How Niacinamide Helps Skin
Niacinamide is a skin care ingredient worthy of your attention and your skin will love you for using it. Among a handful of other amazing skin care ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C, niacinamide is a standout because of its versatility for almost any skin care concern and skin type.
As many of you know about us, but for those who don’t, the conclusions we make about any ingredient are always based on what the published research has shown to be true—and the research about niacinamide unanimously demonstrates how special it is. New research keeps showing it’s one of the most exciting skin care ingredients around.
What is Niacinamide?
Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide, niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly improve enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and a weakened surface.
Niacinamide also reduces the impact of environmental damage because of its ability to improve skin’s barrier (its first line of defense), plus it also plays a role in helping skin to repair signs of past damage. Left unchecked, this type of daily assault makes skin appear older, dull, and less radiant.
Why You Should Use Niacinamide
As you might have gathered, we’re very impressed with all that niacinamide can do for skin when applied via skin care products like toners, serums, and highly concentrated skin care boosters. Niacinamide is uniquely compatible with any of the products in your skin care routine, including those that contain retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHA, vitamin C, and all types of antioxidants.
You can use multiple niacinamide-containing products in your routine, and it will still be non-sensitizing as this ingenious B vitamin is well tolerated by all skin types. It’s even suitable for use by those with sensitive or rosacea-prone skin.
Other helpful benefits of niacinamide are that it helps renew and restore the surface of skin against moisture loss and dehydration by helping skin improve its natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides. When ceramides become depleted over time, skin is left vulnerable to all sorts of problems, from persistent patches of dry, flaky skin to increasingly becoming extra-sensitive.
If you struggle with dry skin, topical application of niacinamide has been shown to boost the hydrating ability of moisturizers so skin’s surface can better resist the moisture loss that leads to recurrent dry, tight, flaky skin. Niacinamide works brilliantly with common moisturizer ingredients like glycerin, non-fragrant plant oils, cholesterol, sodium PCA, and sodium hyaluronate.
How does niacinamide help pores? Great question, although the answer here isn’t certain. Simply put, research hasn’t come to a full understanding about how this B vitamin works its pore-reducing magic, but it does! It seems that niacinamide has a normalizing ability on the pore lining, and that this influence plays a role in keeping debris from getting backed up, which leads to clogs and rough, bumpy skin. As the clog forms and worsens, the pores stretch to compensate, and what you’ll see is enlarged pores. By helping things get back to normal, niacinamide use helps pores return to their normal size.
How to Use Niacinamide
Using niacinamide is as easy as finding great skin care products that contain it along with other beneficial ingredients like antioxidants, skin-restoring agents, and other skin-replenishing ingredients.
This multi-ingredient approach to skin care is important because as great as niacinamide is for skin, it’s not the only ingredient skin needs to look and feel its best. Think of it like your diet—as healthy as kale is, if kale was all you ate, you’d soon become malnourished because your body needs more than one healthy food to maintain itself. The same is true for skin, the body’s largest (and most exposed) organ!
For best results, use leave-on products with niacinamide and apply them to cleansed skin twice daily. That might mean you apply a toner with niacinamide immediately after cleansing to rehydrate and replenish skin. You could also try a niacinamide serum as part of your morning routine, before sunscreen. Our 10% Niacinamide Booster can be used on its own (much like a serum) or mixed into your favorite moisturizer, based on personal preference. Experiment to see what works best for your skin!
You can use niacinamide-containing products around your eyes, too. Some might find applying a moisturizer or eye cream with niacinamide helps improve the look of under eye circles, helps soften the appearance of crow’s feet, not to mention enables this delicate area to retain skin-smoothing moisture and resist loss of firmness.
There’s no reason to wait to add niacinamide to your skin care routine. This wonderfully versatile B vitamin brings many topical benefits to improve skin’s appearance, so it appears more even, brighter, and younger. As with any great skin care ingredient, it’s important to be diligent about protecting skin daily with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. This allows you to get maximum benefit from niacinamide and other proven skin savers.
References for this information:
Experimental Dermatology, February 2019, Supplement 1, pages 15-22; and October 2018, ePublication
Dermatologic Therapy, September 2017, ePublication
Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 2017, page S116
International Journal of Pharmaceutics, March 2017, pages 158-162; and January 2013, Pages 192-201
Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America, May 2016 , pages 145-152
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, July 2015, pages 405-412
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2014, pages 311-315
International Journal of Pharmacy, January 2013, pages 192-201
Dermatoendrocrinology, July 2012, pages 308-319
Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 31, Part 2, 2005, Discussion 865
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, October 2004, pages 231-238
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2004, pages 88-93
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!