Ah, niacinamide. It took me about three days to pronounce it properly but all of about three seconds to fall in love with slathering it on my mug. I’m probably not the first one to tell you that either. Niacinamide is fast becoming the biggest buzzword in the beauty industry. Forget your Kardashian approved Gran Active Retinoids and put your weird K-Beauty sheet masks to the side. If you’re starting from scratch with your beauty regime, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200. Instead, start with niacinamide.
WTF even is niacinamide?
Niacinamide, which is also sometimes called nicotinamide, is one of two major forms of vitamin B3. Both of these superhero molecules are central to the chemical reactions that your skin cells need to repair any damage (talking about those UV rays, ladies), create new, healthy cells and function normally. All of which, your cells can’t do without a little help from niacinamide.
What does niacinamide do for your skin?
Niacinamide works harder than a photographer trying to make a two-year-old smile for their family Christmas photo. A huge call, but it’s true. Not only does niacinamide normalise your skin’s oil production to keep pores squeaky clean and breakouts in check but also regulates pigment-making cells to fade hyperpigmentation. See ya later rosecea and acne!
Niacinamide is also touted for its super soothing properties. Adding a couple of drops to your skincare routine before you moisturise combats redness with niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory properties.
As if you needed more convincing, niacinamide also gives you a little extra protection from damaging free radicals. And if you don’t think free radicals are an issue, sorry honey, but you’re wrong. Free radicals are molecules that have either lost or gained an extra electron making them unstable and highly reactive. If left to escalate, they are enough to damage all of your perfectly healthy skin cells too. Luckily, niacinamide brings with it an extra electron to neutralise any free radicals and help them chill TF out.
Finally, niacinamide is one of those rare ingredients that are safe to use of all skin types. Sensitive, tight, dry, uneven, oily, honestly, whatever your target issue is, niacinamide either fixes it or won’t aggravate it any further. Oh, and did I mention it boosts your skin’s hydration levels too?
How do I use niacinamide?
Adding topical niacinamide to your skin-care routine is so easy you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Pick yourself up a niacinamide serum and apply it as direct. Boom. Done.
I’ve been using this one by The Ordinary. It has 10% Niacinamide (which is way more than most products) and 1% Zinc which helps to balance sebum activity.
While niacinamide is a low-risk addition to your routine, if you’re using a vitamin C treatment, you might want to do some rearranging. Ideally, you’d use your niacinamide in the morning and your vitamin C at night as vitamin B3 can affect the integrity of the Vitamin C.
Words by Emma Roffey