While trends may come and go, classic skincare ingredients never go out of style. Meet niacinamide, one of those go-to ingredients that keeps appearing in skincare products time and time again—and for good reason. Niacinamide is the ultimate multitasker and its beauty benefits are like a laundry list of things you hope for in a skincare ingredient. It helps nourish your skin barrier, ease irritation, address acne, fade pigmentation…need we say more?
To give us the pro take on all things niacinamide, we interviewed top dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, to share all the deets on why you want this superstar vitamin in your skincare routine.
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First things first, it's time for a little background. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, an essential nutrient. You can get your niacinamide through nutrition—known as niacin in this case—with a healthy diet that includes greens, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. But using niacinamide topically in your skincare products is where all those anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antioxidant, and brightening benefits come into play, says Dr. Engelman.
Niacinamide can be found in a variety of products, but niacinamide serums, boosters, and moisturizers are most common. Ultimately, you want to look for products like these that stay on your skin (instead of those that are rinsed off, like a cleanser) for the maximum effects.
According to Dr. Engelman, niacinamide is great as both a primary or supporting ingredient—meaning it plays well with a range of other ingredients. Other common superstar skincare ingredients, like peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, all help to build a protective barrier for your skin. Pairing niacinamide with any of these actives can help to amp up their potency.
There are so many benefits of niacinamide that it’s almost hard to keep track. A few of our fave benefits include:
Now for the best part: niacinamide is safe for all skin types. Yes, we said all skin types—from dry to oily and everything in between. Using products with niacinamide are especially a great option for those suffering from redness or find retinol irritating, says Dr. Engelman.
While many ingredients have unpleasant side effects that accompany their benefits, niacinamide isn’t one of 'em. The ingredient is well-tolerated and since it’s water soluble, there is no risk of over-using it, says Dr. Engelman.
Of course, if you have super sensitive skin and are reluctant to try new ingredients, you can always do a patch test before slathering a new product all over your face. Simply apply a small amount of your niacinamide product onto an inconspicuous area of your skin and wait 24 hours to see if your skin has a reaction.
Looking for the top products with this all-star ingredient? Look no further. We’ve pulled together eight favorites, from products with a cult following to superstar Glam Bag goodies.
Even sensitive skin will love this non-irritating brightening serum. The gentle formula uses a concoction of niacinamide, licorice root, and kiwi fruit to help fade annoying dark spots, like melasma, sun spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
On the hunt for a niacinamide-spiked serum that won’t break the bank? This affordably priced formula from THE ORDINARY is designed to help reduce the appearance of congestion (think: enlarged pores) and blemishes. Plus, it contains zinc to help keep sebum production under control and ward off future breakouts.
Give your skincare routine some extra oomph with a concentrated booster that’s universally loved. With just a few drops of this ultra lightweight serum (seriously, it’s as light as water), the formula gets to work on evening skin tone and helps minimize the appearance of pores, texture, and fine lines.
Jam-packed with good-for-you ingredients—including vitamin B5, hyaluronic acid, and of course niacinamide, this lightweight serum will nourish and plump your skin like a pro. The gel texture glides over and absorbs into skin with ease, acting like a tall glass of water for parched complexions. It can easily be worn alone by oilier types, but also layers perfectly underneath moisturizers if your skin is on the dry side.
Just like a DIY facial in a jar. This clay mask brightens skin and tightens pores, while soothing skin and reducing redness. One Ipster wrote: "I used it before bed and the next morning my skin looked smoother and pores were smaller. My face had a glow to it," while Ipster @crazymae897 wrote "LOVE IT! I'm not a huge mask person but I loved this one!"
This serum is perfect for the girl on the go—it’s a two-in-one product that acts as both a toner and serum. The gentle formula—with a soft, powdery rose scent—hydrates your skin while protecting it from environmental damage. Ipster @Taffysw21 said it best: “A serum paired with rose water? Couldn’t have done anything better.” We couldn’t agree more!
The name says it all—it makes your skin feel clean, happy and fresh, never stripped or dry. One Ipster shared her love for this face wash. “Love the clean lemony smell and that it doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy. I have sensitive skin and this has never broken my skin out. It’s my #1 fave cleanser these days!”
Think of this serum like a fruit smoothie for your skin. The watermelon and apple extracts work with powerful niacinamide to nourish and brighten skin while you sleep. You’ll wake up glowing and gorgeous! Plus, according to Ipster @Lucidgrace, the “smell is amazing!”
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