What Is Niacinamide?

Health Benefits, Usage, Supplements, Side Effects, and More

Niacinamide – a form of vitamin B3 – is an ingredient frequently used in skincare products. Its brightening effects make it a perfect addition to cleansers, moisturizers, and serums. Niacinamide does a lot more than brighten skin, as it also fights hyperpigmentation, acne, and signs of aging. You have probably heard its benefits touted by beauty experts but still don’t know what it is and how you can benefit from using it. We’ll clue you in on its benefits, usages, and possible side effects. You can decide whether it's worth adding to your beauty routine.

What is Niacinamide?

A form of vitamin B3, a water-soluble vitamin, this ingredient is commonly used in skincare products because our bodies don’t naturally produce it. While most people see it in topical products, from moisturizers to serums, you can also use niacinamide as a supplement (vitamin B3). Reports show it treats fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and common skincare conditions, like acne and rosacea. How is this possible? It's all thanks to its ability to make more NAD+ in our bodies. 

NAD+ is a co-enzyme in the cells that help repair damage (like UV damage) and prevent dysfunctional human skin cells, which can do much more harm than cause wrinkles. Without niacinamide, our cells can’t make NAD+.

What are the Skincare Benefits of Niacinamide?

Are you still wondering why this ingredient is a must in your personal skincare routine? Niacinamide is incredibly restorative (i.e., it can repair UV-damaged skin) and helps build proteins to block the effects of environmental stressors. Let’s review a few other skin-loving benefits it offers.

Builds Keratin

Keratin is a protein that helps form the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Its moisturizing properties improve skin elasticity, allowing the skin to maintain its healthy, firm appearance. 

Retains Moisture

A strong lipid barrier is vital for healthy, youthful skin. If your lipid barrier is compromised, this leads to dryness, itching, swelling, redness, and a host of other skin problems. Niacinamide can grow the lipid barrier, which helps retain moisture.

Reduces Blotchiness

Blotchiness (a change in skin color) can be caused by many factors, most commonly by skin conditions such as eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions. The good news is blotchy skin doesn’t last long, and when niacinamide is introduced, it can help relieve many of the symptoms these conditions cause, like redness and pimples.

UV Protection

When the summer months are upon us, we need all the help we can get to reduce sun damage. Enter niacinamide. This ingredient can protect our skin from damage caused by UV rays.

Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is known as dark spots on the skin. The fact that it’s common doesn’t make the condition any easier to live with. Serums with niacinamide are frequently used to brighten dark spots, and other effects which can be seen within weeks or a couple of months of use.

How Beneficial are Niacinamide Supplements?

People often forget that niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, found in foods such as meats, fish, eggs, and green vegetables. A deficiency in vitamin B3 can lead to pellagra, which causes a dark rash to form in certain areas of the skin. You should only take vitamin B3 supplements if you have a diagnosed deficiency. People who have a deficiency and take supplements will notice general benefits to the overall health of their skin. However, if you want to guarantee that niacinamide is targeting specific skincare concerns, it must be used topically, like in the form of serums.

What are the Side Effects?

Before using vitamin B3 supplements, you should speak with your doctor. However, using topical niacinamide is typically safe. Still, it’s advised to do a patch test in case you are sensitive or allergic to this ingredient.

  • Apply a pea-sized amount of the product to your skin.
  • Wait 24 hours.
  • No reactions? Use the product as instructed.
  • If after (or before) 24 hours, you notice redness, swelling, or itchiness, rinse off the product.

If you suffer from a reaction, it may not be due to the niacinamide but other ingredients within the product. We recommend trying another product with niacinamide and performing a similar test.

When you’re ready for smoother, hydrated, and more youthful skin, find a niacinamide skincare product that works for you!

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