Maneuvering in this flood of products and ingredients nowadays is so difficult and time-consuming. Ain't nobody got time for that. What works and what doesn't? What does a particular ingredient do? Let us take that off your mind. Use the #glossary tag in the search bar and you'll get explanations of how specific ingredients work, how to use them, and (best of all) product recommendations. Life just got a little easier.
Because it is a great alternative for anyone who does not tolerate acid exfoliators but would still like some help with acne problems. Niacinamide or nicotinamide is a precursor to Vitamin B3, which works on multiple fronts. It is found in formulations in concentrations from 2 to 10%. It performs well with acne, rosacea and other inflammatory conditions as it has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that it treats acne just as well as an antibiotic. They used a concentration of 4% niacinamide, which was compared with a 1% topical antibiotic. Other studies have also shown that as much as 2% of niacinamide reduces the production of sebum. When niacinamide is done with acne, it goes for pigmentation, which usually remains long after the acne is gone. It is also worth mentioning that the proper UV protection is key when dealing with this.
Niacinamide, however, doesn't stop here! It also promotes the formation of ceramides, which are the main building blocks of the epidermal barrier, which protects the skin from harmful environmental factors and loss of moisture. If damaged, you can experience slight skin flaking, dryness, loss of elasticity. This happens because of excessive/inadequate cleansing, excessive exfoliation, exposure to the sun, wind, etc. Niacinamide, therefore, strengthens the epidermal barrier which results in a softer, stronger and more moisturized skin. At the same time, it also protects against overheating and slows down the formation of melanin, thus preventing the appearance of pigmentation, unifying the complexion. Concentrations above 5% also stimulate collagen production and thus reduce fine lines.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR?
The results of studies in the past have shown that topical mixing of vitamin C and niacinamide results in forming hydrogen peroxide, so this combination is not recommended. If you want to use both at the time, rather buy a product with a formulation that already contains both ingredients as this is much more stable and controlled. When using two separate products apply niacinamide in the evening and vitamin C in the morning.
It's also not very optimal to use niacinamide together with acids, as this could lead to the conversion of niacinamide to niacin. However, such a reaction can only happen under special conditions (long exposure to high temperature), so it is virtually impossible for this to happen to us. Still, some experts advise that niacinamide should not be used immediately after acid exfoliation, to maintain optimal efficacy of both. This is mainly due to the different PH of acid and niacinamide products.
HOW TO USE?
So it depends on the product you have. Niacinamide can be found in a form of acne masks, in crams and serums of course. The latter form is also the most effective, so it's up to you and your skin condition. If you only want to use it as a preventative, cream or mask will be enough. However, if you have acne, buy niacinamide in the form of a serum. It can be used in the morning and evening, as needed, regardless of the time of year. Apply to cleansed (and toned) skin and keep in mind not to mix it with problematic ingredients listed above. Just in case, use it on separate days or separate hours of the day. As an extra-strong acne-fighting tool, use BHA in the evening and niacinamide, in the morning.
WHAT TO INVEST IN?
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary serum can now be purchased in two sizes: 30ml and new 60ml packaging. A super budget variant for anyone who may not have tried niacinamide yet and would like to experiment with braking the bank. It's a high concentration (10%) of niacinamide, with the addition of zinc salts. Two super-duperr, anti-acne ingredients, for maximum effectiveness.
CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion
Super easy and versatile cream that you can use every day, morning and evening. Full of ceramides that protect and heal the damaged skin barrier, hyaluronic acid, which moisturizes the skin perfectly, and niacinamide, which will help calm and regulate sebum. Great for normal to dry skin and great for combining with other, more complex active ingredients.
Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster
Once you've completed your experiment with The Ordinary Niacinamide, you can try something a bit more advanced. Paula always hits the nail on the head with her formulations and this goes for this serum as well. If your acne is giving you a really hard time, we recommend combining this booster with Paula's BHA exfoliator, which is another amazing product. Follow the instructions above!
Alpha-H Vitamin B
Contains niacinamide, copper tripeptide, chia seeds extract, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid and all other magic ingredients in this world. Translated: it moisturizes and fights skin aging like Rambo while soothing the inflammation that manifests as redness and pimples. Great for reactive, sensitive skin and skin showing first signs of aging. Definitely worth trying.
- products usually contain 2 - 10% concentration
- good for all skin types, especially problematic with developed inflammation
- use carefully on sensitive skin, can be irritating
- it works anti-inflammatory (acne, rosacea)
- also reduces the secretion of sebum, which further helps with problematic skin
- strengthens the epidermal barrier in case of damage
- inhibits the production of melanin, which helps with pigmentation
- promotes collagen production and helps with premature skin aging