Niacinamide: What is it and what does it do to skin benefits

Niacinamide: What is niacinamide and what does it do to your skin?

20th February 2023 | Author: Jenny Tai

Niacinamide has become a staple skincare ingredient in recent years because of its multiple skincare benefits. Here’s everything you need to know 

Almost every skincare range these days contains at least one product that contains a wonder ingredient known as niacinamide.

It’s a great all-rounder that’s suitable for all skin types but knowing how to get the best out of it – and what it actually does – can be a little confusing.

In our latest Ingredient Spotlight, we look at the Vitamin B derivative to decipher its benefits, its downsides, and the best way to incorporate niacinamide into your daily routine.

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3. Having a Vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to disorders of the skin and it’s one of the best vitamins known to heal and soothe the skin.

Research has shown that niacinamide can help treat certain skin conditions including acne and eczema. Niacinamide can also help build proteins in the skin to lock in moisture and prevent environmental damage.

What does niacinamide do?

Skincare ingredient checker Niacinamidemamabella | mamabella

Due to the fact it’s a form of such a powerful skin-rejuvenating vitamin, niacinamide has an array of benefits for the skin and in the treatment of skin disorders and conditions.

  1. It helps build keratin: This is a protein that helps keep your skin firm
  2. It protects the lipid barrier: Niacinamide helps your skin to protect its natural barrier, which in turn helps retain moisture. This is particularly beneficial for eczema and mature skin
  3. Niacinamide minimises pore appearance: It keeps your skin smooth and moisturised and this shrinks the appearance of your pores
  4. It minimises redness and blotchiness: Niacinamide helps reduce inflammation that can ease acne and eczema skin conditions, as well as rosacea
  5. Niacinamide treats hyperpigmentation: Just 5% of niacinamide can help get rid of age spots

We should point out that even though niacinamide is suitable for all skin types, if you do have sensitive skin or suffer from eczema or other conditions, speak to a doctor or dermatologist before introducing new products to your routine. 

How to use niacinamide

Niacinamide is most commonly found in toners and serums. This is the quickest, most effective way to start reaping the benefits of niacinamide on your skin.

Niacinamide can also be found in moisturisers or other products. You may not see the benefits as quickly but this may be a more gentle way of introducing it.

Be aware that when you introduce a blended skincare product, and especially if you get a reaction, it can be difficult to identify the cause. What’s more, because of its multiple benefits, niacinamide can lead to skin purging. This isn’t dangerous, but it can be annoying! You can read more in our What is skin purging? guide. 

The good thing with niacinamide is you can incorporate this with other products that contain retinol, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and AHAs including glycolic and lactic acid. You can read more in our guide to the acids in your skincare

The best niacinamide products

Below we’ve recommended our favourite niacinamide toners and serums. Remember to start slowly when you introduce any new skincare products.

♥︎ Q+A Niacinamide Daily Toner

£8 | Buy now

Niacinamide Q+AQ+A

Why we love it: This brilliant, highly rated Q+A product is designed to calm redness and inflammation while minimising the appearance of pores. It contains niacinamide to help regulate sebum, calm breakouts, and de-clog pores and if you suffer from uneven skin tone, this should be your daily essential use.

FURTHER READING: Why Q+A is our new, must-have skincare brand

Buy now from Sephora

♥︎ Face Theory Cera-C Pore Reducing Toner T1

£14.99 | Buy now

Why we love it: Face Theory has grabbed our attention because it’s on a mission to make the very best, unfragranced skincare products at an affordable price.

The Cera-C Pore Reducing Tone is made for oily/combination skin. This toner contains 5% niacinamide, which can lighten pigmentation, and this lightweight toner promotes elasticity and minimises pores. We can see why this toner is much loved with the following active ingredients:

  • Aloe Vera: Clarifies excess sebum while soothing and hydrating the skin
  • Ceramides: Found in your skin, it helps restore cutaneous skin elasticity, helping skin to appear smoother
  • Niacinamide: 5% of this helps reduce the appearance of enlarged pores
  • Panthenol: Panthenol (Vitamin B5) is a humectant used on the skin and hair to attract water to its surface and protects against water loss

This toner is also alcohol free which will be less irritating to sensitive skin users.

Buy now from Feelunique

♥︎ Revolution Skincare Niacinamide Tonic

£10 | Buy now

Why we love it: Revolution is so much more than affordable makeup. Its skincare offers a high-quality, targeted solution for the person who takes skincare seriously and we do here are mamabella.

Revolution’s Niacinamide Tonic is cruelty-free and vegan and we love the simple packaging. After a couple of days of use, dark spots have faded along with signs of clearer skin in the pipeline. It also doesn’t leave the skin feeling dry and this toner contains chamomile extract to calm irritation.

For best results use morning and night, and always use SPF because this tonic can leave your skin feeling sensitive.

Buy now from Lookfantastic

♥︎ Revolution Skincare 15% Niacinamide Super Serum

£10 | Buy now

Why we love it: If you want a more intense hit of niacinamide, when you’re skin is used to it or because you’re having a particularly bad flare-up of your skin concerns, this 15% serum (also from Revolution) isn’t exaggerating when it calls itself “super”.

You only need a tiny amount because this is powerful stuff – in a good way – and while it can take a little while to absorb into the skin, once it’s absorbed its soft, moisturising formula leaves your face feeling velvet-smooth.

It’s perfect for all skin types to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and pores and we find it’s particularly great for helping control excess oil. Especially if we’ve been eating badly, or drinking the night before (see our guide on hangover skin to learn more!)

Buy now from Boots

♥︎ The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

£5 | Buy now

Why we love it: We love The Ordinary here at mamabella because it has an affordable solution for whatever your skin needs. This is an oil-free serum, which contains 10% of niacinamide and reduces skin blemishes and congestion, especially around the nose. With the addition of zinc salt, this serum aids to balance visible sebum, meaning it’s also great for oil control on our T-zone.

With this being a potent serum, it’s recommended to alternate this with any products that contain Vitamin C – an equally potent ingredient. In fact, The Ordinary suggests using this serum in your morning routine and Vitamin C in the evening.

All reviews have said this has been a game changer for people with excess sebum and large pores; they have even noticed a natural glow to the skin too. Users have noticed that their skin has also been brighter and even. All for a fiver!

FURTHER READING: The Ordinary Niacinamide review | The best The Ordinary products for all your skincare concerns

Buy now from Boots

♥︎ Glossier Super Pure

£24 | Buy now

Why we love it: We have featured Glossier a few times at mamabella – not only does it deliver great makeup, but it sells amazing products to ensure your skin is the best it can be.

With 5% of niacinamide and zinc in this serum, this duo will give you nourished skin, providing you with smoother texture and improved clarity. Like with The Ordinary’s serum, the addition of  zinc helps to reduce congested pores but without drying your skin out.

After using this serum, the skin is less oily, and brighter. It also leaves the skin feeling soft. During a clinical trial, 8 out of 10 users noticed skin was more balanced and their skin looked more even after four weeks’ use. After six weeks of use, 9/10 users noticed their skin felt healthier.

Buy now from Glossier

♥︎ Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

£41 | Buy now

Why we love it: Paula Begon has worked in the beauty industry for three decades and her skincare range has one promise – to provide smart, safe beauty that does as it says.

Having 10% of niacinamide in this booster serum pot, this is a game-changer when it comes to unclogging pores. Plus, with the added ingredient of panthenol to lock in moisture, this serum prevents your skin being left thirsty.

Elsewhere it contains Acetyl Glucosamine, which diminishes signs of ageing while leaving your complexion looking bright.

Not only can you can use this serum around the eye area, it doesn’t compromise your other skincare products. It’s called a booster because you can put a couple of drops of it to your current moisturiser or serum.  Or you can use it directly on your skin.

Always follow with SPF during the day. Using this twice daily users have noticed scaring has reduced, smaller pores and less redness to their skin.

FURTHER READING: The hard truth about pores and why you can’t shrink or minimise them – no matter what skincare brands claim

Buy now from Glossier

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