in moisture and improving skin texture, niacinamide can have a better effect on the skin. When mixed with vitamin C, it enhances oil control and its skin brightening effect. Similarly, combining it with retinol can help in reducing the signs of ageing. Niacinamide also helps ease irritation, redness and dryness caused by retinol.
How is it typically used?
To reap the benefits of niacinamide, you can incorporate it into your skin care routine in the form of a potent serum, a moisturiser or a lotion. It absorbs easily into your skin and can be used daily. When layering it with other formulations, go in the order of the thinnest to thickest texture. For instance, if you’re using a niacinamide serum, apply it on a cleansed face (or on top of vitamin C serum) before the moisturiser.
Make sure to introduce this ingredient in your skin care routine in low concentrations (if you’re a beginner) to let your skin get used to it and then gradually increase it over time. Remember to finish your morning skin care with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Here are some of the best niacinamide serums to pick your favourite from
(Main Image Courtesy: First Aid Beauty ; Featured Image Courtesy: Glow Recipe)
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Question: How to use the Minimalist niacinamide serum?
Answer: You can use the Minimalist niacinamide serum every day, in the morning and at night. On a cleansed and toned face, apply two to three drops of the serum, and let it fully absorb into the skin. Follow it up with an oil-based serum (optional), a moisturiser and a sunscreen.
Question: Can I use niacinamide every day?
Answer: Yes, you can use a niacinamide-based product or serum twice every day.
Question: How long does it take to see results?
Answer: Every product affects the skin differently, depending on the skin type and conditions. However, one usually starts noticing the results after two to four weeks of consistent use (depending on the concentration of the product and the severity of your skin issues). You might also notice more changes post eight weeks of regular usage. It is important to stick to your routine and be patient.
If you don’t see any change post that, you may consult your dermatologist for a better and deeper assessment. They would advise you on what products to use, dietary changes (if any) and changes you can make to your lifestyle for healthy skin.
Question: How to pick the right niacinamide product?
Answer: While choosing the best niacinamide product, always pay attention to its concentration. Anything above 10 percent can be harmful to the skin and can cause redness, itchiness or burning. The most ideal percentage to use is five, and if you’re a beginner or have sensitive skin, two to three percent can be suitable.
The next thing to keep in mind is if it is formulated with other ingredients or not. While niacinamide has multiple benefits of its own, it gives better results when paired with other ingredients. While you can layer products, look for other components that are blended with niacinamide and pick a product that addresses your skin concerns accordingly.
Question: How to apply a niacinamide serum?
Answer: Always start with a cleansed (and toned) face and apply the niacinamide serum before any thick-textured and oil-based serums and moisturisers. Take two to three drops of the serum in your palms and slightly rub them together to spread it before applying it to your face. Now gently massage or dab the serum on your skin with your palms, and let it dry.