Why & How You Should Add Niacinamide to Your Skincare Routine

December 11, 2020

Niacinamide might not get quite as much buzz as ingredients like retinol and Vitamin C, but this skincare superstar is an unsung hero that deserves equal praise. It’s the very definition of a multitasker, offering many different benefits that make it a great pick for a wide variety of skin types and complexion concerns. But incorporating it into your already existing skincare routine isn't straightforward. There are so many questions! Can you use niacinamide with vitamin C and/or Retinol? What about hyaluronic acid? We have your answers….

What is niacinamide?

Simply put, it’s a B vitamin, one of two forms of Vitamin B3 that is involved in many important cellular functions of the skin.  

What benefits does it have for skin?

Niacinamide i s a great choice for those with acne-prone skin. Niacinamide reduces sebum production, which can both help prevent acne and also diminish that dreaded skin shine.

The vitamin is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects, which are beneficial both when it comes to treating acne and conditions such as eczema.

Niacinamide helps strengthen the skin barrier, another major plus for those with eczematic and sensitive skin, according to experts.

It’s a choice brightening ingredient combating hyperpigmentation by blocking the transfer of pigment from the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) to the skin cells on the surface where discoloration is visible.

There is also some data showing that niacinamide can help reduce wrinkling and photoaging, by ensuring cells function properly and helping repair DNA damage.

There’s really not much that niacinamide can’t do!

Can you use Niacinamde with retinol?

Yes! In fact, dermatologists say that retinol and niacinamide is a recommended combination for achieving quicker results. Niacinamide's calming benefits can also combat the negative side effects and irritation that often come alongside retinol's wrinkle-fighting magic.

Does it work well with other ingredients?

Generally speaking, yes, which is why it’s found in many skincare products and is pretty easy to incorporate into your existing routine. Per those acne-fighting benefits, niacinamide is often paired with salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that’s a mainstay in acne products, says Dr. Frieling. Combining niacinamide’s oil-reducing power with salicylic acid’s ability to dissolve excess oil is a great way to help keep pores clear and breakouts at bay.

Niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory and skin barrier-strengthening effects also make it a good option to pair with alpha-hydroxy acids, chemical exfoliants that have the potential to cause some skin irritation. Combining these also increases the efficacy of the niacinamide, since the AHAs exfoliate the dead skin cells that could otherwise make it harder for the niacinamide to effectively penetrate the skin, says Dr. Frieling. And finally, niacinamide is often paired with hyaluronic acid, given that both can help alleviate dryness.

The one ingredient where the jury is still out? Vitamin C.

Some say that Vitamin C can inactivate niacinamide and suggests separating the application by 15 minutes but Dr. Frieling explains that there is sure debate on the topic, but that in order for the two to negatively interact they would have to be heated, and notes more and more products are actually combining the two in skin-brightening formulations.

The bottom line here: If you’re using a product that contains both Vitamin C and Niacinamide, it has likely been specially formulated so that they can work together. But if you’re using two distinct products with these ingredients, wait 15 minutes between applications, or save one for morning use and the other for evening use.

Should I be using niacinamide?

YES! One of the great things about niacinamide is not only the list of benefits it delivers, but also the fact that it is relatively well tolerated, even for those with sensitive skin. This makes it a nice alternative for those whose skin may not be able to handle more traditional acne or brightening ingredients, like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids.

Not sure where to start? Try our Formule Jeunesse: Innovative Anti-Aging Formula

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