As a self-professed skincare freak, I’ve loved watching the way skincare has rapidly come to the forefront of the Western market over the last five-ish years. In South Korea, where I was born, this has been the case for quite some time, but I think we can all agree that skin has taken the center of the global stage. There’s more space for new skincare lines to pop up and really shine, while the pressure is on for brands that have had skincare lines to innovate and update them instead of pouring all their focus into color cosmetics.
As a result, we as consumers have more options than ever before, but also more information than we have ever had access to. It seems like every week, a new magical ingredient is discovered that is promised to revolutionize your skin, but I think we know that not everything is always as it appears in the beauty industry.
Just like with a lot of the makeup techniques you see all over social media these days, a lot of the “new hot” ingredients you see featured aren’t so new or hot, but trust me, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If something is very new, that means there’s been very little time to research and test the ingredient in different formulations, frequencies of applications, on different skin types, etc. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing what they claim, but having some bark to back up your bite is something I welcome very much when it comes to things I slather on my face on the daily.
Niacinamide has been making a splash in Asian skincare for decades. It’s easily one of my top three and might take the title of GOAT if I really were forced to choose.
Niacinamide has been making a splash in the Western market the last few years, and has been splashing in Asian skincare for decades. Of all the more “active” ingredients that get highlighted in marketing blurbs and product descriptions, niacinamide is easily one of my top three and might take the title of GOAT if I really were forced to choose. It’s been a long love affair for me, and I think niacinamide is something that you should check out if you haven’t tried it yet.
What Is Niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, and when you buy it to use in product formulation, it most often comes in the form of a white powder that dissolves readily in water. This makes it quite a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated in a wide range of formulations that are water-based.
You can find niacinamide easily in mists, toners, serums, and moisturizers. I love this because it makes it easy to slot niacinamide into your routine. It doesn’t really matter if you need a new moisturizer or a mist or anything in between, you can probably find whatever you’re looking for with some niacinamide in it.
How to Use It
Paula’s Choice states that niacinamide is something you can have in multiple products in your routine. It can be used both morning and night because it is generally well tolerated by all skin types and conditions, and I’ve found the same holds true in my personal experience as well. The overwhelming majority of people I’ve helped build routines for haven’t noticed any issues with using multiple niacinamide products every morning and night.
Of course, always patch test if you’re a newbie to an ingredient, but I’d feel comfortable saying that you can incorporate niacinamide pretty easily without as much caution as something like exfoliating acids such as glycolic acid or lactic acid.
What Niacinamide Can Do For You
So why do I love niacinamide so much? I could go on for way too long as to why I think you should give it a shot, so here are the main three things I always talk about when I basically become the publicist for niacinamide.
1. Brightens & evens skin tone
First and foremost, it’s one of the best brightening ingredients I’ve come across in my time in skincare. When I say brightening, take note that I do not mean “lightening”— niacinamide will not lighten your skin tone in any way. What it does do is reduce hyperpigmentation in your skin, like pigmentation left after a breakout or from sun damage, and helps even out your skin to the tone that it naturally is without that excess pigmentation.
I am always left with dark spots after every breakout, so the fact that niacinamide can do this with minimal chance for irritation (unlike other ingredients used to break up excess pigmentation such as hydroquinone) is enough on its own to qualify it as one of my all-time favs. But it certainly doesn’t stop there.
2. Minimizes pores
My T-zone is oily regardless of the season or climate. I’ve spent entire days out in high elevation 10°F snowy weather and still have a shiny nose and forehead by midafternoon. This, plus genetics, results in me having pretty pronounced pores around my nose and inner cheek area, and while I’ve learned to love them as part of my face, I also would be lying if I didn’t say I put a lot of thought and time and effort in minimizing their appearance. Niacinamide again comes to the rescue, as it helps keep your pores looking as clear as possible. The weird thing is there’s not a lot of data as to how or why it does this, but we know it happens and I am forever grateful.
3. Strengthens your skin’s barrier
One of the most standout things that I don’t see discussed very often is niacinamide’s ability to help strengthen your skin. Your skin naturally has a shield made up of things like ceramides and cholesterol that help keep things in your skin, like water and oils, and keeps things out, like dust and debris. Niacinamide helps boost your skin’s ability to maintain this barrier and keep it strong, which is absolutely essential to your skin’s overall health and appearance.
Have I convinced y’all yet? I really think the vast majority of people can benefit from incorporating niacinamide into their routines. And if you’ve been curious about it, I strongly encourage you to give it a shot. If you have any questions about niacinamide, feel free to leave them down below, and I’ll do my best to give some more info. Hope you’re all staying safe out there. <3