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How to use Niacinamide: An Ultimate Guide

How to use Niacinamide: An Ultimate Guide

We are constantly looking for ways to have brighter, smoother, and clearer skin. There is always something new that promises to be the perfect solution for your skin woes and I understand the skepticism of trying new products.

Certain skincare ingredients sometimes come into focus and are hyped by the market. These days, it seems like you can’t scroll through SkinTok without seeing a video raving about niacinamide. Strangely enough, it’s actually been around for a while now, but is finally getting the attention it deserves.

If you are here because you heard about niacinamide, but don’t know what it does or where to start – don’t worry. We got you.

What is Niacinamide? Really?

Niacinamide has another name, it is vitamin B3. A little less scary now isn’t it? Well, it is a form of Vitamin B3. This specific kind which is used in skincare is officially titled “nicotinamide”, an essential water-soluble vitamin. But you’ll want to look for Niacinamide on the label.

Niacinamide is an antioxidant ingredient that effectively penetrates skin to deliver benefits. It needs to be consumed as it is because the body does not create it on its own. Cool, right?

What does Niacinamide (vitamin B3) do for your skin?

It does seem a little too good to be true, but this is one of the few times you should have faith. Niacinamide is truly a miracle worker that decreases inflammation, moisturizes the skin, and even increases dermal collagen for a younger, more supple looking skin.

The science is complicated so here is the scoop:

  1. Niacinamide helps your skin build keratin that will keep your skin firm and healthy.
  2. Niacinamide improves your ceramide barrier, basically promotes the lipid structure to retain moisture and protect the skin.
  3. Niacinamide also decreases hyperpigmentation.

Healthy skin equals pretty skin, there is no doubt about that.

When did Niacinamide become popular?

Around 2018 niacinamide started blowing up as the new main character of the skincare world. The universality of this ingredient propelled its popularity further.

Although the ingredient has been around for over 100 years now, it wasn’t until ten years ago that they determined its effectiveness for topical application. The vitamin B3 supplements have been long in use to help with skin conditions and even the prevention of skin cancer.

Related: Retinol is another skincare staple, read all about it here

Favorite Niacinamide serums

We here have been Simply obsessed with Niacinamide. It is such universal ingredient that works really well. It is a solution if you want better skin overall.


The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacimide Dew Drop

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Who can use Niacinamide?

Everyone can and should use niacinamide. As we have mentioned before, niacinamide has minimal risk of negative effects. It works to balance out any issues you might have. It is an easy ingredient to incorporate into your routine no matter your current routine or skin type because it works well with so many ingredients. It is touted one of the best ingredients to repair your skin barrier.

If you have oily skin, niacinamide can help balance out your skin’s sebum production which in turn helps your pores return to their normal size.

The anti-inflammatory properties of niacinamide also make it a great choice for those suffering from mild to moderate acne.

If you are suffering from skin conditions like rosacea and eczema, we could not recommend niacinamide enough. It heals and protects the skin, so it improves your overall skin condition for a better healthier feel.

How to get started with niacinamide

You can start with applying niacinamide once a day first for a couple of weeks and then move on to twice a day if you want. Niacinamide serums are often water based, so apply that before any oil-based serums or moisturizers to ensure maximum absorption.

Related: If you want supple and plump skin, here is the secret

Niacinamide side effects on the skin

While side effects for Niacinamide are far and few in between, for some people when you start using niacinamide you might see some redness and that is normal.

However, if the redness doesn’t lessen over time, you might be using too much product, or your product concentration is too high for you.

If redness persists even after you have made the changes it’s best to go and see a dermatologist.

High levels of niacinamide can increase serum histamine levels that might cause an allergic reaction. So, if you are prone to allergies and are seeing redness, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

How often can I apply niacinamide?

Niacinamide can be applied once or twice daily. It works well with other ingredients and it is very gentle on the skin.

Before using any niacinamide product for the first time always do a patch test. Since niacinamide is a soothing calming ingredient you won’t have to worry too much about an adverse reaction.

Does niacinamide lighten skin?

Niacinamide is an excellent ingredient to use if you want to fade dark spots, melasma or hyperpigmentation. Many studies have shown the significant difference before and after the use of niacinamide on skin tones.

Does niacinamide cause acne?

Niacinamide does not cause any cell turnover so there will not be any purging due to the use of niacinamide.

In fact, niacinamide’s ability to regulate sebum production should help reduce any acne and breakouts.

See Also

Is 10% niacinamide too much?

If your skin isn’t sensitive, 10% niacinamide is safe and works well. However, since niacinamide penetrates the skin easily a higher concertation like 10% might cause slight irritation and redness.

Maybe opt for a lower concentration when you first try niacinamide.

Can niacinamide be combined with other skin care ingredients for maximum effect?

As a general rule of thumb niacinamide works well will other ingredients. Especially vitamin C, zinc and retinol.

You should avoid using chemical exfoliants like AHA/BHAs when you use niacinamide. Primarily because niacinamide will neutralize the pH of the acid and you will not reap the benefits of the AHAs/BHAs, but besides that you are safe to use niacinamide with other ingredients. It just won’t make the chemical exfoliant as effective.

Niacinamide and Zinc

Niacinamide and zinc boost each other’s abilities to improve the skin, increase collagen and reduce sebum activity. Zinc supports healing of the skin and protects the lipid barrier.

Try the The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% for the results from the dynamic duo.

Vitamin C and Niacinamide together

You might find information that claim that these ingredients shouldn’t mix. We found that the experts are split on this however Dr.Frieling a nationally recognized, Harvard trained Dermapathologist, says that these ingredients need to be heated to react negatively to one another.

So, of course we recommend that you layer them on at a time and not mix them. For more details on layering skincare take a look at this article that we posted. As a rule of thumb, wait till each product is absorbed into the skin before applying the next.

Related: How to create the perfect skincare routine order

Niacinamide and retinol

A match made in heaven. The starkly different properties of retinol and niacinamide complement each other perfectly.

Retinol caused cell turnover and niacinamide help the fast-changing skin cells to be at their best. We recommend that you always pair these ingredients together in your routine.

Or check out the Resurfacing Retinol Serum by CeraVe, which can simplify your routine with both retinol and niacinamide.

Final Thoughts on Niacinamide

Overall, Niacinamide is great ingredient to add to your skincare arsenal, especially if you’re on team #lazygirlskincare. It can get exhausting remembering which product to use at what time of day and in what amount. We get it. If thinking about skincare makes you exhausted, you’ll love niacinamide.

It’s not something you need to overthink about or plan around. You can apply it during the day or at night. If you don’t like remembering the rules about mixing ingredients but you want radiant and healthy skin, niacinamide is the answer. We are not kidding, it is one of the easiest ingredients to add to your routine.

The addition of a simple niacinamide serum has the potential to offer a multitude of benefits for various skin types and conditions, but there are so many affordable options. Shop my favorites below.

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