Ingredient Deep Dive: Niacinamide

One of the hottest and most-talked about ingredients right now is Niacinamide. Whether it is repairing your skin barrier, decongesting your pores, protecting against sun damage, or balancing sebum production, there is a lot that Niacinamide can do. In this blog, we are going to explore how this ingredient works and how you can add it to your skincare.

What is it?

Niacinamide is one of the two forms of Vitamin B3 (also known as Niacin). It is water-soluble and is even taken in the form of a tablet. 

While Vitamin C is a popular choice if you are looking to brighten your skin, Niacinamide is not far behind in this aspect. It also does a lot more for your skin besides brightening. Vitamin B3 is also taken as a supplement as it is known to help with cholesterol levels and even helps with acne.

This is an image of what Niacinamide is

What does it do?

1. Repairs the Skin Barrier

Niacinamide works to increase the production of Ceramides, which are lipids constituting over 50% of the skin, thereby strengthening the skin barrier. This in turn, strengthens the skin’s ability to retain moisture (or helps prevent transepidermal water loss).

2. Decongests Pores

What happens is that, over time, more and more debris, dust, and grime tends to accumulate in your pores and that is what makes them visible. Niacinamide works to prevent this from happening, thereby allowing pores to return to their usual size. 

3. Balances Sebum Production

One’s skin is often oily as a result of dehydration. What happens in such a scenario is that the pores work in overdrive to compensate for the lack of moisture. By enhancing the skin’s ability to retain moisture, Niacinamide helps control this over-production and balances the skin. 

4. Treats Pigmentation and Promotes Brighter Skin

Niacinamide possesses antioxidant properties and helps deal with pigmentation and scars. It boosts the cell turnover rate, promoting cell renewal and in turn leads to brighter skin. 

5. Protects Against Oxidative Stress and Sun Damage

Sun damage and environmental aggressors such as pollution can weaken the skin barrier over time and damage the skin. By strengthening skin barrier function, Niacinamide helps prevent such damage and helps heal any existing damage to the skin. 

6. Heals Acne

Niacinamide possesses anti-inflammatory properties which make it a go-to ingredient for those struggling with acne or any other inflammation. 

7. Prevents Signs of Ageing 

We have mentioned Ceramides in brief in the first point but we will dwell on this a little more here. Like Collagen, Ceramides in our skin also deplete with age. This is why mature skin is often dehydrated, flaky, and sometimes even sensitive. Since Niacinamide boosts the skin’s ability to retain moisture, the skin retains its plumpness and sags a little less. This in turn, prevents signs of early ageing. Niacinamide also helps improve the skin’s elasticity. 

This is an image of what Niacinamide does

Who it is for?

As is with Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide is also an ingredient that works well for all skin types. Of course, given the fact that it helps balance sebum production and decongests pores, Niacinamide is a popular choice for people with oily skin but that does not mean sensitive and dry skin types cannot use it. 

 In fact, Niacinamide is mostly considered to be a rather non-irritating ingredient and even works well with active ingredients. It even helps soothe skin that is adjusting to actives such as Retinol. That being said, you can never be too careful. Always consult a dermatologist and patch-test your product first!

This is an image of who Niacinamide can be used by

How do you incorporate Niacinamide into your skincare routine?

Niacinamide is available in a wide variety of formulations such as moisturisers, serums, toners, and cleansers. Here are some of our top picks:

Face Mask

Swisse’s Blood Orange Brightening Clay Mask contains Turmeric extracts, Blood Orange Essential Oil, Kaolin Clay, and Niacinamide. This combination of antioxidant-rich and brightening ingredients help improve skin texture and even out the skin tone. 

Serums

Neemli Naturals offers a wide range of serums, containing Niacinamide, that target different skin concerns. 

Their Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin C Brightening Serum contains 12% Vitamin C, Aloe Vera and Witch Hazel extracts and Niacinamide. It promotes healthy and bright skin and is suitable for all skin types. 

If you are struggling with acne and troublesome skin, you can opt for the Glycolic and Salicylic Acid Serum. A blend of the AHA Glycolic Acid and the BHA Salicylic Acid, this serum also contains Apple Cider Vinegar, Niacinamide, and Magnolia Bark Extract among others. It is suitable for oily and acne prone skin.

Looking to try Retinols for the first time? Neemli’s Retinol & Peptide Serum is a good option. The serum is a mix of active ingredients such as Retinol, Vitamin C, Niacinamide & Hyaluronic Acid and other ingredients such as Peptides to nourish the skin. Use this as a night treatment after cleansing and toning.  

You can also opt for Swisse’s Blood Orange Brightening Facial Serum which contains a mix of antioxidant-rich and mositurising ingredients to make your skin plump and radiant. 

Eye Creams

Zyna’s Under Eye Gel (AM) & Under Eye Cream (PM) are a great blend of lightweight antioxidant-rich ingredients and deliver essential moisture and nourishment to the under-eye area of your skin. Whether it is to prep your under-eye area during the day or to treat it at night, these creams have your back! You can read more about eye creams on our blog here

 

 

Moisturisers

Zyna’s Lifting and Illuminating Cream is an emollient and creamy formula suited to normal and dry skin. It contains Niacinamide and Vitamin E and a mix of nourishing plant oils and extracts. 

As you head to bed after a long and tiring day, smooth over Etsley’s Night Cream to pamper and replenish your skin. This night cream contains Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin C and Ginseng Extract to help your skin heal overnight. The best part? It is a lightweight formula suitable for all skin types!

Face Mist

Zyna’s Daily Defence Anti-Pollution Face Mist delivers essential hydration and a potent dose of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Niacinamide in the form of a lightweight mist. Spritz this delightful mist onto your face after cleansing in the morning. 

What to Watch Out for?

While Niacinamide is generally a non-irritant, it can trouble the skin when used in high concentrations. This is why you should always patch-test your product and slowly build up usage to ensure your skin is adjusting well. That being said, Niacinamide can be used morning and night.

Niacinamide also works pretty well with other active ingredients such as Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, AHAs etc. You can read more about active ingredients on our blog

In some cases, depending on the formulations, mixing Vitamin C and Niacinamide can lead to temporary irritation and redness. This is because a combination of the two ingredients creates niacin. So if you want to mix the two together, be sure to check with your dermatologist. 

SUMMARY

Niacinamide brightens the skin, reduces pigmentation, soothes acne, and decongests pores. It also helps heal the skin barrier and improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture. What’s more, Niacinamide is also compatible with active ingredients such as Retinol, AHAs, BHAs, and Hyaluronic Acid. 

                                                                                                   - Gauri Sindhu

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