The Anti-Aging and Acne-Fighting Ingredient That’s Missing from Your Skincare Routine

Niacinamide is a tongue-twisting, hard-to-pronounce skincare ingredient that you might not be familiar with, but in reality it's been a staple in dermatologists' offices for years.

The multitasking ingredient is the other name for vitamin B3. In medical circles it's known for being extremely effective for treating acne, redness, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging, plus its compatibility with all skin types. Since niacinamide has all of the makings of an "it" skincare ingredient, it was only a matter of time before more brands started creating products with vitamin B3 as a hero ingredient. 

Currently, The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum, Paula's Choice's Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer, and NIA24's Gentle Cleansing Cream are just a couple of options out there to try. 

Still, if you're not completely sure how niacinamide works and what exactly it can do for your skin, we turned to a dermatologist to get all of the answers. 

What Is Niacinamide? 

Niacinaminde is one of two forms of vitamin B3 (the other being niacin). It's a water-soluble nutrient, which means that works in conjunction with the natural substances in your skin, making it an extremely effective in skincare products for treating a number of conditions.  

"It's a super vitamin in the vitamin B family because it's multi-dimensional in terms of how it can support the skin," says Dr. Ava Shamban, board-certified dermatologist and founder of SKIN FIVE Cosmetics and AVA MD Clinics in L.A. 

What Can Niacinamide Do for Your Skin? 

This ingredient is unique because it's plays both offense and defense. "Niacinamide can help fight off environmental factors and and repair damages, plus fight back to reduce visible signs of aging," explains Dr. Shamban. Some conditions that can be treated with the ingredient include acne, eczema, and rosacea, 

She says that vitamin B3 works for a number of skincare concerns including large pores, uneven skin texture, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.  

Niacinamide also works wonders for extremely dry skin because it helps restore moisture loss and dehydration on the skin's surface. "The topical application of niacinamide has been shown to boost the hydrating ability of moisturizers and support retention capacity so the skin surface can better resist TEWL (transepidermal water loss)," says Dr. Shamban. 

Who Should Use Niacinamide? 

Vitamin B3 is safe for all skin types and all ages — even those who suffer from inflammatory conditions like rosacea — because of its calming properties. 

Dr. Shamban says you won't see instant results from using niacinamide, but typically, she finds that patients see a difference in their skin within 30 days or less. 

How Do You Use Niacinamide? 

You can find niacinamide in a number of products from cleansers, toners, to serums. Dr. Shamban recommends looking for formulations that also contain hyaluronic acid or squalene to get the benefits of vitamin B3 plus a boost of hydration. 

"Without any contraindications, you can use multiple niacinamide products in any regimen —and everyday," explains Dr. Shamban. "Niacinimide is like your super social friend, fun to add to any party and who gets along with everyone!"  

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Are There Any Skincare Ingredients to Avoid While Using Niacinamide?

"Niacinamide is uniquely compatible with [basically] any and all of the products in your skincare routine," says Dr. Shamban. "   It is a great booster in that it supports tour products — therefore they'll work in tandem with advanced care products including those that contain retinol, peptides, any of the acids (hyaluronic acid, AHAs PHA's and BHA's), and other types of antioxidants."

While antioxidants are compatible with niacinamide, if you're a fan of vitamin C, there is the possibility of experiencing some redness when you use them together. "The body can turn niacinamide into niacin (the other form of vitamin B3) which does for some cause flushing," Dr. Shamban explains.  

Anyone who has redness from using vitamin C and niacinmaide simultaneously should try breaking up the ingredients. "If you are using a vitamin C serum it needs to be applied at a different time of day," suggests Dr. Shamban. "For example, use the serum in the morning, and the product containing niacinamide at night."

While niacinamide can be the best ingredient that's missing from your current skincare routine, it's always best to consult your dermatologist if you're experiencing irritation from using it, or you're unsure of introducing new products into your routine. 


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