Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Gopika Suresh (Journalist) on 27th Oct 2020

How to use Niacinamide for clean and healthy skin

You must have heard of those holy grail skincare ingredients - the ones that work for almost every skin type and concern. Now and then, a new skincare trend arises. However, only very few of them last; the others die a slow death. Well, niacinamide tops the list. Let's see what this exciting ingredient is all about.  

What Is Niacinamide?  

Also referred to as nicotinamide and vitamin B3, niacinamide is soluble in water. Vitamin B3 is often found in foods like whole grains and greens. However, synthetically, it is made use of in serums and moisturizers.  

What Is The Difference Between Niacinamide And Niacin? 

Often people get confused between niacin and niacinamide. Although they sound similar, the two have very distinct benefits and are found in different places.

Niacin is a form of vitamin B3 like niacinamide. It can be found in fish, yeast, milk, eggs, vegetables, and grains. Niacin is produced naturally in the body as well.

Niacin converts itself into niacinamide when an excess of it is present in the body. Niacin is used to treat high cholesterol levels and heart diseases. However, niacinamide, which treats skin conditions and issues, has no relation with the heart and cholesterol.  

Benefits of niacinamide 

Niacinamide offers various benefits to the skin when taken orally or applied topically, such as acne minimizing, pore minimization, anti-inflammation, anti-aging, improving uneven skin tone, and providing brightness.

It also helps build keratin that adds firmness to your skin. Most of us are victims of environmental pollution that brings a slow death to our skin. However, by creating a protective sheath over one's skin, niacinamide is excellent for all skin types. It protects the skin from excessive sun damage, too, by building new, healthier skin cells.

Some research findings state that using 5 percent niacinamide concentration could help fade dark spots in two weeks. If you have eczema or similar conditions, you could use a two percent concentration. Niacinamide helps grow a lipid layer on your skin, thus keeping it moisturized. Due to its mind-blowing benefits, niacinamide is made use as an alternative to oral and topical antibiotics used for treating rosacea or acne.  

Why is niacinamide so unique?  

Interestingly, the compound is compatible with almost all other products that are part of the skincare regime, from retinol to vitamin C. It is said to work wonders when used along with zinc and hyaluronic acid. Moreover, niacinamide can be used on sensitive or rosacea-prone skin as well. For those with dry skin, your best bet at getting perfect skin can be achieved with niacinamide as it helps in water retention. Not just for those with dry skin types, this holy ingredient helps those with acne-prone skin, too, to regulate the amount of oil the sebaceous glands produce. This can keep your acne under control, and over time, you will notice that your skin shows an improved texture.  

How to make use of it 

For best results, use niacinamide twice daily. It's concentrations vary according to concerns; five percent formulas are useful for treating hyperpigmentation for dry skin and 10 percent for oily skin, while two percent can be used to get relief from eczema. You could use it all around your eyes too and say goodbye to crow's feet. However, just like any other skincare product, applying sunscreen no less than 30 SPF over the ingredient is crucial. 

How to pick niacinamide products 

Most topical niacinamide products come in the form of serums. However, you would have to carry out the regular cleansing, toning, and moisturizing along with this.

You must apply the niacinamide serum after toning your skin but before moisturizing it. You may even find some cleansers, face washes, and face masks that contain the ingredient. However, it is washed off after using them. 

Minimalist tips on skincare regimes that you could follow  

1. Oily skin which suffers from acne at the moment

AM 1: 

  • Use niacinamide daily. 
  • Make use of just two to three drops and evenly massage it onto your skin in circular motions.
  • Apply moisturizer.
  • Slather on some SPF afterward.  

PM:

Use Benzoyl Peroxide on only the acne affected regions on your face as a spot treatment. Start with once every two days and then increase the frequency as your skin adjusts to the product. 

AM 2:

Use kojic acid daily only if you have spots. However, you can use the niacinamide first, and after about five to ten minutes, you may use the kojic acid or vice versa. Make sure to slather on some moisturizer and SPF afterward.  

2. Skin with blackheads, whiteheads, or enlarged pores  

PM:

Use salicylic acid once every two days. Increase the frequency as your skin adjusts to the product. 

AM:

  • Make use of niacinamide daily. 
  • Make use of just two to three drops and evenly massage it onto your skin in circular motions.
  • Apply moisturizer.
  • Slather on some SPF afterward.  

Some niacinamide serums that you could use

1. Minimalist's Niacinamide 5% + Hyaluronic Acid 1% 

Minimalist's Niacinamide 5% + Hyaluronic Acid 1% hydrates, soothes and repairs skin. It is a daily serum that is ideal for those with sensitive and dry skin. You may use it if you find 10% niacinamide concentration too strong for your liking also. It is fragrance-free, silicone-free, paraben-free, oil-free, and alcohol-free. Unlike other serums, this one is made out of aloe juice instead of water and gives users the benefits of hyaluronic acid. Thus, providing you with silky smooth, non sticky skin.  

2. Minimalist’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 

As we mentioned earlier, niacinamide works great with zinc too. You could try out Minimalist's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc daily serum that keeps your skin healthy and resilient. Its aloe-based formula reduces acne and blemishes on your skin. Containing 10% niacinamide concentration can reduce melanin and improve skin complexion in two weeks. The serum is fragrance-free, oil-free, fragrance-free, silicone-free, and paraben-free. Coupled with 1% of zinc, this lightweight serum balances out the sebum activity on your skin that can cause acne when it goes out of control. It reduces inflammation, controls oil, and lives no sticky residue.  

Side effects of Niacinamide 

Some may notice slight redness or discomfort around sensitive areas like the eye after using niacinamide. However, you needn't be too concerned about it. Nevertheless, make sure to test a dime-sized amount of the product on your forearm for twenty-four hours before applying it on your face and look out for any unusual reactions.  

When can one begin to see the results? 

Although it's tempting to look for changes within a day or two of using the ingredient, remember that just like any other skincare product, niacinamide takes time to show results.

Although research and users claim to have seen improvements in four weeks, there is no exact timeline. That being said, one may gradually begin to see changes after using the serum diligently for about eight weeks or so. The skin would seem smoother, hydrated, and toned.

However, if one doesn't see any changes in months, it is time to reassess the product as it may not be working for you. You could consult with a dermatologist to understand what products work well for your skin.

Takeaway 

All said and done. Our skin deserves multi-ingredient care. Although niacinamide may produce promising results, it is not the only ingredient required to make your skin look the best. Think of it as a diet. As great as spinach may be for your body. Eating just it would leave you malnourished—the same holds for your skin, the largest organ of your body. So, niacinamide can only enhance your skin if you follow the primary cleansing, toning, and moisturizing and SPF routine.

Along with that, one must follow a healthy lifestyle to get the best skin. Niacinamide can be found in cereals, fruits, vegetables, fish, etc. So it's best if you consume them along with topically applying the ingredient.