Everything you Need to Know About Niacinamide—The Skincare Ingredient of the Moment

After being obsessed with Vitamins-C, A and E for a long time, skincare enthusiasts are rallying around Niacinamide—a form of Vitamin-B3. Let’s decode the powerhouse ingredient and the benefits it has to offer.

By Adarsh Soni
28 Sep 2021

Even though niacinamide has been a mainstay in skincare for as long as we can remember, it only received its cult status during the lockdown months. After all, it’s largely considered a fix-it-all solution for many of the most common skin-related woes—especially the ones that have been exacerbated by an influx of pandemic stress and wearing face masks (maskne anyone?)



What is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide, also known by the name nicotinamide, is a form of Vitamin-B3 that is most popularly used in its topical form to treat a variety of skin-related problems. Niacinamide is water-soluble, which means that it is not stored in the body and is important to replenish. Outside of the skincare aisle, it is essential for the proper functioning of your brain as well as your kidneys. Many people confuse niacinamide for niacin, while in reality the only thing they have in common is that they’re both Vitamin-B3 derivatives.


What are the benefits of Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is probably one of the most versatile skincare ingredients out there. Here are some of the main benefits of niacinamide:


Reduces redness and blotchiness
Niacinamide is a popular anti-inflammatory ingredient. According to research by Dr W Gehring, Department of Dermatology, Karlsruhe City Hospital, Germany, topical application of niacinamide has been proven to help ease redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory skin-related issues.


Helps build the skin’s lipid barrier
According to the same study by Dr Gehring, niacinamide can also help your skin grow a ceramide barrier, something that prevents moisture from escaping the skin’s top most layer while also protecting it from external aggressors. Topical application of niacinamide has a stabilising effect on epidermal barrier function, seen as a reduction in water loss and an improvement in the moisture content of our skin. In simple terms, it nourishes your skin and also helps build keratin—a protein that keeps your skin firm and healthy.


Treats hyperpigmentation
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, regular topical application of a 5 percent niacinamide concentration can be helpful in lightening dark spots caused due to hyperpigmentation. This effect has also been linked to an increased rate of collagen production.

Helps reduce acne
According to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, a topical preparation of 4 percent niacinamide treated moderate acne just as well as clindamycin (a topical antibiotic commonly prescribed to acne patients) when applied twice daily for eight weeks. The study also mentioned that niacinamide is relatively non-irritating compared to other acne treatments, making it a good option for people with dry or sensitive skin.


Minimises fine lines and wrinkles
A study published in 2004 in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science detailed an experiment where researchers had 50 middle aged women apply a moisturiser containing 5 percent niacinamide to one half of their face and a placebo moisturiser to the other half for 12 weeks. Their results showed that the halves of their faces receiving niacinamide had significant improvements in hyperpigmentation spots, fine lines, and wrinkles compared to the other side.



How can you introduce niacinamide to your skincare routine?

Adding topical niacinamide to your skincare routine is pretty simple and low risk. Most dermatologists recommend a solution within the range of 2 to 10 percent, so make sure that you abide by that. Niacinamide can be used at any time of day—one to two times daily depending on the concentration level of the product.

Even though niacinamide has been touted as a quick-fix for an array of skincare issues, it still needs a considerable amount of time to work. Wait for at least four weeks to notice any results.

You can combine it with the following skincare actives for maximum effect:

  • Hyaluronic acid: For maximum hydration
  • Peptides: For anti-ageing effects
  • Ceramides: For advanced skin nourishment
  • Salicylic acid: For treating acne and shrinking enlarged pores
  • Retinol: For reducing irritation



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