Ingredients Deep Dive: Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a multi-functional, superstar skincare ingredient, well tolerated by all skin types and beneficial for lots of skin concerns. Let’s take a deep dive and find out all about it. 

believe in ingredients: niacinamide

Niacinamide is a multi-functional, superstar skincare ingredient, well tolerated by all skin types and beneficial for lots of skin concerns. Let’s take a deep dive and find out all about it. 

What Is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble B3 vitamin that is essential for maintaining healthy looking skin. It works with the skin to minimise the appearance of pores, soften fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dullness, improve skin tone and redness and strengthen the skin barrier. 

Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues but are not stored in the body – therefore, levels must be replenished daily via a healthy, balanced diet and topical skincare. 

How Do I Boost Niacinamide In My Skin?

Your body can produce niacinamide from tryptophan – an amino acid – but the majority of vitamin b3 must be obtained through diet. Niacinamide is found in many foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, green vegetables, and fortified in cereals. Eating a balanced diet is the best way to ensure optimum levels of micronutrients. However, the best way to ensure niacinamide is targeting skin concerns is to apply it topically. 

SkinBase Hydro

Hydro is the latest treatment from SkinBase, and it is all about the ingredients! Designed to cleanse, exfoliate, purify, hydrate and revitalise the skin in a single multi-step treatment. SkinBase Hydro involves a choice of three serums, to personalise the treatment to your specific skin concerns. The clarifying serum is packed full of powerful natural ingredients, including niacinamide, and is the perfect choice if you want to renew and restore your acne-prone skin. The serum is applied with a handset using a vacuum action during treatment. The niacinamide and the other active ingredients are delivered more effectively into the skin as the vacuum helps to enhance absorption and penetration. The vacuum action also stimulates blood flow and lymphatic drainage, promoting detoxification and improving circulation. Find out more about SkinBase Hydro in the treatments hub.

What Should My Skincare Label Say?

Niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3, nicotinamide, and can potentially be written as ‘niacin’ on product labels too. When choosing a new product to incorporate into your routine, ensure niacinamide (or one of its alternative names) is listed high in the ingredients list – in the top 3 to 5 ingredients. 

What % Should I Use?

Most vitamin B3 containing products have 5% or less. This percentage is good as 5% is very beneficial for treating skin concerns, yet is still low enough that you will not experience any irritation. Sensitive skin and those suffering with inflammatory conditions such as acne or rosacea may want to start at 2% to get their skin used to the new product. 

How Do I Use Niacinamide?

Ideally, niacinamide should be used in the morning and the evening for the best results. One of the benefits of this versatile ingredient is it is highly compatible with other skincare ingredients. Therefore, it can easily be added into your current routine without swapping anything else out. Combining ingredients can even enhance the effectiveness of each product, which is even more beneficial for your skin.

For the best results we recommend investing in a niacinamide product that remains on the skin, such as a toner or a serum, instead of a cleanser that is washed off. If you are using a niacinamide cleanser, you can safely incorporate another vitamin B3 product into your routine. Niacinamide is gentle enough to be layered without irritation. When applying the product, follow the instructions provided. 

Topical niacinamide is generally safe for use – if you are worried about a reaction, do a patch test by applying a tiny amount of the new niacinamide product to your forearm and wait 24 hours – discontinue use if you have any redness, itching or swelling. 

Niacinamide for Enlarged Pores

Niacinamide doesn’t “shrink” pores as it is not possible to. However, niacinamide does have a positive effect on the pore lining, which keeps debris from getting backed up in the pore. When debris does get into pores, the pores will stretch and clog, resulting in a more visible appearance and rougher skin. So, niacinamide visibly reduces the appearance of enlarged pores by clearing away debris and returning them to their normal size. 

Niacinamide for Ageing Skin 

As we age, the production of important proteins necessary for maintaining youthful skin – such as collagen, keratin, filaggrin and involucrin – slows down, resulting in reduced elasticity and more signs of ageing. Niacinamide boosts the production of these important proteins, to improve the structure of the skin and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Niacinamide is also an antioxidant, and has a preventative effect on skin ageing. The antioxidant properties protect cells against damage from the sun’s UV rays – slowing signs of ageing. Daily use of vitamin B3 also increases the production of helpful enzymes within the skin (NADP+ enzymes) which are crucial for the renewal, repair and functioning of skin cells. 

Studies show 4-5% niacinamide used daily for 8-12 weeks has anti-ageing benefits for the skin. 

Niacinamide + Retinol 

Vitamin A (retinol) and Vitamin B3 are a great pairing for ageing skin. Niacinamide keeps the skin calm and offsets the dryness and irritation that are potential side effects of retinol. This allows the retinol to actively fight fine lines and wrinkles without negatively impacting the skin. Both ingredients neutralise damage from environmental stressors. Without the damage, each vitamin can operate more efficiently, for better skincare results.  

Niacinamide for Pigmentation 

Niacinamide breaks up existing colouration within the skin and prevents new discolourations from appearing.

Studies show that 2-5% niacinamide used daily for 8 weeks results in significant lightening of hyperpigmentation. 

Niacinamide + Vitamin C 

Niacinamide and Vitamin C is a great combination for those suffering with pigmentation. Each ingredient is considered to have brightening effects, which is ideal for hyperpigmented skin. However, the vitamins each use different pathways to achieve a more even skin tone. Niacinamide suppresses the transfer of melanosomes (structures carrying melanin pigment) from melanocytes (skin cells producing the melanin) to keratinocytes (skin cells in the top layer of the skin). Vitamin C, on the other hand, blocks an enzyme called tyrosinase that plays an important role in melanin production. Therefore, the ingredients duo can work together to attack hyperpigmentation in different ways, to achieve healthy skin.

Niacinamide for Acne 

With sebum regulating and anti-inflammatory properties, niacinamide has a gentle rather than an aggressive approach to acne skincare. It helps to keep the skin balanced and protected to prevent breakouts.

A study showed 4% niacinamide used for 8 weeks improved the appearance of acne prone skin in 82% of cases. We recommend pairing niacinamide with other powerful anti-acne ingredients such as salicylic acid.

Niacinamide + Salicylic Acid 

Niacinamide and salicylic acid are two popular skincare ingredients right now for good reason. When combined, they provide optimum results for acne prone skin. Each ingredient targets excess sebum to prevent future breakouts. By using different pathways, they target the causes of acne in multiple ways for the best results. Vitamin B3 reduces diglycerides, triglycerides and fatty acid production to reduce sebum production. Alternatively, salicylic acid penetrates deep into clogged pores and mixes with the sebum found there to regulate production and remove excess oils. 

Due to the different pH levels of the ingredients, you will see the best results if you alternate the time of day the products are used in your routine. Applying niacinamide in the morning and salicylic acid in the evening is a great way to tackle breakouts. 

When Will I See Results?

As with any product, you need to give your skin time to get used to the new skincare addition. You may need to wait around 4 weeks on average to see a difference (but there is no exact timeline). It is likely that you will feel a difference in your skin much sooner than that. Results will continue to work over time. Be patient and consistent, and stick with your routine for the best results. 

Niacinamide Benefits 

To recap, here are the top 3 benefits of niacinamide, so you can decide if it is right for your skin. 

Protein Production

Niacinamide contributes to the production of proteins that are essential for keeping the skin firm and healthy, such as Collagen and Keratin. 

Skin Barrier

Niacinamide helps your skin grow a ceramide (lipid) barrier, which helps with moisture retention and enables reduced water loss from the epidermis. This is especially beneficial for mature skin, dry skin and for those with eczema. Studies have shown that 2% niacinamide can increase the synthesis of free fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides that result in healthier and stronger skin barrier, decreased trans-epidermal water loss and better hydrated skin.

Reduces inflammation

Niacinamide helps with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and acne by calming the skin and minimising redness and blotchiness.