It takes a good skincare routine with the right ingredients to attain a healthy skin tone and texture. Niacinamide plays an essential role in keeping your skin healthy. That’s why it’s a popular ingredient in skincare and used by experts around the world.
So what is niacinamide and how does it improve the tone and texture of our skin?
What is niacinamide good for?
You may know that there are two forms of vitamin B3. One being nicotinic acid and the other being niacinamide. We need vitamin B3 to help our bodies convert food into usable energy and help cells carry out important chemical reactions.
While both niacinamide and nicotinic acid provide vitamin B3 activity, they have different chemical structures that affect your health. For example, niacinamide is preferred to treat a B3 deficiency when it leads to pellagra as niacinamide had fewer side effects.
Niacinamide can treat a plethora of B3 deficiencies. As well as a range of general skin health issues, including acne and eczema.
What are the niacinamide effects on your skin?
The water-soluble nutrient works with the natural substances in your skin to improve tone and texture. For example, it can help build proteins in the skin to lock in moisture and prevent skin barrier damage in several ways.
Strengthens the skin barrier
The skin barrier protects our complexion from pollution, UV rays, bacteria, and more. However, once free radicals weaken the skin barrier, we can experience irritation that leads to sensitive skin and other concerns.
Applying niacinamide can stimulate ceramide synthesis, which improves skin cell health, protects skin from damage, and promotes anti-aging. Overall, promoting the skin barrier’s function to better help your body fight off toxins.
Reduces the appearance of pores
Skin texture tends to appear rough and bumpy when oil and debris get clogged in pores. The pores then increase in size as the clog worsens. Using niacinamide routinely can help pores return to their natural size. It contains properties that can normalize the pore lining and unclog oil and dirt.
It also helps regulate sebum production to limit the amount of oil your skin produces. Niacinamide restores the strength of the skin barrier and the sebaceous glands, which produce oil. By normalizing the glands, the product can prevent and tame acne.
Higher concentrations of niacinamide can also visibly tighten pores when damaged by the sun. The sun can cause pores to stretch, leading to what some call “orange peel skin.” However, niacinamide can reinforce skin cells to improve the appearance of pores.
Our skin’s ceramides start to deplete as we age, so our skin can become dry and flaky due to moisture loss and dehydration. However, niacinamide promotes the production of ceramides and elastin, which are vital components of the skin carrier and helps to retain moisture.
Similarly, niacinamide has been shown to improve the hydrating effects of moisturizers. Applying the nutrient with hydrating ingredients, like glycerin or sodium hyaluronate, can help the skin absorb moisture to prevent dry, tight, and flaky skin.
Improves discoloration and uneven skin tone
It is thought that niacinamide helps restrain melanosomes, which produce melanin that generates pigmentation in our skin and hair. It blocks the transfer of pigment to the skin to prevent discoloration from forming.
Niacinamide can also break up existing pigmentation to create a more even and brighter skin tone. One study found that applying a niacinamide moisturizer with 5% concentration twice daily for two weeks improved hyperpigmentation.
Reverses DNA damage
Our skin can incur DNA damage without us even noticing. This is because a number of free radicals, or daily stressors, can impact our DNA, including environmental pollution and exposure to UV radiation.
When niacinamide is applied topically, it converts into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which contains potent free-radical fighting antioxidant properties. This works to reduce oxidative cellular damage within the skin that is caused by free radicals and reverse the damage.
Niacinamide has been proven to help heal acne by regulating oil production and unclogging pores. However, it can also help reduce the redness and swelling that occurs with acne. As niacinamide can strengthen the skin barrier, it prevents stinging and burning.
Its anti-inflammatory properties also decrease the severity and scarring of acne. As a result, it reduces the likelihood of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from developing.
Where does niacinamide go in your routine?
To feel the full effects of niacinamide, you should include it in your skincare routine in the order of:
- Serums, treatments, and moisturizers in order of thinnest to thickest (including niacinamide)
Niacinamide is compatible with other powerful ingredients and is often paired with hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHA, and antioxidants. However, niacinamide products are meant to be left on your skin to achieve the best results.
Using a niacinamide product like a serum, cream, or lotion is ideal, but the nutrient is available in a range of products. For example, a toner can rehydrate and replenish the skin after cleansing. Whereas an eye cream containing niacinamide can reduce the appearance of crow’s feet and dark circles.
How long does niacinamide take to work?
Based on clinical studies, it depends on the condition of your skin before you can visibly see the results of using niacinamide. In mild skincare conditions, you can visibly notice the niacinamide working within two weeks when used twice daily.
However, it may take 4-8 weeks for people with more stubborn concerns. You may need a higher concentration if you have stubborn or mature skin with advanced signs of aging or sun damage. Consider using a 20% niacinamide serum twice daily to smooth skin and improve skin firmness.