Niacinamide is the ingredient you’ve probably heard of (and the one we’ve been on about if you’ve been watching our past few TikTok Lives), but perhaps still don’t know a lot about due to its ‘insider’ status. It enjoyed a moment in the sun during the Covid ‘maskne’ days thanks to its wide-ranging benefits, but because it’s not the primary ingredient in a lot of skincare, it gets overlooked.
However, now that it’s time to update your skincare (check out our autumn skincare blogs a few posts back), there’s never been a better time to get up to speed with this hero ingredient. Why? Because it benefits all skin types and all skin concerns. That’s right – whether you’re oily, have dull, textured skin or have hyperpigmentation, niacinamide can help.
What is niacinamide and why should I use it?
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and is sometimes called nicotinamide. It’s water-soluble, which means it isn’t naturally stored in our bodies and we need to replenish its levels, either through foods such as fruit and vegetables or topically via skincare products. It’s known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin-brightening benefits and works in harmony with the skin’s natural substances (like ceramides) to tackle a whole host of concerns. What’s more, you can layer it with pretty much any other active, and its suitable for sensitive and rosacea-prone skin.
Benefit #1: It protects the skin barrier
Niacinamide’s number-one benefit is that it helps protect the skin barrier by supporting the skin’s production of natural ceramides, which are essential for optimum skin barrier function: without it, you’ll have some serious dry, irritated skin. If you are prone to dry skin, niacinamide is a great ingredient to incorporate into your routine as it’s been proven to boost the hydrating properties of some moisturisers, which in turn keeps your skin’s moisture levels in check by preventing trans epidermal water loss (that’s water loss through the top layers of skin). As if that wasn’t enough, niacinamide’s antioxidant properties mean it protects skin from free radical damage, much the same way as vitamin C does.
Benefit #2: Reduces pore size
While conclusive research on this benefit is a bit unclear, it has been observed that niacinamide has a normalising effect on the pore lining, which means it helps enlarged pores that may have become stretched due to clogs caused by debris or acne ‘shrink’ down to a smaller size.
Benefit #3: Helps control oil production
Related to the above benefit is niacinamide’s ability to help control excess sebum (AKA oil) production. Excess sebum production in breakout-prone skin types can mean pores become stretched, not least because more oil = more pore clogs = stretched pores. By reducing pore size, niacinamide in turn helps refine and smooth skin texture.
Benefit #4: Helps with pigmentation and discolouration
Niacinamide’s last weapon in its skincare arsenal is around pigmentation and discolouration. Both these skin concerns are caused by excess melanin (skin pigment), which is often a result of sun damage. Results from clinical trials have shown that niacinamide played a role in reducing pigmentation and dark spots on participants’ skin, and it’s thought that this could be because it reduces the transfer of cells that cause pigmentation (called melanocytes) and reduces overall melanin production.
How do I use niacinamide?
The best way to deliver niacinamide to the skin is typically via a toner, concentrate or serum – basically anything that stays on your skin, as niacinamide is known to penetrate the skin well.
As noted above, niacinamide also makes for a great pairing with your other active ingredients and is often found alongside ingredients like retinol, and glycolic and salicylic acids. Check out our must-have Nip + Fab niacinamide products below.
Retinol Fix Booster Extreme
Containing a real powerhouse of ingredients for supple, renewed skin. Niacinamide works alongside retinoids to help boost ceramide and collagen production, as well as reduce pigmentation and fine lines.
Salicylic Fix Concentrate Extreme
While salicylic acid flushes out pores to reduce blemishes and breakouts, niacinamide gets to work on regulating sebum production and helping normalise pore size, as well as reducing any redness. A breakout-prone skin is must-have.
Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme
A true Nip + Fab bestseller with a holy trinity of ingredients. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid help to break down build up within skin and within pores respectively, while niacinamide helps to shrink down those enlarged pores, resulting in smoother, more even skin.
Niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory power comes into its own with this hybrid SPF moisturiser. It works to reduce any redness and strengthen the skin barrier, while also working on any discolouration and pigmentation.
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